17 stops all over Italy

In the hotel industry, the term boutique hotel refers to small but top-quality hotels operated with great care and attention and characterised by a luxurious yet intimate atmosphere.

For a few years now, the same term has been applied to music festivals. A boutique festival is a small but very well-organised event which is light years away from the big festivals such as Coachella, Primavera Sound, Sónar, Sziget and Reading in terms of both size and mood.

On a more human scale, often with a very strong identity of their own, the boutique festivals of summer 2018 feature different sounds, images and styles and are organised, experienced and enjoyed in different ways.

From Pescara to Turin, up and (above all) down the boot of Italy, in pursuit of music, scenery, sunsets and sunrises over beautiful Italian landscapes: you could spend the whole summer just going from one festival to another! But if you do, be sure to bring lots of shoes. Italian shoes, of course!

IndieRocket Festival
June 29 — July 1, Pescara

Who’s playing: We Are Scientists, Rival Consoles, KOKOKO!, Ron Gallo

15 years of experience bringing artists from all five continents to Pescara with avant-garde music. And on the topic of avant-garde movements, this year’s theme is the post-cubist and constructivist futurism of Balla, Boccioni, Carrà and Russolo.

VIVA Festival
July 4 — 8, Valle d’Itria

Who’s playing: Liberato, Jamie XX, Iceage, Goldie, Arca, The Black Madonna

Born out of the well-known Club to Club festival in Turin, VIVA is an event held in a number of locations in the Valle d’Itria in Puglia: Alberobello, Cisternino, Fasano, Locorotondo, Martina Franca and Ostuni.

Lars Rock Fest
July 6 — 8, Chiusi Scalo (SI)

Who’s playing: The Pop Group, Protomartyr, Japandroids
Three days of music and love in the Val di Chiana, in the province of Siena, at the seventh edition of the Lars rock festival.

Locus Festival
July 7 — August 11, Locorotondo (BA)

Who’s playing: Baustelle, Cosmo, Diodato, Bradley Zero, Ghemon
Not just music, but literature and the visual arts come to a festival that lasts a whole month and has been held annually for 14 years, bringing together avant-garde movements and pop music in the Valle d’Itria, one of the most popular locations for music festivals in recent years.

July 8, Milan

Who’s playing: James Bay, Adam Naas, Albin Lee Meldau, Andrea Poggio
Created in the well-known Circolo Magnolia at the Idroscalo in Milan, Unaltrofestival is an event “suspended halfway between mainstream and alternative”. The fifth edition takes place in a single day.

Musical Zoo,
July 18 — 22, Brescia

Who’s playing: Coma_Cose, Myss Keta, Nathan Fake
The Musical Zoo celebrates its tenth birthday this year. In the past it has always been held in the beautiful Castle in Brescia, but this year it comes out of the castle walls to invade the city centre.

July 20 — 21, Montecrestese, Val D’Ossola

Who’s playing: Robert Henke, Ben Frost, Scuba
With a name that is a pun on a type of music and the festival’s location — performance art and avant-garde electronic music in a granite quarry —  this little “festival within a festival” takes place during Tones on the Stones http://tonesonthestones.com/), now in its fifth year.

Ortigia Sound System
July 25 — 29, Island of Ortigia, Syracuse

Who’s playing: James Holden, Kamaal Williams, Erlend Øye
Ortigia Sound System started out small, but its name has continued to grow in Italy and all over the world. It is held on the island of the same name off Syracuse, a Unesco World Heritage Site.

At this, the fifth festival, festival-goers dance until dawn and carry on until sunset with dj sets and parties on the water.

Siren Festival
July 26 — 29, Vasto (CH)

Who’s playing: PIL, Cosmo, Colapesce, dEUS, Lali Puna, Mouse on Mars
4 days, 6 stages, more than 30 concerts and dj sets. In only two years the Siren Festival has been called “festival of the year”, “a local version of Primavera Sound”, and “our little Coachella”.
The third festival, coming up this July with a world-class line-up, will be sure to meet expectations.

July 27 — 29, Monopoli (BA)

Who’s playing: Carl Craig, John Talabot, Mano Le Tough
The sea, the sunrise, tents, good food, and dreamy music for relaxing, having fun, or falling in love. All to the slogan #heartheground, one of the best little gems among Italy’s smaller festivals.

Fat Fat Fat Festival
August 3 — 5, Corridonia (MC)

Who’s playing: Madlib, Floating Points, Larry Head aka Mr Fingers, Egyptian Lover
“You can’t download the experience,” is the motto of this year’s edition of the festival in the Marches. You may be able to download the music (dance, electronic and black are the preferred genres at Fat Fat Fat), but you can’t download the emotions, the atmospheres, the sunsets, the look in the dancers’ eyes, or the beauty of the location.

August 9 — 11, Agrigento

Who’s playing: The Rosemberg Trio, Chicago Stompers
One of the world’s most beautiful locations, the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento, hosts the second FestiValle, with a section for electronic music, the Electro Festivalle, on the beach in San Leone, only a few minutes away.

August 9 — 12, Castelbuono (PA)

Who’s playing: The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Horrors, The Radio Dept., Aurora
One of Italy’s oldest smaller festivals, considered one of the best in Europe, Ypsigrock has been held for twenty-two years in the fascinating setting of Castelbuono, a medieval village only a few kilometres from Palermo, which comes to life with fans from all over the globe and world-glass bands.

Frac Festival
August 10 — 11, Roccelletta di Borgia (CZ)

Who’s playing: Populous, Mavi Phoenix, Floating Points dj, Myss Keta
Frac stands for Festival di Ricerca per le Arti Contemporanee, and this festival “of research in the contemporary arts” has been held for four years now. This year it moves to the beautiful Scolacium archaeological zone, where new imagery comes to life in concerts and performances.

Somewhere Festival
August 17 — 19, Gizzera (CZ)

Who’s playing: Kerri Chandler, Dj Seinfeld, Nachtbraker, Hugo LX
Enjoying the natural, artistic and cultural beauty of little-known places in the region of Calabria to the beat of electronic music: this is the mission of Somewhere, which moves to a new location every year, allowing festival-goers to discover new scenarios and stories every time.

Dancity Festival
August 24 — 26, Foligno (PG)

Who’s playing: Tangerine Dream, Nu Guinea, Amelie Lens, Moritz von Oswald & Tikiman
Dancity stands for density, city and movement. The festival has explored new sounds and forms of contamination since 2006, accompanying concerts and dj sets with performances, installations and meetings about music and technology.

August 24 — 26, Turin

Who’s playing: My Bloody Valentine, Editors, Mount Kimbie, The War on Drugs, Cosmo
After three acclaimed editions, the event that “represents the cities of the world in Turin and Turin all over the world” brings together world-famous bands and Italian talents in a festival that, as the organisers say, “is meant to be experienced, not explained”.


On cover: Polifonic Festival