Arezzo Charges Late Crowd

Having been a free festival throughout its 20-year history, Arezzo Wave Love Festival in Italy has decided to levy a five-euro charge on fans who only show for the main acts.

“They can still see the headline act for nothing as long as they turn up before 9:15 p.m.,” said festival press office manager Silvia Poledrini, pointing out that part of the festival ethos is to showcase emerging international and local talent throughout the day.

The extra money from the late crowd, which only amounts to a little more than $6 a head, will also offset the drop in sponsorship monies and local authority funding.

The Tuscan regional administration has cut back on all arts funding. The local municipality of Arezzo, which is hovering on the brink of bankruptcy, has been forced to cut back on funding of any sort.

The surcharge only applies to the 4,000-capacity Stadio Comunale, Arezzo’s main stage. Entrance to the other 10 or so live entertainment areas scattered throughout the ancient Tuscan city is still free.

Despite having to work on a tighter budget, festival arts director Mauro Valenti has produced another bill that should ensure the number of visitors is still up around the 30,000-per-day mark.

There may be a greater accent on local talent. Top electro star Verdena will be previewing his new album and Gianna Nannini, Daniele Silvestri, Marlene Kunz, Bandabardò, and Caparezza all have main-stage slots.

The international lineup July 11-16 still has a broad sweep including Sinead O’Connor, Skin, a tribute to The Ramones (featuring Marky Ramone), French DJ Laurent Garnier, and New York electro duo CocoRosie.

– John Gammon