Preview: Sponz Fest 2019 (Calitri, Italy; Monday 19th to Sunday 25th August 2019)

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More than a festival, Sponz Fest is a cultural experience, or better, a traditional one. The week-long event happening in the tiny hamlet of Calitri in Southern Italy is indeed a back-to-basics adventure, rediscovering the blood and the soul of an almost forgotten territory.

To unearth it, it took one of the most renowned and dedicated sons of that land, Vinicio Capossela. Eight years ago, Hannover-born Capossela, although Irpinian in origin and spirit, decided to undertake that journey and set in motion a festival like no other. Instead of going all out for a stellar line-up and dozens of stages, the Italian singer-songwriter planned for the perfect local journey, an utterly home-grown celebration, still open to and welcoming the world.

As suggested by its organisers, Sponz Fest is what they would like the world to be. It’s what relates us to our roots and memory, and what builds relationships and exchanges. At its core lies music; music in diverse forms and shapes, but with a binding tie to Calitri’s territory. In this way, throughout the days and nights of the festival, Vinicio Capossela will be accompanied by locally, nationally and internationally renowned artists. From American singer-songwriter and guitarist Micah P. Hinson to Neapolitan dub legends Almamegretta, from rebetiko tradition bearers Dimitris Mystakidis and Manolis Pappos to Southern Italian folk musicians Ars Nova Napoli, everyone will be aiming to create a bond with the Sottaterra (underground), where roots (natural and cultural) dig in and spread.

That’s why Sponz Fest is also itinerant. It doesn’t seclude itself in Calitri, but branches out to nearby towns, villages and lands. It scatters sounds, stories and dances, so everyone can benefit from, share and contribute to them. That’s why, today, Sponz Fest has truly become the festival like no other that its founder was dreaming of.

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