A headliner pulling out a day before the festival wasn’t the best way for Italia Wave to start a new life in Livorno, but festival communications chief Silvia Poledrini said the move to the coast was a good one.
The Verve didn’t make it because singer Richard Ashcroft had a bad throat. The festival offered full refunds for that day, but the scaled-down four-day event still pulled 63,000 people.
Having started in Arezzo as Arezzo Wave Festival in 1987, the event stayed there for nearly two decades. Uncertainty over funding caused it to move to Florence in 2007 and change its name to Italia Wave.
After one year, disagreements over the site, political problems and the related financial problems forced it to move to the Mediterranean coast at Livorno.
Festival organisers weren’t able to commit to the move, or even this year’s festival, until the end of March.
Under the circumstances Poledrini said the result was a good one, particularly because the site has the obvious advantage of being on the coast.
Apart from the bands, major attractions included seminars, interviews and workshops that took place on a small boat as it went on a tour of the city’s canals.
As the boat carries fewer than 50 people, the sessions soon took on a natural exclusivity and every tour was full once the word got out.
The main arena at the new site is the city’s 40,000-capacity soccer stadium, home of Serie A side AS Livorno Calcio.
There’s also a 10,000-capacity arena at Rotonda d’Ardenza, a terrace next to the sea, and a 2,000-capacity electro stage at the old fortress that once guarded the entrance to the harbour.
The acts helping Italia Wave settle into its third home in as many years July 16-19 included The Chemical Brothers, Gnarls Barkley, The Ting Tings, Vanilla Sky, The Wombats and The Whip.