Chile’s Viña del Mar Music Festival comes to an end

The 52nd annual International Song Festival in the coastal Chilean city of Viña del Mar drew to a close in the early hours of Sunday morning, following a week of international music and comedy performances.

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Chile’s Viña del Mar Music Festival drew to a close on Sunday, timed to finish at exactly 3.34 a.m. – the exact minute at which an 8.8-magnitude earthquake hit Chile one year before.

Chilevision, the US-owned television network that broadcast the festival, instantly began transmitting a special programming to commemorate the earthquake. Following the 27 Feb. catastrophe, the final night of last year’s festival had to be cancelled, lending greater significance to this year’s event.

Notable performances during 2011’s festival included Sting and the Chilean folklore band Los Jaivas, both receiving a strong welcome from the traditionally critical crowd.

“I was hysterical as well,” said Spanish singer Alejandro Sanz, who walked away with the Festival’s highest honor, the Golden Seagull. “It’s a demanding audience, but they are appreciative when you give your all.”

The Viña Festival is considered by some to be the most important of all international music events in Latin America, featuring a pop and folk song competition, along with international performances.

This year’s event was said to reach around 100 million viewers. Cable network A&E broadcast all six days of the event, and other major networks from Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic, as well as Argentina’s Telefé and Mexico’s TV Aztecas, which alone can reach as many as 60 million spectators.

This year’s festival is estimated to have brought in US$10 million in revenue.