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Di & Gi primed for historic festival summer

Italian promoter D’Alessandro e Galli (Di & Gi) is all set for a historic season as its flagship Lucca Summer Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary.

The month-long Tuscany concert series, which kicks off later this month, has welcomed the likes of the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Roger Waters, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Tom Jones, Van Morrison, Roger Waters, Stevie Wonder and Ennio Morricone since launching in 1998.

Staged in the Mura Storiche area, next to the Lucca City Walls, the 40,000-cap event also utilises a second, 8,000-cap venue and has already sold out its opening two nights by KISS (29 June) and Simply Red (1 July). Other artists include Bob Dylan, Norah Jones, Lil Nas X, Blur and Robbie Williams, who headlines the closing night on 28 July.

“I think it’s one of the best line-ups we’ve ever had, we are all convinced about this,” Di & Gi’s Enrico D’Alessandro tells IQ. “We have legends of music like KISS – who have chosen Lucca for their very last show in Italy – Simply Red and Blur with their reunion tour.

“We also have Robbie Williams coming back, the Chemical Brothers and newer acts like One Republic or Lil Nas X, so we are very happy. It is selling very well – KISS and Simply Red are already sold out and other shows are close to selling out.”

“The major change is that we are no longer going to have six nights in a row, we are splitting the six nights over two weekends

He continues: “Lucca Summer Festival is very established. It took 25 years because the first edition was 25 years ago. But I think it is now established among the European festival field.”

Meanwhile, Di & Gi’s 10,000-cap La Prima Estate, which debuted in 2022, is returning for its second year with a slightly tweaked format. The festival will be held over two weekends from 16-25 June in Lido di Camaiore on the Tuscan coast, an hour from Florence.

Targeting a younger demographic to Lucca, weekend one will be headlined by Nas, Bon Iver and Bicep, with the second weekend topped by Alt-J, Jamiroquai and Metro Boomin.

“The major change this year is that we are no longer going to have six nights in a row in one week, we are splitting the six nights over two weekends,” explains D’Alessandro. “But the concept is still the same: to try to offer the audiences something more than a live concert because, that’s what people are demanding now. And right now, 75% of the tickets have been sold outside Tuscany, so people are coming to experience a vacation.”

La Prima Estate has been designed to combine the festival and holiday experiences, with the beach and stage just a few minutes walk away from each other, yoga and mindfulness courses on offer in the morning, as well as sailing and windsurfing lessons, and cycling trips with professional cyclists up into the Versilia hills.

“The Italian audience has a different conception of a festival. They prefer a more comfortable situation”

“We announced it [last year] while the country was still in a state of emergency because of Covid, so we had only three months to promote such a new festival with such a different format, but we had a good result in the end,” notes D’Alessandro. “We did something like 20,000 people and we ended up being the most mentioned festival in the Italian media. The idea of a festival that could be associated with a vacation was something that caught their attention.”

The event will also feature domestic talent including Dardust, Nation of Language, Elasi, Ele A and BigMama, as well as international acts like Japanese Breakfast, Chet Faker and Kings Of Convenience.

“I think that the Italian audience has a different conception of a festival,” suggests D’Alessandro. “It wouldn’t work to have a multi stage festival with music starting at noon, because they prefer a more comfortable situation, so we’ve kind of created a hybrid with more artists, but only one stage and starting at sunset. We saw some [Italian] festivals trying a format more similar to the European kind in the past, but it didn’t really work.”

D’Alessandro adds that ticket prices for both Di & Gi festivals have been kept as low as possible.

“I think our ticket prices are lower than the average for concerts in Italy right now,” he says. “We think it’s the right thing to do, even if costs are increasing. The post Covid situation is very difficult; it’s difficult to find personnel and it’s difficult to find all the material you need to build the venue. Because of that, we had a different strategy this year: we actually started to set up the stage on 8 May – 40 days before kickoff – because we were worried about the risk of not being ready in time.”


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Lucca Summer Festival gears up for 2022 comeback

Promoters of Italy’s Lucca Summer Festival (LSF) have spoken to IQ about the return of the star-studded concert series.

Justin Bieber became the latest headliner to be confirmed for the month-long LSF in Tuscany earlier this week. The Canadian singer will perform a 40,000-cap show in the Mura Storiche area, next to the Lucca City Walls, on 31 July. He joins a 2022 line-up already featuring Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets (25 June), Liam Gallagher + Kasabian (6 July), John Legend (9 July) and Robert Plant + Alison Krauss (14 July), with Celine Dion confirmed for 15 July next year.

With the 2020 and 2021 festivals falling victim to the pandemic, Enrico D’Alessandro of event promoter D’Alessandro e Galli (Di and Gi) tells IQ he is looking forward to making up for lost time.

“Since we work mostly with international artists, it was very difficult for us to do even the smaller gigs, so we remained totally still for a couple of years,” he says. “Last year, there were limits on capacity – events were only permitted up to 1,000 people, which was too low for us to work. We thought about putting on a special edition, with a smaller capacity, but it didn’t feel right, so we preferred to wait.

“Now we’re excited to go back promoting live music, but we’re excited for the audience as well, because we know that these upcoming events will have a different flavour, it will be like a rebirth in some ways.”

A number of the headline acts for LSF 2022, which will also utilise a second, 8,000-cap venue, had been booked to play two years ago. But organisers were forced to admit defeat in their bid to reschedule a Paul McCartney show, originally slated for June 2020.

“That was a dream we had chased for so many years and we were very close, but unfortunately we had to face the reality of the situation,” sighs D’Alessandro. “We were able to save some of those shows, but it really hurts to to have lost McCartney.”

“We’re trying to expand the festival to a younger audience”

The addition of Bieber signals a change in tack for the festival, which has welcomed the likes of the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Roger Waters, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Tom Jones, Van Morrison, Roger Waters, Stevie Wonder and Ennio Morricone since launching in 1998.

“At the beginning, it was hard to convince artists to choose a small little city in Tuscany over major cities. But now, thank God, sometimes the agent and the artists even ask us to play because word has spread,” says D’Alessandro. “Lucca has always had an adult audience, so we try to book the biggest music legends and give the audience the opportunity to enjoy big artists, who you would normally see in stadiums or arenas, in this tiny square in the heart of Tuscany, surrounded by trees.

“We like to keep this flavour for the festival because we know that the foreign audience loved it. There were cases when the foreign audience was the majority of the audience – with Tom Jones and Van Morrison, more than 50% of the audience came from abroad.

“This year, we’re going to satisfy that kind of audience with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, John Legend or Nick Mason, but we’re trying to expand the festival to a younger audience. That is something we’d started doing in the past – we had Imagine Dragons, Green Day, Queens of the Stone Age. Bieber is probably the biggest around in that specific [youth] market, and we are excited to be chosen among the very few festivals he is playing this summer. For us, it’s a privilege, and we are excited to welcome audience members from every part of Europe.”

He adds: “Also, to celebrate the comeback of live shows, we wanted to have more domestic artists than usual, so we’re going to do six or seven shows with the biggest domestic artists around.”

The LSF team has also announced the launch of new 10,000-cap Tuscany festival La Prima Estate, which will run from 21-26 June. Located just 50 metres from the sea in Bussola Domani Park in Lido Di Camaiore, Versilia, it will host four international artists each night. Headline acts include The National, Duran Duran, Bonobo, Courtney Barnett, Jungle and Mura Masa.

With Italian prime minister Mario Draghi announcing the country will exit its state of emergency on 31 March, D’Alessandro is filled with hope about the forthcoming season.

“We should have full capacity for open air events instantly, so we are very confident that this summer will look like 2019 – at least for open air events,” he says. “We don’t know yet if the green [vaccine] pass will be needed. It looks like it will be needed until mid June but we don’t have certainty on that yet. Of course, we understand that indoor events are the ones at bigger risk, but let’s hope we won’t have any bad variants and the situation will stay under control.”


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CTS Eventim acquires Italian promoter D’Alessandro e Galli

CTS Eventim has bought a 60% stake in Italian concert and festival promoter D’Alessandro e Galli (Di and Gi), in its third acquisition in Italy in the last five months.

The deal follows the acquisition in September of Vertigo and November’s buy-out of Friends and Partners, and “consolidates [CTS’s] leading position in the Italian live entertainment market”, says the company.

“With TicketOne, we have been the leading ticketing provider in Italy for more than ten years,” comments Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, CEO of CTS Eventim. “Now we have progressed, within a very short period, to become the market leader in the live entertainment segment as well. This is a milestone in our internationalisation strategy.

“The Italian market is one of the most diversified and attractive in Europe, and there can hardly be a promoter that symbolises its creativity and vitality as much as D’Alessandro e Galli.”

“There can hardly be a promoter that symbolises the creativity and vitality of the Italian market as much as D’Alessandro e Galli”

Di and Gi, which turned 30 last year, has over the past four decades organised shows by Adele, Justin Bieber, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Mark Knopfler, Jennifer Lopez, Ennio Morricone and Paul Simon. It also promotes the Lucca Summer Festival, whose 20th edition in 2017 was featured performances by the Rolling Stones, Green Day, Robbie Williams and Kasabian.

The company will continue to be managed on a day-to-day basis by co-founders Mimmo D’Alessandro and Adolfo Galli. In a joint statement, they comment: “We are delighted to be part of CTS Eventim from this day on. This provides us with access to the resources of a global player that not only has the most sophisticated ticketing platform in the world, but is also able to organise Europe-wide concert tours. We also have an opportunity to continue our company’s special culture: the interests of artists will remain the centre of focus for everything we do at D’Alessandro e Galli.”


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