Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Destination Italy for music festival tourism

After the weather endurance test of the last two months, more and more Irish music fans are probably planning to decamp to Europe for their festival kicks in 2008. As it is, huge numbers of Irish fans combine a couple …

Fri, Jul 27, 2007, 08:54

   

After the weather endurance test of the last two months, more and more Irish music fans are probably planning to decamp to Europe for their festival kicks in 2008.

As it is, huge numbers of Irish fans combine a couple of days in the sun with a comparatively cheap ticket for such Spanish jaunts as Benicassim, Primavera and Sonar.

Irish accents too can be heard at Glastonbury and other UK festivals, while the likes of Dour (Belgium), Eurockéennes (France) and Sziget (Hungary) also have attracted Irish fans.

The excellent Italia Wave in Tuscany is also well placed to take advantage of such festival tourism, especially with direct flights from here to the region.

This year, local town politics necessitated that the long-running festival moved from its Arezzo base to a big field on the outskirts of nearby Florence.

The new location saw the largely free (a 10 euro admission charge applies after 9pm and there’s a small charge for camping) six day festival pull in over 150,000 people.

This year’s line-up was probably the festival’s strongest musical bill to date. International highlights included Cansei de Ser Sexy, Chk Chk Chk, Joan As Policewoman, Tinariwen, The Good The Bad & The Queen and Mika.

Other acts who performed included Scissor Sisters, Nitin Sawhney, Kaiser Chiefs, Susana Baca and Bob Geldof.

Local tastes were sated by such big-hitters as the hugely enjoyable and intriguing Vinicio Capossella (we particularly enjoyed his song about Silvio Berlusconi) and Carmen Consoli.

There were also dozens of newer Italian bands playing on the festival’s various stages. Those who impressed included A Toys Orchestra, Disco Drive, the Devo-like Volcanoman, rap collective Pass The Mic and the excellent multinational Orchestra di Piazza Vittorio.

The festival’s comprehensive late-night dance stage, Electtrowave, is obviously modelled on Sonar and featured Modeselektor, Matthew Dear, Jimi Tenor, King Britt, Cassius, Ame plus a clatter of DJs who had scootered down from Rimini with vinyl under their oxters.

But what makes Italia Wave such an attractive proposition are all the extras. These include very good food stalls, film screenings, theatre, talks, discussions, a comics mini-fest, classical music, a chill-out tent, a kids zone and a very well-behaved campsite. Survivors of recent Irish outdoor experiences will also note the welcome lack of mud on the site.

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