The Plaza Monumental de Tijuana (also called "Plaza Monumental de Playas de Tijuana" after the neighborhood in which it is located), and popularly known in English as the Bullring by the Sea, is a bullring in the city of Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. It is currently used for bullfighting. The bullring has also been the scene for great boxing matches, concerts, cultural, and sporting events that have benefited the Tijuana community greatly. The stadium holds 21,621 people and its opening was held on June 26, 1960. It is located just 60 meters from the United States border and one block from the Pacific Ocean.
John D'Agostino: Tijuana Bullish on Return of Favorite Son Carlos Santana. Los Angeles Times March 20, 1992 (excerpts)
SAN DIEGO — There has been a crescendo building in Tijuana for the past month, an almost tangible euphoria surrounding concerts this weekend by native son Carlos Santana in the city’s Bullring by the Sea. According to promoter Bill Silva, who is presenting the Bay Area-based musician and his band in what is being billed as Santana’s “Regresa a Casa”, or “Homecoming” performances, excitement among Tijuanans has added an unusual dimension to the event.
“From the start, we tried to approach this as not just another Santana concert, but as an event,” Silva said on Wednesday, minutes after returning from overseeing the construction of a portable stage in the bullring. “And that seems to be the way people in Tijuana are perceiving it. Every time we go into the stores or restaurants down there, people have this almost visible swelling of pride. You know, ‘Carlos cares so much about Tijuana that he’s coming home.’ ”
The guitarist’s hometown fans are putting their money where their pride is. In a market known for its walk-up, day-of-show buying habits, advance ticket sales for Saturday’s show at the 18,000-seat bullring were strong enough to justify the addition of a Sunday show. As of Wednesday, the Saturday concert was virtually sold out, with only $10 seats behind the stage still available. About 2,000 tickets had been sold for Sunday’s concert.
Both shows, which start at 3 p.m., will also feature reggae star Pato Banton and Santana’s father, José Santana, performing with area Mariachis. But for Silva, the explanation for the unprecedented ticket demand went beyond the appeal of a promising lineup.
“Everyone is so caught up in the homeboy-made-good theme, that if Carlos wants to do this concert, people want to make sure they’ll be there,” he said.
Santana, 44, was raised in the tough Colonia Libertad section of Tijuana. These concerts fulfill a long-held dream to return something meaningful to the area where, in the late ‘50s, Santana cut his first musical teeth playing violin on the street for turistas . Santana broached the possibility of a homecoming gig last September, when Silva promoted his concert at the Starlight Bowl. Originally, Silva hoped to produce the event at Tijuana’s Caliente Race Track, where he’d produced the huge Mex-Fest concert in 1987.
“When Carlos and I first talked about him doing Tijuana, he introduced me to a gentleman named Manuel Bejarano, who is the minister of culture for Baja California,” Silva said. “Manuel and I kept in touch, and when the Caliente thing fell through for various reasons, he was the one who suggested the bullring and helped us put the show there.”
The Bullring by the Sea, which replaced an older, smaller facility in the early ‘60s, has a sporadic, albeit interesting history as a music venue. In 1969, the band Chicago (then known as the Chicago Transit Authority) played the first-ever rock concert there for a crowd of only a couple thousand. (...) In the ensuing years, the bullring occasionally hosted concerts by Latin artists, but the site had fallen out of use as a music venue until the Santana show came along. Already, Silva is making plans to produce future shows both there and at the race track.