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At the end of July, students from Berklee’s campus in Valencia, Spain, played their last gig of the summer at Hard Rock Cafe Barcelona, capping off a monthly series that began in January. The shows were the result a collaboration established last year between the Spanish campus and the restaurant, allowing students to showcase their musical projects in a professional context outside of Valencia.
In addition to expanding students’ exposure to the live music scene in Europe, the concerts were “a chance for them to gain visibility thanks to the strong brand that Hard Rock Cafe is, which guarantees a local audience,” said Maxwell Wright, senior coordinator of the International Career Center (ICC). Furthermore, the experience of traveling provided an approximation of what touring will be like, when the musicians have to face unexpected audiences and develop their material based on how crowds react to it, he said.
Students had to apply to perform and the venue did the selection. “We listened to all the applicants and planned the series of concerts according to the program we typically assemble. Then, together with Berklee, we established the dates for the performances, adjusting them to the academic calendar,” said Maribel Martínez, the venue’s sales and marketing coordinator.
She called the performances, which took place on the last Thursday of every month, professional and high-quality. “Hard Rock Cafe gave Berklee students the chance to show what they are capable of doing in a warm and welcoming venue,” she said, adding that the events provided good forums for the musicians to “test and perfect their live skills in a culturally immersive experience.” Moreover, students managed to make some key contacts that will enable them to pursue more opportunities in Barcelona.
Keturah Brown, student in the Master of Arts in Global Entertainment and Music Business program who played at the club on June 29, said that she had been interested in performing there for some time and had even sent booking requests to multiple Hard Rock locations in the past. “This seemed like the perfect opportunity to play on such an international stage,” she says. “A good number of people turned up, and afterward I found several mentions to our gig on different social media channels.”
Starting next semester, the students will return to the cafe in Barcelona and possibly to other Hard Rock Cafes in Spain.
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