With 3 bands from Scotland & a rising Canadian star in a programme featuring 14 bands from 7 countries, Italy’s leading Celtic festival turns its attention to galvanizing support to help displaced communities & devastated towns affected by central Italy’s 2016 earthquakes
PR-Inside.com: 2017-05-17 13:20:37
The 15th edition of the Montelago Celtic Festival returns from August 3rd-5th, 2017, to the alpine plains of Colfiorito on the Umbria-Marche border of central Italy, this year bringing an added dimension to Italy’s biggest Celtic festival. In addition to a programme that brings together performers from Canada, Scotland and Finland in a concert lineup from 7 countries, the festival aims to raise awareness and, more importantly, elicit support for the neighbouring communities affected by 2016’s two major earthquakes and their aftershocks.
With numerous municipalities devastated by the tremors in the central Apennines where the festival is held, Montelago has launched Epicentro, a grand art and culture initiative to raise funds for displaced citizens and their scattered communities in order to help them through the winter of 2017-18. Throughout the autumn-winter season following Montelago, itinerant cultural events featuring nationally renowned artists, musicians and writers will travel through the earthquake zone offering performances to not only raise funds, but also begin the spiritual revitalization of the area.
For festival organizers and renowned musicians Maurizio Serafini and Luciano Monceri, Epicentro is not simply a constructive gesture, it’s a moral imperative: “Montelago’s heritage was founded on the culture of these mountain communities, this is where our hearts are. Buildings may have been destroyed, the population may be disconsolate, but their spirit has not been broken. Our hope is that Montelago will not only infuse the area with passion and harmony as it does every year, but that it can help kick-start a revitalizing upward curve that brings us all back to viewing the mountains in terms of rebirth and possibility rather than danger and destruction.”
This year’s festival schedule includes 22 concerts featuring 14 groups from 7 countries, and kicks off on opening night, Thursday August 3rd, with the third edition of the European Celtic Contest, which showcases Europe’s best up-and-coming musicians for the promise of performing at European Celtic festivals in 2018. The remaining programme features several examples of Montelago’s ongoing propensity to innovate and renew itself. Among them, Friday's programme includes Austria’s Celtica Pipes Rock, who will be filmed as they perform with the Ettore Bastianini Choral Union of Siena; Italian outfit The Sidh will be joined on Saturday night’s stage by the Innova Irish Dance Company from Londonderry, along with the skilled Italian and Scottish pipers of the BeinnLoch Pipe Band; and three “Made in Scotland” concerts – Treacherous Orchestra, Ross Ainslie and Ali Hutton, and Dosca – which grew out of a collaboration with Glasgow’s Celtic Connections Festival.
Launched in 2003, the festival takes place on the Colfiorito plains among the Apennine mountains on the border of the Italian regions of Marche and Umbria. Over the years it has developed into Italy’s largest Celtic festival, and today attracts over 20,000 enthusiasts as part of the growing Montelago community. The event enjoys the patronage of the Irish Embassy in Italy, and has attracted the attention of Italy’s Ministry of Youth and the BBC thanks to its unique and diverse mix of high-quality cultural and social events, including:
- Celtic wedding ceremonies for couples wishing to bind their relationship through sacred Druidic rites,
- Celtic games such as tug o’ war and tossing the caber,
- traditional Celtic craft, music and dance workshops,
- 7-a-side rugby tournament sanctioned by the Italian Rugby Federation,
- fantasy literature presentations in the Tolkien Tent,
- a Celtic village and Celtic battle reenactments, and
- a Celtic market with 70 stalls from all over Italy and Europe offering crafts, clothing, and curiosities.
Aside from events and activities, the soul of the festival is embodied in the Montelago community, known locally as il Popolo di Montelago. As Serafini and Monceri explain: “For fourteen years we’ve been welcoming our faithful followers and new visitors, and still we’ve never had a single bad incident. And that for us is where the festival succeeds – people come simply to enjoy themselves in an atmosphere of peace and camaraderie, surrounded by the beauty of the Apennines. For them, the festival is an escape from the restrictions, congestion and industrialization of everyday life, a place where followers and fans can express themselves freely in an harmonious environment guided simply by the rules of nature and humanity. Without the Montelago community, this festival would not exist, pure and simple, and it’s for these people that we’ll keep pushing forward, making sure that they’re getting the best that we can muster.”
The festival is organized by Arte Nomade (www.artenomade.com).