7 Summer Festivals You Don't Want To Miss In Basilicata

Tue, 06/21/2016 - 18:26

John Bensalhia looks at a lucky seven of some of the notable Summer happenings in the Basilicata region. Main photo credit: www.identitainsorgenti.com.

Mantua presents 1000 Young People for the European Music Festival 2016

Where? Mantua, When? 18th June

As you might have heard, Mantua is the 2016 Italian Capital of Culture. One of the events to mark this fact will be taking place on 18th June, as 1000 youngsters will be helping to usher in the première of a special Music Festival. 

Mantua will play host to its first ever 1000 Young People for the Festival of Music. Having been specially chosen to participate in the event through winners of youth festivals and concerts, the 1000 kids will be performing on 11 stages around the city along with a selection of musical artists.

It's the first time that this event has been organised, and it looks set to be held every year from now on in the chosen Italian Capital of Culture. 

Festa Della Bruna

Where? Matera, When? July 2nd. 

Matera is the place to be on 2nd July, when the region honours its sacred patron saint, the Madonna della Bruna.

It's said that these celebrations can be traced all the way back to 1389 – today there is over a week's worth of events and initiatives to mark the occasion. There are markets, stalls, light displays and musical performances. 

The actual day of 2nd July is a public holiday and caps off the occasion with the pagan-styled tradition of tearing a purpose-built float to pieces. Having borne a statue of the Madonna della Bruna, the special wagon is taken through the streets before the crowds. Starting from the Church of Piccianello, this papier mache wagon makes its way to the Cathedral Square. Adorned with other statues and decorations, it's a real unique sight, and so the wagon (flanked by horse-mounted knights and marching bands) travels at a relatively slow pace in order for the crowds to get a good glimpse. 

Which the crowds should make the most of because after the traditional Three Turns (representing the taking of the city by the Holy Patrol), the wagon is then destroyed. Anyone who successfully grabs a piece of the papier mache wagon will apparently come into good luck!

After this event, Festa Della Bruna is signed off with a spectacular firework display for all to enjoy. 

Pollino Music Festival 

Where? San Severino Lucano, When) August (TBC)

It's 20 years since Pollino Music Festival first came to San Severino Lucano. It has been a regular fixture at the heart of the Pollino National Park. Traditionally, this musical festival has been a big attraction in the heart of Summer, with last year's event taking place in late August. 

The Pollino Music Festival has presented a slew of live shows over the years – 200, in fact – with a number of acts from the contemporary music field including Daniele Silvestri, Eugene Jackson, Subsonica, Zoe, Line 77 and Roy Paci. Many kinds of music are represented at the festival – ensuring that visitors can broaden their horizons beyond good old pop and rock to experience new types of music such as electronica and reggae. 

Metaponto Beach Festival 

Where? Metaponto, When? August (TBC) 

Combining sun, sea and a healthy zest of music, the Metaponto Beach Festival is held in the high Summer at the historic location of Castello Torremare.

The Beach Festival offers you the chance to hit the beautiful beaches of the Ionian Coast while sampling some of the best in independent music. Economy-wise, this festival has been a big boon for the region with a good number of visitors coming to Metaponto to enjoy the experience. Offering a great insight into the cultural and regional delights of the region, the event is put together with the help of various gifted adults, youngsters and children from South Italy. 

As the old saying goes, life's a beach – and this festival is always worth a visit.

Luciana International Film Festival 

Where? Pisticci, Matera, When? August 10-13th.

The Luciana International Film Festival is the first of its kind in Basilicata. A fantastic celebration of international experimental film making, the festival is now an annual fixture in Pisticci every August, with this year's edition falling between the 10th and 13th of the month. 

While the serious process of making a film can't be denied, the festival is still well known for its atmosphere that combines great fun and a friendly approach. Each section of the festival plays host to a number of competitors both from Italy and from all around the world, with entrants coming from overseas locations such as Russia, Spain, the Netherlands, Poland and the USA.

The categories are as follows: International Competitive Feature and Short Films; Animations; Italian-only films; and Documentaries. Expect a wide range of innovative and exciting films to hit the screens this August!

Festival of Saint Rocco

Where? Montescaglioso and Tolve, When? August 16th 

It's quite something to come from a noble background and then to renounce that wealth in order to use it to help the poor.

Nevertheless, that's what St Rocco did, and furthermore, when the residents of Montescaglioso faced a terrible earthquake, St Rocco's intervention is said to have saved the day. St Rocco is also known as St Roch, and was a Catholic saint. Among other things, he was the patron saint of dogs and falsely accused people.

Photo credit: www.monitor-radiotv.it

So that's what the Festival of Saint Rocco celebrates – seven horses pull a papier mache float to mark the saint in procession. Saint Rocco passed away on 16th August and these festivals are held on or around the anniversary of his passing. 

In Tolve, this occasion is marked twice – once in August, and again in September. The statue of the saint is taken in procession through the town's streets from noon. This event attracts thousands of pilgrims both from the immediate area and nearby locations. 

The Feast of San Bernardino

Where? Bernalda, When? Late August 

A big event for all the family and one that's a highly appropriate finish to the Summer season – it's said that even directing legend Francis Ford Coppola enjoyed it enormously: to the point where he recorded his experience with his own personal camera.

While the actual official day for celebrating the patron saint San Bernardino is earlier in the year (20th May), for some time now, the celebrations have been shifted to August in order to enable the tourists in the Metaponto region to enjoy this event too. 

There is something for all the family here to enjoy, and there's a brilliant carnival atmosphere to savour. The big daddy of this event is the last day – or Tradition Day (Giorno della Tradizione), when Corso Umberto becomes the focal point for over 100,000 revellers. Corso Umberto has already attracted attention with its impressive street illuminations that add to the enchanting magic of this event. 

Tradition Day includes the exit of the statue of the Saint from the mother church (or Chiesa Madre). The statue is ferried through a parade on a splendidly decorated wooden carriage, with the parade itself running for around 2km. A dash of history is added to the mix, with historical groups, knights and crossbow-bearing men making their presence felt in style. 

Falling in late August, the Feast of San Bernardino is an apt way to see out the Summer season. It's colourful, celebratory, and gives everyone a rich, first-hand souvenir of how Bernalda can party up. In addition to the parade, there are outside concerts and a superb fireworks display to cap off this magnificent event.

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