Spain at Eurovision vs Junior Eurovision

Junior Eurovision 2020 is just around the corner. And, if previous trends continue, it should mean another success story for Spain. But while the Iberian nation accumulates great results at JESC, it’s a completely different story when it comes to Eurovision. Why so?

This disparity is one of the topics EurovisionSpain delved into in a recent interview with Toñi Prieto (RTVE Entertainment director) and Ana María Bordas (Spain’s Head of Delegation).

Their answer goes far beyond the fact that there are more competitors in the May contest.

Why does Spain do better at Junior Eurovision?

Spain has never placed outside the top five at Junior Eurovision.

However, the country’s Eurovision record currently stands at four consecutive bottom-five finishes.

Toñi and Ana María say that Spain uses the same formula now for both contests. They look for the best artist and the best song internally. That certainly worked for Melani Garcia who placed third at JESC 2019.

But it has failed for Eurovision acts like Edurne (2015) and was not explored in Miki (2019), Amaia and Alfred (2018), Manel Navarro (2017) or Barei (2016).

The pair of TV executives appear baffled as to why this might be: “We don’t know why we get those different results. But in either case, we are all-in with every act”.

According to Toñi and Ana María, different factors are at play.

Firstly, there is stronger competition at Eurovision. Secondly, it can be difficult to work with renowned artists and reaching consensus on what song that will compete in Eurovision. However, neither woman forgot the fact that Spain can vote for Spain at the Junior Eurovision.

“We shall not forget that we can vote for our country in the Junior version. But not in the adult one”

This last argument isn’t a new perspective for Ana María Bordas. In 2019 she said that “the Junior Eurovision voting system helps us. There are a lot of different causes, but the voting system at Junior Eurovision favours us”.

The way Spain searches for their Junior act involves an internal and direct selection of the artist, a song review of all the songs received and further editing to make the song great. Next follows the official music video, the staging and other elements such as backing singers, visuals and wardrobe.

This process matches with Melani’s selection, as well as Soleá’s in 2020. It was also used to choose Edurne (2015) and Blas Cantó (2020 and 2021).

Spanish staging issues at Eurovision

Spain has a difficult relationship with staging. This includes Amaia and Alfred’s performance in Lisbon 2018, Barei in 2016 or Soraya Arnela’s change of choreography before her 2009 appearance.

But for Melani, the staging –fishing nets draped from the roof to the floor — seemed to work. Nicoline Refsing was in charge. She’d previously worked with countries like Latvia and Australia at Eurovision 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Toñi and Ana María say that they have worked with timing and coordinating all elements at Junior, including content, choreography, staging and camera direction.

We previously reported different factors that might be impacting Spain’s Eurovision results. These included insufficient commitment from RTVE.

Can Spain host Junior Eurovision?

There is already significant buzz building around Spain’s 2020 entry “Palante” by Soleá.

Should Spain win, Toñi and Ana María have no worries about hosting the event.

“We are ready and would love to host the event. Despite being a decision of the RTVE directive, it surely won’t be an inconvenience for us to host it.”

 

What do you think about the possible reasons for Spain’s better track record at JESC? Let us know below.

Follow all of our Spain Eurovision 2021 news.

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Colin
Colin
17 days ago

First off, it’s easier to be in top 3 among 12 or 15 songs then among 41. Second, having your song played only once (in the final) is arguably making it more difficult for all Big Five countries. Italy might be a systematic exception, but even in Italy’s case, their projected result was often even higher than the one they’ve got (even if being in top ten is extraordinary no matter what). Third, maybe their choices for JESC resonate more with the audiences? That one is very personal, but it seems so.

Timburton
Timburton
19 days ago

The moment Spain acknowledges they send sh*t songs to the main contest, they will start to realise the problem and begin to change their approach.

Linus
Linus
19 days ago

Spain are AFRAID of winning ESC. thats the reason they choose bad ones. The fans want Spain to win BUT not spanish tv

Jack Fincher-Pricefield
Jack Fincher-Pricefield
19 days ago

Spain have better songs that stand out more at JESC, simples! Spain have been really awful in ESC since Ruth Lorenzo though, Barei was their only decent effort but Edurne & Miki were mediocre and still bizarrely overrated by the fandom, other 2 aren’t even worth mentioning but I’ll admit “Universo” was a big improvement, I hope Blas does not disappoint with his new entry next year.

Regina Phalange
Regina Phalange
19 days ago

It’s simple to me, their JESC entries stand out more and are more cohesive overall.

Nicky
Nicky
19 days ago

lol, no

its because kids are easier vote bait, but spain has same music quality as jesc also in adult esc

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
19 days ago

Same reason that the UK, Germany and France have struggled at the adult competition, really. Not having to qualify through a SF encourages countries to pick “safer”, non-offensive songs. Barei aside, I haven’t found Spain’s songs to be particularly competitive.

Sabrina
Sabrina
19 days ago

Obviously, the voting system helps Spain in JESC, but their decisions there have been way better than their decisions in the senior competition, from song choice to staging. If they’re using the same people and methodes to call the shots, maybe the problem is that they’re not handling well the difference between the competitions. You can win JESC by pleasing everybody, but in Eurovision is usually better to have a passionate fanbase, even if you risk alienating other voters (“Amar Pelos Dois” and “Toy”, for instance). I have the feeling Spain (as Germany and the UK) are so afraid of… Read more »

Colin
Colin
17 days ago
Reply to  Sabrina

Yes, aiming for the middle is a televoting poison. Something that UK, Germany and Spain should have learned by now. Sure, there are notable exceptions to that (for instance, Germany’s well deserved 4th place in 2018 or UK’s seriously underrated result of 2017), but overall they do tend to go pretty safe. Spain is an even more interesting case here, because, unlike Germany and UK, it tends to hype it’s entries from the get-go, so finishing low seems like more of a shock than it does with the other two (who mostly say they’ll be happy with anything above 20th… Read more »

Last edited 17 days ago by Colin
Zulal
Zulal
19 days ago

The online voting, although it may favour certain countries (Poland, Spain, France, Russia and The Netherlands), doesn’t guarantee a good placing, since juries’ votes decide 50% of the final results, and people cannot vote just for their own country (they have to vote for at least 2 more songs). Besides this, last year, the show was viewed by more than 2 million viewers in Russia, whereas in Spain it was watched by 1.4 million and in France by 1 million, yet Spain and France received many more points than Russia in the online voting, which proves that more population doesn’t… Read more »

FanESC
FanESC
19 days ago

I’ll probably be downvoted but I’ve always been surprised (and never understood) by all the love “La venda” received. I never liked it and always thought it screamed “bottom 5”. Such a circus song for me, choreo was ridiculous, staging was good, though. Even the last place in the grand final didn’t help him. Nothing against Miki, though.

RavensHeart
RavensHeart
19 days ago

Everyone can vote for themselves in JESC, it’s not specifically Spain that gets the advantage.

Cameron
Cameron
19 days ago
Reply to  RavensHeart

Spain, Netherlands and Poland have got much larger viewerships than other participating countries so there is an advantage for them

Jonas
Jonas
19 days ago
Reply to  Cameron

Even a “low” viewership in a country with a big population would mean more advantage than a “high” viewership in a country with a small population…

Una
Una
19 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

OMG I love this.

Cameron
Cameron
19 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

How, 7 million Polish viewers outnumbers 40k Italian viewers massively, even though Poland population is 38 million and Italy population is 60 million

Poland is still advantaged a lot more here than Italy

Jonas
Jonas
19 days ago
Reply to  Cameron

38 million is not a low population. I was thinking more Wales, with under four million, or Malta, with about half a million. It’s not even possible for them to catch up with Poland.

Preuss
Preuss
20 days ago

ESC and JESC have the same concept but they are still two wildly different competitions. They sing in Spanish (mostly), and let’s be real, it’s harder to get across the message when you sing in a foreign language. Italy’s been doing it well without being particularly great at staging either, but their songs and performers are much stronger imo. But I won’t discourage Spain to send entries in their native language, but that’s how Eurovison is. I mean, I don’t see the day where we send an entry in entirely Norwegian in the nearest future. But Spanish is considered a… Read more »

Last edited 19 days ago by Preuss
Jonas
Jonas
19 days ago
Reply to  Preuss

English is a foreign language…unless you’re English.

Una
Una
19 days ago
Reply to  Jonas

I would think Preuss was refering to English as “lingua franca” (also understood by most people) and the rest languages as “foreign”.
Also, I agree with most points Preuss makes.

Jonas
Jonas
19 days ago
Reply to  Una

I agree with most points Preuss makes too.

Preuss
Preuss
19 days ago
Reply to  Una

What you said 😉

Ashton
Ashton
20 days ago

Estonia’s first batch of artists are revealed and Uku, Jüri Pootsmann, and Koit Toome are there! Very excited for Jüri, his new music is genuinely great as compared to the subpar Play.

Una
Una
20 days ago
Reply to  Ashton

Yeeess!! And Uku will have his own song – how exciting is that! He had the courage to make it on his own! Sharon Vaughn I think is her name – from the “dream team” is credited there too. I don’t mind a foreign lyricist as long as the words are good. But anyway, I am very, very excited to see Uku’s credit there!!

Ashton
Ashton
20 days ago
Reply to  Una

To be frank, I’m not. Sharon Vaughn was behind What Love Is and I DESPISE than song. More excited for Jüri.

Joe
Joe
20 days ago
Reply to  Ashton

Koit Toome could be a real challenger considering the recent awareness of undeserved non-qualifiers has brought a whole new wave of love toward “Verona” (I always thought it was OK, pretty solid but not the greatest Estonian entry ever). It didn’t work perfectly for Laura’s comebacks, but it might do the trick for him. As long as Uku’s got something better up his sleeve than “What Love Is,” I look forward to hearing it.

Ashton
Ashton
20 days ago
Reply to  Joe

I hated Verona. Never got the hype. A mess of cheese and creepiness. I just hope Koit doesn’t win because he is known.

Una
Una
20 days ago
Reply to  Joe

“Verona” is my favourite Estonian entry. Off topic – Laura looked so good in the show tonight. Better than ever. And today I listed to her “2020” song – in Estonian. Funny enough to know this for years and we’re in 2020 now. I don’t know what the words say though.

Joe
Joe
20 days ago
Reply to  Ashton

“What Love Is” was close to my least-favorite of last year. Very bland and uninspired, and it beat off some much stronger competitors. Would’ve bricked in Rotterdam.

Una
Una
20 days ago
Reply to  Ashton

“What Love Is” grew on me but that was after the contest was cancelled and only after I heard it in Estonian. I don’t know how non-English speaking jury members assess the lyrics or how much they matter in general. I wish them both Uku and Sharon good luck. Maybe the lyrics will be good. Gotta hold on and wait and see. I am excited for Uku because I remember reading he had some doubts about his abilities to make his own song. I am not 100% sure but I am pretty close I think. From memory Juri participated in… Read more »

Ashton
Ashton
20 days ago
Reply to  Una

he came last in the semi, far from qualifying haha

Una
Una
20 days ago
Reply to  Ashton

Really? Disappointing.

Leo
Leo
20 days ago
Reply to  Una

Estonia actually propped their heat that year even though there were worse songs in it. I think they’d have not qualified this year, though What Love Is did have a good chorus to be fair, and was better than I expected. However, I think that the qualifiers would have been safe seats for Iceland, Armenia, Bulgaria and (whilst I don’t like to say it as it was strange to listen to, to put it kindly) Latvia, with qualification likely for Switzerland and whichever of Greece or Serbia (both of which I thought were good) had better staging, and the other… Read more »

Last edited 20 days ago by Leo
Una
Una
20 days ago
Reply to  Leo

Talking about semi 2 countries of 2020?
I think that Denmark, Iceland, San Marino, Switzerland would have qualified for sure.
I would have liked Czechia, Finland and Georgia to make top 10 in s2.

Erasmus
Erasmus
19 days ago
Reply to  Una

San Marino u sure about it? for other countries I agree I’d also add Bulgaria and Armenia to sure fire qualifiers.

Joe
Joe
19 days ago
Reply to  Erasmus

As ever, I’m not calling my Eurovision: A Second Opinion project to be a dead-on indicator of what would’ve qualified, but our jurors picked Albania, Armenia, Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Poland, and Switzerland. I could see the majority of them qualifying, but in all likelihood I could see spoilers from countries like San Marino, the Czech Republic, and Latvia.

Leo
Leo
19 days ago
Reply to  Joe

I think Latvia would have made it as it was last slot, memorable and divisive. Before you say, “but, Line”, line was a better song but didn’t stand out and didn’t have as much impact to it as Still Breathing would have. I liked Freaky, but with Think About Things and Alive also there, it would have been a weak link.

Una
Una
19 days ago
Reply to  Erasmus

Yes I am as sure as I can be about San Marino. Reason: Serhat did a great job in 2019 and San Marino can only grow from there. Senhit has a fabulous voice. She is coming with the big everything – you can see that from the freaky trip to Rotterdam so far. And it’s just the off-season. So this makes me think they could have done well in 2020. I don’t know how well but they would have qualified for sure and maybe could have made top 20 like Serhat did last year. “Freaky” was not bad. Not my… Read more »

Leo
Leo
19 days ago
Reply to  Una

Yes. I have very strong opinions about the songs in it, even though it involves neither non Uk country I have a connection to (Israel and Ireland), because of how strongly Iceland and Armenia struck me, and how I felt as soon as I heard the latter in particular, hence why I defend it virulently, and the immersive quality of the heat in general, even the nightmarish Georgian and Latvian songs.

Una
Una
19 days ago
Reply to  Leo

That’s totally fine. But I gotta say that I *loved* Georgia this year. One of the first surprises of the year for me and this from the first time I heard the song. I am totally neutral on Latvia’s 2020 song. But I acknowledge Samanta is talented and does her own thing and she’s consistent and she loves Eurovision. Such a shame that her vocals on Love Shine a Light could not be heard well. All I heard was James Newman coming up. Now those were powerful.

Leo
Leo
19 days ago
Reply to  Una

I think the lyrics are questionable and it is hard to place, but at the same time, it bought something different and, particularly with Jean Baptiste, would have made it. In my running order for my final lineup, I put it immediately before Iceland.

Nicky
Nicky
19 days ago
Reply to  Una

maybe Juri having a song in estonian, might be different to 2016 where he got last with a english song, so maybe if he wins he needs to keep it in estonian

Uku’s song is not a ballad, more radio friendly vibes

Whisker
Whisker
20 days ago

I can’t help thinking there is (also) some sense of entitlement when it comes to ESC and a “we-are-right-they-are-wrong” kind of situation there. Or the budget might be an issue as well? Or the broadcaster is not liked by other broadcasters?

Una
Una
20 days ago
Reply to  Whisker

I don’t think the budget is an issue. They paid over 40k last year on staging alone with the famous director Foukas? I don’t remember his exact name but I think he was/is from the “dream team” as well. And the staging was elaborate enough – way too much and OTT.
Juries vote, not the broadcasters, and millions of people too. So I don’t think the rest of the broadcasters could be an issue either. They just can’t figure out that Eurovision is a complex thing and that many elements must come together for a successful entry.

Una
Una
20 days ago

There are no two ways about it. You either change things dramaticaly or you don’t. It depends on what your priorities are. Reaching bottom five consistantly when countries that need to qualify from the semi bring out their best game every year. Or almost. Or some don’t but they change things or at least they try.
Having read articles and comments on Spain in the past years … there is nothing new. Me encantaría comentar mucho más pero ¡no puedo! I just can’t. La desolación sigue creciendo y no hay nada más que hacer. O decir.

Whisker
Whisker
20 days ago
Reply to  Una

Not to forget: there are countries that can’t afford to participate but when they did, they still had better results than Spain.

Joe
Joe
20 days ago
Reply to  Whisker

*cough* San Marino clearing three Big Five countries and the host country *cough*

Whisker
Whisker
20 days ago
Reply to  Joe

Right!

Una
Una
20 days ago
Reply to  Joe

Israel, the UK and Germany coming bottom in 2009, that is. San Marino doing better than Greece too. Shocking.

Una
Una
20 days ago
Reply to  Una

I meant *2019*.

Azaad
Azaad
20 days ago
  1. Better songs period
  2. Different standards
  3. Voting differences- which makes a huge difference for countries with big populations like Poland and Spain
  4. No Big 5 disadvantage as JESC has no semis

I think those are the main four reasons.

Ugnius
Ugnius
20 days ago
Reply to  Azaad

Being in big 5 is actually advantage, because otherwise Spain wouldn’t actually qualify

Idksmth
Idksmth
20 days ago
Reply to  Ugnius

The thing is people actually get to decide which songs they want to go through. With Big 5 countries most people hear the songs for the first time in the final because the performances in the semis get replaced by a commercial and as far as I know that is the case in most countries. The factor that people have heard the songs twice – once in the semis and once in the final can play a role when you have to remember all the songs and choose which ones to vote for and unfortunately Spain has the disadvantage. Of… Read more »

MRDP
MRDP
18 days ago
Reply to  Azaad

Well,Spain has only participated 1 time with the actual voting system at JESC,so you can’t say our good results in the Junior is because of that. The first 4 years there was not the possibility to vote for your own country and our results were 2nd,1st,2nd and 4th. I think that’s because is easier to find a whole good package with a kid than with adults. And also,RTVE has some interests with spanish music industry that doesn’t help in searching for a competitive package

Whisker
Whisker
20 days ago

The results are questionable when a country can vote for itself.

MRDP
MRDP
18 days ago
Reply to  Whisker

I have to laugh! Hahahaha Spain has only participated 1 time with this actual voting system. On the first four participations,2003-2006,se couldn’t vote for our country and still got 2nd,1st,2nd and 4th places respectively.
And last year,we still were top3 y juries,so our position was deserved

Chessguy99
20 days ago

It’s the online voting. If they had the same voting system for ESC as they have for JESC, Spain would be top ten every year.

Sergio
Sergio
20 days ago
Reply to  Chessguy99

Yeah, online voting helped us in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006…

MRDP
MRDP
18 days ago
Reply to  Chessguy99

What are you saying? We have only participated 1 single time with that actual online voting. The other participations,2003-2006,it was not possible to vote for your own country (SMS and phone calls voting,like in the adult Eurovision),and we got 2nd,1st,2nd and 4th positions. Then we didn’t participate for 13 years and returned in 2019,and still got a top3 by juries. Search before writing such a messy comment.

acp
acp
20 days ago

We simply send better songs to JESC. Apart from that, from 2005 onwards the only song that may have deserved a higher placing would be Edurne imo, although her staging was not so great. We need to send songs that people are going to vote for, not songs that people will only like a little bit. Also the stagings are always mediocre (except for 2014 imo), even Pastora Soler’s staging in 2012 could have been a bit better… hope we can one day send a good package finally… Spanish hardcore fans should also stop hyping all entries and then get… Read more »

Last edited 20 days ago by acp
AndersP
AndersP
20 days ago

Staging! Staging! Staging! Time and time again Spain has sent good songs and wrecked them completely with messy, hyperactive staging. Miki is a case in point with a house and random robot. Barei pretending to break her ankle. It’s like they have a brainstorm for a good idea, can’t settle on one, and then decide to do all of them.

Una
Una
20 days ago
Reply to  AndersP

These points are perfectly valid. To add: 2019 Spain – Big 5 – AQ An entire house and a singer and dancers with a very dynamic choreo and a sorry robot. Result in GF: 22/26 with 54 points with votes from 40 countries. Countries with common staging elements same year: 2019 Denmark – qualifed from semi 2 – 10/18 countries with 94 points. Votes from 20 countries. Simple staging with a simple huge chair and quirky choreo and quirky vocals and dancers. Result in GF: 12/26 with 120 points from 40 countries. 2019 Azerbaijan – qualified from same semi 2… Read more »

Leo
Leo
20 days ago
Reply to  AndersP

Staging let them down in 2019. A simple street party, and top 15 would have been there.

Erasmus
Erasmus
20 days ago

I think Spain (even though changing genres) always sends the same song – a predictable eurovision song, nothing about them is original, and not even modern.. they need their singers, who are usually great, to send something that actually reflects their discography, for example Amaia and Alfred have such good music, but they send their worst song to esc. glad they ditched ot since that really put out only impersonal music. blas has massive potential, it just a matter of he will actually use it in the right way.

Last edited 20 days ago by Erasmus
Olivia
Olivia
20 days ago

They send better songs to JESC. Simple fact.

Lollipop ESC
Lollipop ESC
20 days ago
Reply to  Olivia

That is the point Olivia …..the songs in JESC are fresh and look / feel authentic. The song fits to the singer ….and in ESC it doesn’t ….. and not to forget, Palante is a latinostyle banger that we expect from Spain.

xyp
xyp
20 days ago

Because you send actual good songs to JESC. That’s why.

Ashton
Ashton
20 days ago

I will say, Edurne and Miki didn’t deserve the low results they got. Especially Edurne, Amanecer is great.

Erasmus
Erasmus
20 days ago
Reply to  Ashton

Miki’s staging was really awful, childish and looked kinda cheap and the song wasn’t amazing either. Edurne did deserve some places higher, but surely not top ten, I think the problem was that it was to “eurovision-y”.. hope blas really collabs (or already has) with Duncan for his esc entry, and it should sound more sing-songwriter and not “hey, i wrote this song for the purpose of not finishing in the bottom 5” like “Universo” did.

Ashton
Ashton
20 days ago
Reply to  Erasmus

Miki’s staging was awful but the song slapped, and I had Edurne just outside my top 10, at 11th. And I didn’t think Universo would end bottom 5.

Efraim
Efraim
20 days ago
Reply to  Erasmus

I always thought that La Venda could have finished far higher had they kept it as it was at the NF. It sounded fresh, for Spain’s standards at least, its staging was simple and fun… But then when it won the NF, it got a revamp it didn’t really need and the most overdone staging this side of Angelica Agurbash, and down to the bottom five it went.

Erasmus
Erasmus
20 days ago
Reply to  Efraim

yeah if it wasn’t for the staging it wouldn’t have finished so low

Jack Fincher-Pricefield
Jack Fincher-Pricefield
19 days ago
Reply to  Ashton

Have to disagree “Amanecer” is okay but Edurne completely butchered her live performance and I never got the hype over “La Venda” which came across tacky and insipid to me, even if Miki kept the NF staging without the revamp he still would’ve finished 22nd.

I thought “Universo” was easily the best Spanish entry since “Dancing in the Rain” tbqh.

Rifki
Rifki
20 days ago

yes, if Spain wins Junior Eurovision, there certainly are a few possible venues for them to host the contest:
-Wizink Centre in Madrid
-Bizkaia Arena in Barakaldo, Greater Bilbao
-Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona
-Fernando Buesa Arena in Vitoria

Lollipop ESC
Lollipop ESC
20 days ago
Reply to  Rifki

That would be amazing if Spain would host the JESC 2021 ……but France could do that too. One of those 2 should win this year and Germany (my country) not finish bottom 2.

Azaad
Azaad
20 days ago
Reply to  Rifki

I think Spain would host, but probably in the south? Seville seems great, Solea is from Southern Spain and those regions of the countries seem less affected by Covid- I think Madrid may be one of the worst hit cities in the world and so would need to focus on its recovery more so than other parts of Spain.

Efraim
Efraim
19 days ago
Reply to  Azaad

The Andalusian capitals have also taken quite a hit with the pandemic, we would have to see how things go but Sevilla wouldn’t be the best option as things stand (not the worst either, though).

The islands seem to be the safest zones so far, and with that in mind I would suggest the Gran Canaria Arena in Las Palmas.

MRDP
MRDP
18 days ago
Reply to  Azaad

Madrid is now one of the least affected regions of Spain. And Seville/Andalucia is the oposite. All of the country have one year ahead to be more secure,and i think with vaccine it will surely be. I think if Spain host JESC some year it will be in Madrid,for RTVE and delegations logistic reasons. Seville does not have a suitable indoor venue/arena to do it,and it will add a lot of money to move delegations from Madrid airport to other regions.

Rifki
Rifki
18 days ago
Reply to  Azaad

in Southern Spain/Andalusia, there actually are two venues I can suggest:
-Malaga’s “Palacio de Deportes José María Martín Carpena”, venue of the 34th Goya Awards
-Sevilla’s “Palacio Municipal de Deportes San Pablo”.
they’re very borderline venues for adult Eurovision, but it’s perfectly fine for Junior Eurovision.

MRDP
MRDP
18 days ago
Reply to  Rifki

The palace of sports in Málaga is a good place,but the one in Seville is really small,it is not purposed for concerts and doesn’t have all the facilities,space and such things to host an event like JESC. The venue in Málaga is prepared for concerts and festivals too,but the one in Seville is not,is just a handball court venue.