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Latino Daily News

Friday April 22, 2011

Organizers Looking to Change Violent Juarez Image with 400,000-capacity Concert

Organizers Looking to Change Violent Juarez Image with 400,000-capacity Concert

Photo: Juárez Competitiva looks to help the city shed its violent image

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

Organizers are looking to build a concert stage spanning the Rio Grande in the hopes of having the first-ever binational event at the site.

The Juárez Competitiva is a two-week entertainment event scheduled for October that is being held as a way to change Juárez’s violence-riddled image.

“If it happens, this would be the first time that a concert with these characteristics takes place,” said Carlos Chavira, the general coordinator for the event, Thursday. “This can be an event with a historical relevance similar to the ‘We Are the World’ concert.”

If the event happens, Chavira said he expects 400,000 to 500,000 people will attend, but housing that many people could cause serious issues. As a point of reference, New York’s Giants Stadium only holds 80,200 people.

Chavira understands that a stage that big presents a number of cost, design and security challenges, “but the plan is to do it with the least negative impact.” Plus, he said that U.S. Customs and Border Protection is being supportive.

The event is scheduled for October 13-28, and organizers are daring to dream when it comes to the celebrities they hope to snag.  On their list are Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Paul McCartney, U2, Al Gore, and/or Jimmy Carter.

“We’re barely starting, but we are very optimistic,” Chavira said. “We think there’s good will from the main corporate organizations in our committee.”

Chavira is estimating the event, which will include exhibits, conferences, art, sport, and musical events, and will cost about $10 million.