It’s summer, and you know what that means: music festivals! Let me introduce Mauro Valenti to you today, creator and artistic director of a very well known summer rock festival in Tuscany, Italy.
Despite having fought hard to create the Arezzo Wave Love Festival, in addition to having internationally promoted new Italian music talents, he is a shy and careless man… He forgot to send us his photo, so we show you instead the photo of the last poster of the ArezzoWave!
Did you like all kinds of music when you were a child?
Yes, music has always been the soundtrack of my life, first in the background, and afterwards, by the hand of the musicians who came to my festival from all over the planet. Music is the simplest language to speak to the world.
What musical instrument do you play and in what bands have you been?
The ball!… For an Italian boy it’s like a musical instrument. Like music, it fills your life with dreams and fantasies. It has allowed me to earn my living and be independent… In Italy you play football or become a musician.
I have combined both the football and the music, but I do not play any instrument although I have gathered more than 2,000 groups in my festival… I have taken guitar, bass and drums lessons from the teachers of the ‘Musician Institute Of Los Angeles’.
I hosted Michael Laing, the creator of Woodstock (he celebrated with his daughter in 2009 the 40 years of Woodstock choosing ArezzoWave as a festival for it, he stayed there a week). I have created a rock academy and received inscriptions from 48,175 Italian groups interested in playing with us. This year we hope to reach the group 50,000!
Do you like to be a teacher?
Well, I’ve actually taught at the University of Parma for 4 years, giving classes, grading and directing end-of-course projects (in ArezzoWave they’ve done about 20) but a teacher, even though my students used to say ”Scusi Prof” to me… I thought they were talking to someone else… But if being a teacher means to advise others to have a better life, then I do like to teach, even if it I am not good at grading my students… they have all passed my exams.
How was ArezzoWave born? How does it differ from other festivals?
What a big question! It was born long ago looking for new talents in every Italian region, then taking them on a tour around the world hoping to help them in their artistic career… (in October we will be in the BIME in Bilbao and we have just arrived from the MIL of Lisbon, presenting Italian artists, as in New York, that during the promotion of musicians Italians I have curiously discovered a Basque artist from your sector, now famous, whose name I do not remember, oh my God!…).
We have distinguished ourselves from other festivals, especially by the desire to highlight new talents and by a formula, which for more than 20 years has allowed our audience to see the artists for free, such as Manu Chao, Ben Harper (Jovanotti, Sonic Youth, Moby, LCD Sound System, David Byrne, Nick Cave and many others.
Your favourite song?
Ah, to make a soundtrack of the musicians that I liked, going back to the beginning, I would need a book… Bruce Springsteen, Frank Zappa, Manu Chao, (the original one, not the one I saw last year at Rototom) Talking Heads, Clash, Ben Harper , Nirvana, Nick Cave, Chemical Brothers, Radiohead, Baloji Stromae and Eminem (I think it’s a genius). Also Belako, very goodm, from Basque Country!
Your favourite sport …
Guess it! Inter and handball in family.
Your favourite dish of Italian cuisine
A lot… ravioli, mushrooms, spaghetti ai frutti di mare, pizza … In Italy if you sit down for dinner you suddenly gain an extra kg… watch out!
“We have distinguished ourselves from other festivals, especially by the desire to highlight new talents and by a formula, which for more than 20 years has allowed our audience to see the artists for free…”
(But… I will eat octopus a la gallega… and Spanish omelette until I will burst and I consider them also very very tasty).
What do you know about LumaSuite?
I find it great to transform an instrument container into something ‘fascinating’ and at the same time something safe and manageable. Only women could have been their creators… In these things you ladies get ahead. Congratulations! Bravissime!!
Do you plan to create new challenges for the festival next year?
Every day I have many ideas; I think I’m still a child and I look at the ideas that come blowing, like soap bubbles… hoping they will not explode. Sometimes one idea holds up and miraculously becomes a magical little world, but only sometimes…
I am now thinking of a project: “Setep” (South Europe Talent Exchange Programme) with Spain, Portugal, France, Greece and Spain, to put in value the talents from these countries, because Brussels often looks over their shoulder. We hope to get support from the European Community for this platform, with the help of our partners… It’s a bit long to explain… Time will tell!