Lecce Powers Italia Wave

In the last four years it’s been staged in Florence and Livorno, but for the 2011 edition Italia Wave moved south to Lecce and on the final night put 20,000 in the local soccer stadium.

It’s moved down to the heel of the Italian peninsula because festival director Mauro Valenti has struggled to secure local funding in other cities, usually finding the money dried up when each place had its regular change of mayor.

In 2007 it left its hometown of Arezzo because the local authority was on the verge of bankruptcy and had nothing to put in the pot, let alone the euro 1.2 million it had previously contributed.

It moved to Florence and changed its name from Arezzo Wave to Italia Wave, which has proved to be a more usable moniker as its travels continued.

After one year on a site that proved unsuitable because it didn’t have power or water, it shifted to Livorno.

It would have stayed in Livorno for longer than three years but local public spending cuts meant the city wasn’t sure it could afford it.

Puglian President Nichi Vendola made more positive noises and said that in Lecce the festival would be “desired and not borne,” although he may only be able to guarantee that sort of support until the next election.

Italia Wave press officer says the main-stage acts drew crowds of about 5,000. As the other stages are free entry, the local government subsidy is clearly necessary to make the event happen.

The acts helping Italia Wave remain a movable feast July 14-17 included Lou Reed, Paolo Nutini, Jimmy Cliff, Kaiser Chiefs and top Italian acts such as Daniele Silvestri, Cristina Donà and Modena City Ramblers.