Last night's gala benefit concert at Palma Auditorium was a major event to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of what at the time was the first auditorium of its kind in the whole of Spain.
The auditorium owes its existence to the vision of Marc Ferragut, who drew inspiration from the Royal Festival Hall in London. His grandson, Marcos, has been the director for fifteen years, and he has spoken about some of the challenges that he faces in running the auditorium.
It has always been in private hands, and as such has been treated in the past as an "ugly duckling" by the public authorities. He is grateful, however, to the government of the past four years. It has started to view the cultural sector as an industry, "which it is".
An aspect of treatment by the authorities that has irked him is the cost of rates and the fact that the auditorium has to pay them. Publicly owned theatres or those owned by the church do not have to. "We pay 6,200 euros a month. In 2012, the property tax (rates) went up 285%. How do they expect us to survive?"
Ferragut believes that the public sector should keep out of running theatres. He points out that there aren't publicly owned cinemas and stresses that the private sector and society are "mature enough" to operate theatres. "It's not normal, to leave part of the entertainment sector in the hands of bureaucrats." In this respect, while he has nothing against the Palacio de Congresos, he is critical of the fact that it was built with public money.