Viña del Mar International Song Festival

The beginnings of this show date back to the activities of a couple of musicians who gathered to play and present their works done in the Fine Arts School in a fair that was held in the gardens of Quinta Vergara in the year 1959. At that time, the Director of Tourism and Public Relations of the Municipality of Viña del Mar, Mr. Carlos Ansaldo, saw a great opportunity for the city and the musicians of the region in which music could be complemented with a show, making competitions and artistic shows for an audience that would back up all the production. To do so, he received the great support of the artistic director from the Viña del Mar Casino, maestro Izidor Handler, who conducted the Festival Orchestra. It was also important the enthusiastic leadership of the radio announcer Heraldo Garcia.

It was then on February 21, 1960, when the first Viña del Mar Song Festival was carried out. During six days, local musicians were presented, besides Huasos Quincheros and the comedian Carlos Helo, on a wooden stage. All the construction was no longer than ten meters high, while the audience had to use folding chairs and a couple of bleachers which had been made days before. At that time, the biggest prize was the “Golden Lyre” and 500 escudos, which were taken by the winning song of that competition: “Viña del Mar”, by Jose Goles.

Despite this humble beginning, the success of this show was so evident, that by next year, an amphitheater had already been built, which was crowned with a traditional stage with its acoustic shell, a classic and elegant element that was used to provide the public with better acoustics. This detail became the symbol of the festival for years. On the other hand, the folding chairs and bleachers were not enough for the audience of the second version of the festival and, consequently, many people saw this show from nearby hills and mounts. With the years, the festival became an all-year-awaited event for the citizens of Viña and its surroundings and it started to attract people from different regions until it reached the press. Thus, the event was broadcasted by television.

In 2002, the acoustic shell was brought down to build a new amphitheater, completely modernized, with a capacity of 15000 people and a stage which extends to the audience through a platform.

This event constitutes the most important artistic investment in the country. Millions of dollars are involved in this activity, not only for the show production and artist contracting, but also for radio and television publicity, sponsors and even television programs created only to cover the festival. Its broadcasting always reaches the highest television ranking, including cable stations. The Viña Festival has brought great artists and it has also launched many of them, just like many others outstanding television personalities of Chile.

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  • 20-09-2018

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