Giampiero Stramaccia is the Art Director of Dancity Festival -- whose 10th edition just closed in Foligno, a small Italian town near Perugia and some 100 miles northeast of Rome.
Stramaccia says that he's just got a call -- someone was asking him how to set up a festival like Dancity in the region of Lazio (an area spanning 17 207,29 km² around Rome, and Italy's second-most populated region with almost 6 million people).
That call is Stramaccia's greatest success.
EDM wasn't big when Dancity started ten years ago. It grew more popular over the next decade, and now people are recognizing Stramaccia's pioneering role in spreading this culture.
Dancity, in fact, is a lot about this. Stramaccia says that while technology gave all the chance to make music, that also meant lowering the quality. This, he says, is where Dancity enters the equation -- "to convey the culture, and to spread digital culture."
Over 7,000 people went to the three-day festival in the first weekend of July, but that wasn't just for the dj sets. Exhibitions and workshops are there too, making Dancity "a cultural project, not a commercial product," as Melissa Giacchi, the festival's President, puts it.
Among the workshops, which were free, one invited 7- to 12-year-olds to bring their own laptop and learn to make music.
Una foto pubblicata da Dancity Festival (@dancityfestival) in data: 4 Lug 2015 alle ore 08:53 PDT
At the festival's closing event, people listened to Roy Ayers and Soul Clap while drinking wine at Cantina Scacciadiavoli, a winery in the countryside -- a 30-minute drive outside of Foligno. Giacchi called the event, which the Red Bull Music Academy presented, "a beautiful ending in a relaxed setting" -- one that included eating panzanelle, looking at sunflowers, and learning about wine. "We always try to trigger curiosity even from people who are not in the field," Giacchi says.
But of course it was also about the dj sets. People paid €60 ($66) to dance from 5 pm to 5 am for three days (from July 3rd to July 5th). "She's a great dj, and she's growing," Stramaccia says of Lena Willikens, a German dj and producer who played in the opening night at Serendipity (a club where Dancity continues year-long, even after the festival is over). "You'll hear talking about her." In the line-up, there's also a group of artists that Stramaccia prides himself on -- the Cabaret Contemporain (drums, two basses, a guitar, and a monophonic synth).
Cabaret Contemporain at Palazzo Trinci (Photo Andrea Luccioli)
"They work for music," Stramaccia says of the five-member group from France. "They don't want to become someone, but to represent something." Stramaccia, who discovered Cabaret Contemporain through Versatile Records, praises the group's "rythm" and "sonority."
Also in the festival's line-up -- and making Stramaccia proud of this year's edition -- is Underground Resistance, a collective from Detroit.
Underground Resistance at Palazzo Trinci (Photo Eleonora Proietti)
"It's the black soul of music," Stramaccia says of the group he first listened to at a music festival in Boologna nine years ago. Underground Resistance, which is made up of Mike Banks plus four rotating members, played at Dancity in a project called "Timeline," bringing what Stramaccia class "high-tech jazz" -- "black music from jazz to electronic." "It's a music group that conveys African-American culture in the most innovative ways," Stramaccia says. "In two hours of festival they make you travel through black music."
Like Cabaret Contemporain, Stramaccia says, Underground Resistance "represents a movement, not a brand. The musician is just a medium." Foligno is a place ripe with history. The first edition of Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy was printed here 543 years ago. Dancity saw an opportunity, and didn't miss it. Among the festival venues, in fact, are deconsecrated churches, historical buildings, and courtyards. Underground Resistance played in the cloister of Palazzo Trinci, a 608-year-old building that features frescoes from the early 400s. Viceversa, an Italian dj, played at Auditorium San Domenico, a deconsecrated church from the 200s.
Viceversa at Auditorium San Domenico (Photo Mauro Sensi)
The festival is going well, but Stramaccia wants more. "We'll have to do add something," he says, adding that this year's wine and food tasting marked the new direction -- "to use other spaces, and to give them strength through interesting and lively contents." Meanwhile, the festival lived up to the promise that lied in its 10th edition's name: "Still in Perfect Shape."
Non potrete farne a meno! #shoppingbag #dancitywear #dancityfestival #10thedition #stillinperfectshape Una foto pubblicata da Dancity Festival (@dancityfestival) in data: 7 Giu 2015 alle ore 12:28 PDT
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