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August 13, 2007

{     Traffic Torino Free Festival     }    

Summer! Lovely crazily hot season populated by mosquitoes and other lovely critters. I love you. Also because summer happens to be the season of the music festival of long standing European tradition (and more recently exported to North America to cash your bucks).

Glastonbury, Roskilde, Benicassim, Wertcher, Sonar... and the city ones: Rock En Seine, Lovebox, Marsatac... All the best indie/electronic/punk rock (and just a neglectible minority of boring pop) packed into 3 or 4 intense days of listening, rain (Glastonbury) or shine (Benicassim).

These festivals move tens of thousands of people, from inside and outside the contry and basically each one promises to be a great experience and source of fantastic memories. Does it not sound like a fairy tale? It is in fact. The reality is that to attend Glastonbury and to have the priviledge to have your tent swept away by a mud flood or to camp on the beach in Benicassim and to collect adventurous stories of how absolutely everything was stolen from your car (including the wheels and the engine) you have to fork out something around 160-190 euros (with current exchange rate about 250 USD). Plus transportation to-and-from and food on sight (you cannot take your own food in), of course. It is a pretty expensive affair, without a doubt.

Ok, so in the "upcoming" summer of 2008 be smart and head to Torino (city of the last Winter Olympics), Italy, for an absolutely free and amazing 3/4 days festival: big names, superb organization and will not cost you a penny. The past editions had wonderful programmes: last year Manu Chau, Gogol Bordello, Franz Ferdinand and The Strokes played for free. The year before it was Aphex Twins, New Order, Cocorosie, Bright Eyes and in 2004, together with !!! and Felix Da Housecat, Iggy & The Stoogies magically appeared.

This year the programme was just as worth: Lou Reed presenting a new and rare performing of Berlin, followed by LCD Soundsystem and Daft Punk on the second night (no joke! amazing experience to see them play on the same stage), to end with Art Brut, The Coral and Artic Monkeys. Anthony And The Johnson was the last international act on the bill. All free. Not every one of them may be your cup of tea and I don't fancy Monkeys myself... but even if you are not a super fan of any of them, at least it wil not cost you to see them on stage. And if this was not enough, the city offers to travellers who register by time, not only a free local transportation card but a museum card as well with free entry to any cultural institution. Just to keep you entertained during the day.

Not only the city is beautiful, made entirely of palaces from the 1800 placed on a streets grid very easy to navigate , but it has a cool Museum of Cinema, an impressive Egyptian Museum, a couple of Royal Palaces and even a ferry along the river.

No camping here: this goes under the category of city festival, but even at the last minute the local hostel had space. But what's even better is that locals are very hospitable and are able to offer you a bed if you ask nicely on Free. And save the saving for something else.

By Tacita in Singles

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