Turn On, Tune In, Flippaut

The crowd numbers were less than half the organizers expected, but Claudio Trotta’s Barley Arts Promotion intends to continue developing Flippaut as a two-day, Milan-based festival focused mainly on dance music.

“We were disappointed but not deterred,” said company press officer Elena Pantera after the July 21-22 event pulled 6,000 per day to the city’s Idropark.

Having started in 2003 and run for a couple of years as a co-promotion with Corrado and Sandro Rizzotto from the Pordenone-based Indipendente, who dropped out to concentrate on their own Indipendente Days Festival, Trotta ran the 2005 event from the same Parco Nord in Bologna and then moved this year’s bash to his native Milan.

Earlier this summer season, Andrea Pieroni of Live had moved his Gods of Metal Festival on exactly the same route – from Bologna Nord to Milan Idro – and both confess to doing lower crowds. But both still said the move was worthwhile.

Live and Barley Arts both believe the World Cup, and the national hysteria over Italy winning it, meant fewer people were interested in live music. In Flippaut’s case, the 70,000 people who went to see Robbie Williams just down the road at Milan San Siro must have swallowed up a huge slice of the concertgoing market.

Pantera said the poor attendance, less than half enough to fill the local Forum arena, was still outweighed by the reaction from the sponsors and the reviews in the Italian media.

Levi’s, Heineken brewers, the Smart car company, Microsoft’s XBox games station and Durex are all reportedly keen to continue support. Major influential papers including Republica and Il Giorno came with gushing reviews.

Although the crowd was reported to have loved the hybrid mix of live funk and DJ sets from known international artists, which looks to have been sprinkled with a couple of headliners that could play most any outdoor in Europe, Pantera said the general atmosphere – despite the low numbers – made Flippaut worth at least another shot.

Among those having a good time despite the odds were Massive Attack, Gotan Project, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Paul Weller, Tom Verlaine, The Robocop Kraus and Nouvelle Vague.

The main DJ sets came from Fatboy Slim, Happy Mondays, Peter Hook from New Order, Portishead, and top local talent including Boosta from Subsonica and Alessio Bertallot.

– John Gammon