Rockin' It Up at Senigallia's Summer Jamboree Festival
words by Silvia Donati
The “hottest rockin’ holiday on earth”: that’s how the Summer Jamboree Festival has been labeled. The international event, which takes place in the beach town of Senigallia, on the Adriatic coast in the Marche region, is dedicated to the music and culture of 1940s and ‘50s America. And music is indeed at the center of the festival with rock and roll, rockabilly, hillbilly, swing, doo wop, rhythm’n’blues and boogie concerts, shaking the town for nine days, from August 3 to 11, 2013.
Italian and international bands will alternate on stage. This year’s edition will give special attention to guitarists and women.
Grammy Award-winning guitarist Duane Eddy, considered the king of twang guitar, whose famous Rebel Rouser song was featured in the movie Forrest Gump, will headline the festival. Eddy, who recorded a series of hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s with 12 million records sold, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
Performing on stage also English swing band Ray Gelato, jump blues guitarist and singer Junior Watson, guitarist, singer and songwriter Dave Gonzales of the U.S. rockabilly band Paladins, guitarist and singer Deke Dickerson and U.K. band Big Six.
The festival takes place around Senigallia’s historic center which, for the occasion, turns into a sort of movie set from the golden age of America’s rock and roll. The 1950s come to life as music fans from all over the world congregate in Senigallia with their vintage clothes and cars, corsages and flared skirts to be flaunted during the dance parties, two-color shoes, red lipsticks, turn-up jeans, Elvis’ impersonators and memorabilia like the juke box, long play records, and the chance to stock up on some more gadgets at the “Vintage Market.”
This summer, the Summer Jamboree enters its 14th year. The festival has always taken place in Senigallia, where its artistic director Angelo Di Liberto works. It was born out of passion and the first year featured only four bands on a stage on Senigallia's beach for just one day.
Now, the event is considered one of the most important summer festivals in Italy and one of the top three festivals of this music genre around the world where rock and roll aficionados can listen to international artists, some of whom have never performed in Italy before. Up to 300,000 people attended the last editions of the festival in 2012.
The artists who perform at the festival seem to love the event just as much as the fans do: American guitarist, singer and songwriter Chuck Berry, considered one of the pioneers of rock and roll, after performing with his American band at one of the festival’s past editions, said enthusiastically, “I want to come back!”. Country musician Wayne Hancock thanked Mr. Di Liberto for “taking me to heaven!”. One of the first female rockabilly singers who came to fame in the 1950s and 60s, Wanda Jackson, for the first time in Italy, was “honored to be here”, while guitarist James Burton, who has performed with Elvis Presley, promised to “come back with more guitarists.”
Even the queen of burlesque Dita Von Teese made her appearance at the festival in 2007, performing for the first time in Italy. A famous Italian admirer of the festival is Italian show man Renzo Arbore who attends the festival every year; he is an expert on this culture and time period and claims, “It is a wonderful festival attended by thousands of people around the world, dedicated to a music genre that should be rediscovered.”
If listening to the music is not enough, festival participants can let loose at the swing dance party at the Rotonda a Mare, at the Big Hawaiian Party on the beach, or learn the first steps at the Dance Camp.
And if you are wondering what jamboree means, it is “a large party or celebration with music and entertainment.” Perfect for August's Italian summer nights.
If you want to know more, please visit http://www.summerjamboree.com/