Arezzo And Florence Love At First Sight

A quick look at the lineup (Scissor Sisters; The Good, The Bad & The Queen; Kaiser Chiefs) is an indicator that Arezzo Wave director Mauro Valenti received much more in funding from the city of Florence than he was ever going to get back home in the ancient Tuscan city the festival was founded in.

Valenti spent a few decades struggling to create an internationally known event on whatever budget the local municipality could provide. He was forced to move Arezzo Wave and rename it Italia Wave Love Festival when it became uncertain if the virtually bankrupt city council could guarantee future funding.

Last year Arezzo Wave charged entrance for the first time, although only to punters who showed after 9:15 p.m. to catch only the headliners. The bill was stripped down to the point where Sinead O’Connor, Skin, a tribute to The Ramones featuring Marky Ramone, and French DJ Laurent Garnier were the notable headline acts.

Late entrance fees brought in about euro 250,000 (then about US$316,000), which was a useful addition to a civic budget that had dwindled to euro 1.2 million.

Realising the six-day international, mostly free festival would struggle to survive in Arezzo, Valenti held a February 24th presentation at Italy’s International Tourism Exchange to announce he was moving it to Florence.

The new main site, which is double the size of the space available at Arezzo, is a huge open area a few miles outside the city of Sesto Fiorentino.

It’s near the main Firenze-Mare and Autostrada del Sole motorways and eight miles from Florence’s international airport.

On July 17, Indian composer Nitin Sawhney will appear at a free concert in the heart of the city at the beautiful Piazzale Michelangelo, where the Tuscany Regional Orchestra will accompany him for the Italian premiere of his latest work.

More than 250 acts are confirmed to play the multi-genre, multi-cultural event, which also features a huge range of attractions including film screenings, book readings and various workshops.

The other international acts on the July 17-22 bill, which was announced at separate press conferences in Rome, Milan, Florence and New York, include CSS, Mika, The View, Enter Shakiri, Tunng and Russia’s ETEP dark horse Leningrad.