Day #61: Festival 9
I absolutely adore Italy’s Siren Festival located on the west coast of the Adriatic Sea. This boutique fest, set in the classic old town of Vasto, filled with narrow cobbled streets, and sunset views of the beach, features a curated roster of indie artists in an intimate environment. Fun fact: Siren Festival is the only “three-peat” of the 100 Nights of Summer Tour. Let’s take a look on why I keep coming back.
Running the Numbers
Siren Festival Stats:
100 Nights of Summer Stats:
Days on the Road: 61
Countries Visited: 11
Festivals Attended: 9
Festival Days: 30
Festival Days w/rain: 5
Days Camping: 13
Intimite Indie Rock
The lineup for Siren Festival may be small, but it’s beautifully curated, with indie rock acts that I just won’t see at any other festival this summer. Friday night’s main stage is typically dedicated to Italian artists with this year featuring Italian rap star Ghali and indie pop darlings Baustelle. Saturday belonged to Scottish act Arab Strap and Danish super-proudcer Trentmoller along with his live band.
Siren takes place in and around the historical old town of Vasto. While each one of the stages has its own charm, I’ve become a huge fan of the secluded garden, a quiet haven to grab a glass of wine and enjoy the sunset. In the early evening, there’s artists playing smaller warm-up shows, like this guy below reading Italian poetry set to music. Deep in the night, we always return to the garden to rest in the dark grass and listen to the sounds of music drifting from the inside.
Last minute travel changes and life on the road almost always mean I’m scrambling to secure lodging at festivals. Lucky for me, Luigi and the crew at Il Pioppeto Campground always seem to have room for a weary traveler and his tent. The five-minute walk to the beach means plenty of time in the sea, and the campground is filled with Italian festies.
Bands I Saw This Weekend (listed in order of my personal enjoyment)
- Arab Strap
- Allah Las
- Cabaret Voltaire
- Jenny Hval
- The Minis
Best Set of the Weekend: Allah Las
Something is happening in Los Angeles. The city is just cranking out killer indie acts and exporting them to the European festival scene. The latest, Allah Las, was thrown together by co-workers of the legendary Amoeba Music record store.*
*Note to younger readers: Back in the old days, people used to purchase physical media in large structures we called “record stores.”
Most Surprising Set: Cabaret Voltaire
The name sounded familiar, but it wasn’t until twenty minutes into the set, that my friend Lilla, pointed out to me that Cabaret Voltaire basically invented industrial techno. In 1965. What followed was a trippy, surreal experience through the art of the last surviving member of the group.
WTF Just Happened Set: Jenny Hval
The bizarre and compelling Jenny Hval from Norway seems to be channeling a younger version of Bjork. In the picture below, she suddenly realizes that she is wearing the artist pass, and stops to mull on the fact that this tiny piece of plastic is imbued with its own strange power and how it all means nothing.
Best Food: Italy
Inside the festival, there’s porchetta sandwiches and calamari and gelato. Or step outside into one of the dozens of restaurants surrounding the festival and enjoy everything under the Italian sun with a lovely local wine.
Best Future Rockstars
At the age of 11, THE MINIS, a group of Italian youngsters have more poise and absolute coolness then I’ll ever have in my life. Look at this drummer just banging it away.
Best T-Shirt of the Summer
“I may be old, but I got to see all the cool bands.” Burn.
This trend of boutique indie rock festivals around Europe has just been a treat for me. Primavera Sound, Maifeld Derby, This is Not a Love Song, and Siren Festival are all becoming staples of my summer advenutres and I’m looking forward to coming back to Italy for a fourth time.