Isle of Wight – The European Woodstock
The legendary Isle of Wight Festivals of 1968, 69 and 70, prided itself with artists along the lines of Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and the Who. These festivals are now taking place in their reloaded version on the Channel Island since 2002. The opening day on the 13th of June is marked by the Kaiser Chiefs, 5 young men hailing from Leeds. Followed by the Sex Pistols and the Police on the 14th and 15th. For the latter the Isle of Wight gig is the only one in the UK this year. The ‘European Woodstock’ is all about being environmentally friendly, as the organizer John Giddings announced. No more fast food and rubbish piles. From now on energy, means of transport, litter and recycling are turning their antennas towards all things ecological.
Europe moves to many rhythms
This year sees Paris celebrate its twenty-seventh Fête de la musique – the annual open air street party where everyone exhausts themselves either with a guitar, in a choir, a band or just as a spectator in a festival that marks the beginning of the Parisian summer. This year’s event will be devoted to theme of film music. But it is not just Paris that moves to rhythms as music is exported to over one hundred countries on all five continents and is celebrated from Berlin, and Barcelona to Rome and Prague to name just a few. This year’s newcomers include Erbil in the Iraqi region of Kurdistan.
A festival in the middle of Europe
Through June and July the seventeenth annual Festival Mitte Europa, a German-Czech cultural collaboration between between Bundesländern Bayern Sachsen and their Czech counterparts offers a more sophisticated experience than your typical music festival. The German opera singer Thomas Thomaschke and the Prague art historian Ivana Thomaschke Vondráková, crossed from Eastern Germany in 1976 set in motion a cultural collaboration on the former German-Czechoslovakian Border. Following reunification the first music events started as early as 1990. This year the festival centres around ‘origin’, ‘metamorphosis’ and ‘contact’. Between the 15th of June and the 3rd of August various artists are meeting in a series of satellite festivals around the border regions and amongst the performers are the Italian Fabio Bondi and the French Jazz group Hadouk Trio.
Stranger Festival Amsterdam
Young Europeans between 15 and 25 years old form the centre point of the Stranger Festival taking place in Amsterdam from the 3rd to the 5th of July. 250 young film makers submitted short films around the themes of ‘Who am I?’ ‘Where am I?’ and ‘What brings me here?’ Those yet to do so can upload their films until the 15th of July to the organizers website. The winners will then be picked by an international panel of judges in the Westergasfabrik. Complementary Stranger Video workshops will also take place in Romania (16. June) and Poland (15. November).
Luxembourg welcomes ‘Le Transfrontalier’
Luxembourg throws itself open to the World this summer by playing host to the first leg of ‘Le Transfrontalier’ – a cross border dance festival, following in the footsteps of the famous Lëtzebeurg event. This year the organizers want to repeat the success of the 2007 CCN-Ballet de Lorraine when Luxembourg and Sibin shared the title of European Capital of Culture. The event stops off from 3-10 July in Luxembourg, before moving on to Nancy from the 8-12 July and then to Zagreb in Croatia.
Perhaps Queen Elizabeth will slip into her flamenco frock, or perform a step dance for Prince Charles? From the 5th to the 13th of July, the whole of London is going to be dancing to ‘Big Dance’ – an event that has been bringing twinkly toes to the British Capital for the last two years. At the 2006 opening, 752 people from all over the World broke a new World record in Trafalgar Square, as they danced forty-four different dances to the same piece of music. Be it Hip-Hop at Earls Court, Theatrics at Spitalfields market or a Tango in Notting Hill, one thing is for sure – by the end of the week many pairs of shoes will be danced out!
Lights, Camera, Action in Munich and Edinburgh
The summer film festival season starts in Munich (20th-28th of June) and Edinburgh (18th-29th of June). In the Scottish city the Edinburgh International Film Festival will present a retrospective on the French drama icon Jeanne Moreau. Meanwhile in Munich over 200 films from 41 different countries will be shown and the CineMerit will be awarded to Julie Christie for her role in the immortal 1965 film Doctor Zhivago .
The perfect wave in Italy
Fans of the phenomenal Italia Wave Festival must again contemplate the downside of marketing. The entry price of 40 Euros makes many Italians think back nostalgically to the free forerunner Arezzo Wave. Nevertheless the 2008 Lineup sounds promising with The Chemical Brothers, The Verve, the Italians Elio e le storie trese and the German-French band Stereo Total all due to perform at the event that runs from the 16th and 19th July 2008 in Livorno.
Additional translation by Carolyn Fahey