Folkest 2023: the world’s curious festival

Folkest signs the milestone of its 45th anniversary with some important novelties: starting with the return to its first venue, the town of San Daniele del Friuli, and the new collaboration with Aria di Festa, now in its 37th edition, a cross-cultural event where food and wine meets regional excellence, culture, good living and quality music, attracting tourists from Italy and abroad, organized by the Consorzio del Prosciutto di San Daniele together with the Municipality of San Daniele, with the Pro Loco and in collaboration with Sandanielese shopkeepers and traders. A renewed organizational formula that will see, in addition to Folkest performances, live cooking shows, thematic talks with prominent guests, master classes and sensory workshops dedicated to Prosciutto di San Daniele.
Folkest will offer a program that thickens with guests and significantly opens its doors to international professionals from the great world of folk and world music. Among the guests of this edition, artistic director Andrea Del Favero wanted to indicate a strong trace of continuity with the great tradition, on the one hand, but also with the more recent musical history, with an ever more attentive look to the future, on the other.

Let’s start with the notable guests: the 99 Posse, a historic Neapolitan band that has always woven music, current events and social commitment into its lyrics, will take turns on stage; Riccardo Tesi, a multifaceted artist and great master of the accordion and its sounds, with his sparkling and elastic sound, devoted to inclusion, with the Elastic Trio; the Nuova Compagnia di Canto Popolare, which will bring the great tradition of Neapolitan music to the stage and will be awarded the Folkest Prize – a life for music. Not forgetting the daring folk-rock of Massimo Priviero. Extraordinary events include the highly anticipated Xavier Rudd concert at Udine Castle on July 11 with his ode to life and all his powerful message of humanity. And Randy Brecker’s concert with the Naonis Music Academy Orchestra conducted by Valter Sivilotti on August 7, also at Udine Castle.
Not forgetting the double date in Koper, which, as usual, will take place in the old Venetian salt warehouse and will see on stage the group linked to the local community, Caligaria, and one of the most significant and refined authors of the Italian music scene, Enrico Ruggeri.
Finally, among the protagonists present at this edition, we cannot forget the female declinations of folk such as: Scarlet Rivera, Elena Ledda, Dina Staro.

Folkest and sustainability

It should be mentioned that a green stage, powered by photovoltaic panels, will be set up for the days in San Daniele. As Andrea Del Favero already had the opportunity to state at the Aria di Festa Press Conference, “Music and culture must also take their responsibility towards the environment. And that is why this year Folkest will mount the first green stage, a first step that will lead to the future autonomy of stages with solar panels. A first, small, but significant step forward.”

The structure of the festival

Dotted with the pillars of a parterre, therefore, so rich and varied, the Festival maintains its historic structure that is divided between the five days in San Daniele del Friuli, the major events and important appointments with today’s music that enliven the activities of the municipalities of Friuli Venezia Giulia and anticipate the days of San Daniele crossing the entire month of June with music.
At the center of the five-day event is music, showcases, exhibitions and meetings in the hill town, with the novelty of an important international opening: as of this year Folkest is a founding member of the EU-branded UpBeat platform, which brings together the fourteen major continental showcase-festivals and promotes, within each of the member festivals, meetings between artists, international operators, management and journalists.
Four macro sections, therefore, of the events that will animate the town of San Daniele on the days of the same name: between June 30 and July 3 we will have musical appointments with names better known to the general public and the presentation of the Folkest Prize-a life for music, Folkest Showcase dedicated to new proposals, the finals of the Cesa Prize and the Folk Clinics.

The Festival along the Municipalities of Friuli

The journey among the municipalities of Friuli Venezia Giulia will touch on Arta Terme, Artegna, Campoformido, Caneva, Castelnovo del Friuli, Cividale del Friuli, Duino Aurisina, Fiumicello Villa Vicentina, Flaibano, Forgaria nel Friuli, Gorizia, Latisana, Lusevera, Prato Carnico, Pulfero, Reana del Rojale, Ronchi dei Legionari, Romans d’Isonzo, Vito d’Asio, and Tramonti di Sopra.
Among the featured artists will be the legendary Luigi Lai with Mauro Palmas, Scarlet Rivera & Borderlobo and then again Arthuan Rebis, Bards from yesterday, Braul, Duo Pondel, Ensemble Sangineto, In vino veritas, Lassociazione, La serpe d’oro, Nubras Ensemble, Pedro Makay, Jaime Michaels & Paolo Ercoli, Lovesick duo in trio, Jason O’Rourke Trio, Green Grass Trio and Ajde Zora.

The Alberto Cesa Award

Thanks to the Alberto Cesa Prize-now in its nineteenth edition and designed to enhance Italian musical projects that can give voice to one or more cultural roots from anywhere in the world-at San Daniele we will hear the Femina Ridens, a Tuscan group that has rearranged some songs from the medieval European tradition; the Luarte Project from Tuscany, a project that searches for beauty and movement in world music; the Dimotika from various regions, with their musical quest across stylistic and genre boundaries between the Middle East and the West; the Grama Tera from Piedmont with their criminal ballads and work songs; the Friulian Yerba Buena Trio with their passion for traditional and signature songs from Spanish-speaking America; and the Taranto-based Yaràkä from Puglia with their musical contaminations between Africa and Mediterranean and Southern Italian sounds. The final evening will see them all on stage in the Lake Street area from 9 p.m. onward: guest of honor rock singer-songwriter Massimo Priviero. The evening will be hosted by Martina Vocci of Tv Koper/Capodistria and Duccio Pasqua of Rai Radio 1 – Rai Stereonotte.

Folkest showcase – Upbeat

That is, the new European artistic offerings that Folkest will present to the public and numerous international delegates in the Church of St. Anthony the Abbot, Castle Park and Vittorio Emanuele II Square: Alvise Nodale from Friuli, Linda Rukaj from Albania and Cuerdas y teclas from Spain, Dettori and Moretti from Lombardy and Sardinia, Triana y Luca from Luxembourg and Mexico, Weryhora from Poland, Duo Gaudio Pace from Calabria, La Quadrilla from Piedmont and Corte di Lunas from Friuli, Alessandro D’Alessandro from Lazio, Jig Robots from Italy and Slovenia, the Deaf and METE.

Folkclinic – knowing about music

Central is the Folkclinic section, which has been one of the centerpieces of Folkest for the past four years, thanks to the research and in-depth study by Maurizio Bettelli and Michele Gazich, who work alongside Andrea Del Favero. The clinics, open to all, will be held in the spaces of the Guarneriana Library and at the Scriptorium Foroiuliense venue on Udine Street. Five macro areas into which the meetings have been divided: Music for Musicians; Words for Music; Toolbox; Music in Motion; Fresh from the Press. Alongside Mediterranean vocality with Elena Ledda conducting, the Music for Musicians event dedicated to an instrument will be “The accordion in Italy and its developments,” held by Riccardo Tesi, an authentic international star of the instrument.
Opening with the 2023 edition of Folkest is a new chapter of Folkclinic, “But Are You Out? – Playing, singing and dancing here and now: consonances in movement and evanescence.” entrusted to the mastery of Dina Staro, who with Ricardo Tomba will straddle music, movement and creativity.
“Words for Music” is the section dedicated to songwriting. Coordinated by Maurizio Bettelli and Felice Liperi, this year’s meeting is entrusted to Marco Ongaro, author and composer, storyteller, poet, librettist. A second in-depth discussion, thanks to the participation of Giovanni Straniero (journalist and writer), Federico Sirianni (singer-songwriter) and Michele Gazich, is dedicated to the rebellious music of Michele Straniero, with a national preview of the album “Domani si vive e si muore,” containing eight eight unpublished lyrics by Michele Straniero.
“Toolbox” is the third container: the more technical meetings will be held by Valentina Zanelli (a young promoter from Turin, owner of a startup for management), who offers two extremely interesting topics: “An approach to the music market” and “How to present yourself at showcase festivals,” and by Roberto Fontanot, an internationally renowned luthier who invented revolutionary pickups for acoustic instruments. Concluding this series will be Elisabetta Malantrucco (RAI in-house journalist at Techeté) who will present the first installment of a multi-year project on Friuli Venezia Giulia’s sound treasures hidden in the RAI archives.
The speed meetings scheduled on the different days will provide opportunities for quick introductions of the attending artists to each individual foreign operator.
In this year’s edition of Freschi di Stampa we will present Cantautori e cantautrici del nuovo millennio by Michele Neri (Iacobelli Editore, 2023); on the following days Storie di straordinaria fonia Dagli studi Rca alle grandi produzioni live by Foffo Bianchi, Francesca Gaudenzi and Duccio Pasqua (Bertoni Ed, 2022); Essence: lives of Claudio Rocchi by Walter Gatti (Caissa Italia Ed., 2023); last but not least, The Adaïewsky Case – History of a music traveler conducted by Paola Barzan.

Folkest, under the artistic direction of Andrea Del Favero, is produced by Folkgiornale and thanks to the support of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region, the Friuli Foundation, the municipalities of San Daniele del Friuli and Udine, the Consortium of Prosciutto di San Daniele del Friuli, Friulovest Banca and the Local Authorities of the more than twenty municipalities in Friuli Venezia Giulia involved.