It’s tough being a girl. But it’s even tougher being a girl boss and launching a music festival in a country that literally doesn’t run music festivals.
Meet Benedetta Venturini. A permanent resident of Australia, who grew up in Tuscany. She’s also the director of Flash Festival, a music, food and wine proposition like no other. The event not only showcases a carefully curated lineup of DJs focusing on electronic rhythms, soulful grooves and disco beats but boasts activities like scenic bike tours in the countryside and that’s what makes Flash special.
While three-day camping festivals are peppered everywhere throughout Europe, you won’t find any in Italy. Until now.
Think yoga in the grapevines, pasta workshops with Nonna from the village, cheese and wine tastings and a music line up that’ll make Berlin’s coolest musos blush with pride.
This is Bene’s Flash Festival, back from secondment after launching in 2017.
“It’s unique because it connects music to the food and wine world of Tuscany,” Bene told Yahoo Lifestyle Australia.
“Plus, there are no music festivals in general in Tuscany. I mean, no proper two-to-three-day camping festivals. They just don’t get it here.
“But we believe we can create new communities of like-minded people when, in this overwhelming digital world, there is the need more than ever for people to connect with each other.”
After a short hiatus, this year’s event is back and set against the Val Di Chiana Valley (yes, that’s the one Leonardo Da Vinci painted.) This is where punters can sample the region’s globally-renowned gastronomic delights, grab a massage and dance under the Tuscan stars.
“People can laugh, dance and enjoy the beauty and good things of Tuscany and build a strong connection with the land … like the proper Italians like to do. Feel and let it go! That’s why we choose to be intimate with just 1,000 guests. We believe in the festival’s strength of becoming a new big famiglia by the end of the event.”
Flash has partnered with the local council in medieval Castiglion Fiorentino, a darling and untouched town oozing Tuscan charm. It’s identical to the village of Cortona, made famous in the film Under The Tuscan Sun. But what makes Castiglion Fiorentino unique is that it is undiscovered.
Flash kicks off on Thursday, May 16th with an Opening Theatre Night at the local Teatro Mario Spina. A gala-type event in a theatre with aperitivo and live performances from celebrated acts J.Lamotta and James Chatburn.
As well as an official dinner, there’ll be lots of new curated food corners where guests can have a multisensorial experience with local products like porchetta, fresh pasta, pizza and focaccias. Accommodation options are camping, Glamping by Pop Up Hotel or the nearby boutique stays in the village.
In what is an already crowded market in Europe, Flash Festival is an event on the summer calendar that is doing things differently – and weekend passes are only $111 AUD.
Here are four other of the best up-and-coming music festivals in Europe:
Meadows in the Mountains
6-9th June, Bulgaria
Got itchy feet to leave the big city and free your spirit in the isolated mountains of Bulgaria? Put together by a bunch of mates from the UK, Meadows in the Mountains is only physically six years old but has thousands of years of wisdom to impart on us. They offer an eco-friendly form of escapism through music, art and community as they work towards building up business amongst the locals in the remote struggling area of Bulgaria. So let your hair down and let your leg hair grow, and enter a peaceful judgement-free zone where you can enjoy the purer things in life.
Colours of Ostrava
17-20 July, Czech Republic
Colours of Ostrava take a 180-degree turn from nature as it is hosted in a breathtaking industrial park, Dolní Vítkovice. The venue used to be the home of blast furnaces, mines and ironworks. Old buildings and scaffolds tower above you as you groove to an assortment of music from a choice of 20 stages. You can go from grungy dystopia to wholesome family picnic in the blink of an eye, from Midnight Oil to Alt J, from Jamiroquai to Birdy, there is something for everyone.
15-17 August, Portugual
Get to the heart of what music and art is about with Freekuency Festival. Freekuency is run on a pay-as-you-want trust system. Meaning the whole shebang operates on fundraising, donations at the gate and money made through in-festival purchases so that you don’t have to worry about paying exorbitant entry fees. So dig deep with those donations people!
Into the Wild
10-12 May, England
Sleep under the stars or perhaps in a teepee in the woods? Into the Wild is an event that lures people from the city back into nature for the weekend. Listen to ancient ballads, folk music, attend workshops in yoga, bushcrafts, archery and spiritual well being. Dance wildly around open flames and watch people share their passions. Into the Wild is proudly alcohol and drug-free and we dig that. Sometimes you just need to get away for the weekend and frolic under some bunting in a rainbow dress with strangers to feel alive.
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