Atlanta Music Scene

Melissa Ruggieri covers the Atlanta’s vibrant and evolving music scene. From hot new artists to Music Midtown to shows at the Tabernacle, she’s got you covered.

Pitbull, Maná fuel live Latin music explosion in Atlanta

When Maná, the top-selling Latin rock band of all time, visited Philips Arena in June 2015, about 11,000 fans filled the downtown Atlanta venue.

That’s a few thousand more than came to see recent pop shows by Top 40 staples Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas and a few thousand less than packed the building for Rihanna this year.

On Thursday night, Miami-born Cuban hitmaker Pitbull and opening act Prince Royce — a Bronx native raised by Dominican parents — will play for more than 7,500 at Philips, and the following night, Julión Álvarez, formerly of the Mexican brass band Banda MS, will host a show with his band.

Banda MS, meanwhile, played Philips in June as the first regional Mexican concert in the Southeast.

If you’re sensing a trend, you are correct.

“I think it’s definitely an untapped market,” said Trey Feazell, senior vice president and general manager at Philips Arena, of the influx of Latin music shows in Atlanta.

Feazell has assertively tried to book shows of the genre at Philips because of the venue’s centralized location as well as its ability to curtain off the upper decks — as it did for Lovato and Jonas and will for Pitbull — to create a “theater” setup.

“I’m a big believer that Atlanta is a dartboard and wherever you are in the metro area, you can get to us. My pitch to managers has been that you’re missing the area south of the city if you play Gwinnett and there’s a whole area you need to capitalize on,” he said.

His sentiments are echoed by Peter Conlon, president of Live Nation Atlanta, who agrees that Atlanta is a solid location for the growing Latin-pop audiences.

“These aren’t new artists, and many are now getting to the arena stage. If you have a market that works for a genre of music, we’re going to do it,” Conlon said. “It’s a meaningful genre of music that is getting more popular, especially when there is a crossover artist like Ricky Martin years ago.”

Maná, which launches its “Latino Power Tour” in September in San Diego, will return to Atlanta for an Oct. 26 concert at Philips Arena. The next month, on Nov. 20, Mexican singing veteran Juan Gabriel will perform at the venue.

Feazell realizes that Latin shows might attract a new legion of concertgoers, so he and the Philips staff make sure to accommodate new guests by installing interpreters at the venue doors and guest services and providing ads and signage in Spanish and English.

“We want to make sure people have a good experience because many of them have families — they’re coming to Hawks games and circuses,” Feazell said. “The fact that we’re going to do six (Latin) shows this year … my hope is that will increase or stay the same for next year. I think this is just touching the tip of the iceberg.”


All shows take place at Philips Arena, 1 Philips Drive, Atlanta. Tickets can be purchased at 1-800-745-3000,

Pitbull with Prince Royce. 7 p.m. July 28. $29.95-$139.95.

Julión Álvarez Y Su Norteño Banda. 8 p.m. July 29. $64.50-$164.50.

Maná. 8 p.m. Oct. 26. $49.50-$149.50.

Juan Gabriel. 7 p.m. Nov. 20. $64.50-$204.50.

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Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers the Atlanta Music Scene and entertainment news for print and online.