Monday, 18 June 2012

Montelago 2012

“2012 was meant to herald the end of the world, but we would rather pronounce it the 10th anniversary of the Montelago Celtic Festival.”  (Artistic directors and chief organizers Maurizio Serafini and Luciano Monceri.)

OK, if there wasn't a MCF this year, it probably wouldn't literally mean the end of the world, but for the developing Montelago community, who start looking forward to it the moment the last one has ended, it would be more than a big disappointment. Thankfully for the many thousands that fall into this category, it isn't a factor, and as  with each edition, it's going to be bigger and better this year, as the anticipation reaches its crescendo on August 3rd and 4th.

Aside from the now customary high-class acts on the main stage, a second more "intimate" venue has been created - the Mortimer Pub, which will feature main stage acts in the afternoon (& the morning on Saturday), and continue until the big boss gets going around 9pm. The full programme will be posted in a subsequent blog post, but for those that are impatient, you can go to the festival website (in Italian) and check it out ( Suffice it to say, though, that following on the knockout success of Hevia, Kila, and Berrogüetto in past editions, this year's headliners the Peatbog Faeries and the City of Rome Pipe Band are sure to live up to the standards everyone's come to expect.

The established favourites will once again be available - Celtic games on Saturday afternoon (tossing the caber, stone-throwing, and tug o' war), traditional dance and music workshops, fantasy literature presentations, a Celtic village, beer and food stalls, and the unusual (for this area) and engaging 50-plus stalls of Celtic crafts and curiosities, amongst them the Tolkein tent.

Following on from last year's inaugural 7-a-side rugby tournament, this year's edition (held on Saturday 4th) is open to women (definitely worth a visit), there's a photography competition, and the heart of the festival - camp city - will enjoy a modicum  more of orderliness with demarcated sites and "street" divisions. Most importantly, for personal comfort, a "refreshing point" will offer the cool spray of tranquil water for the dog day heat of August.

Getting there will also be easier this year, with buses organized from the Le Marche Adriatic coast, Florence, Siena, Perugia, and arriving trains in the Umbrian town of Foligno. Specifics will be detailed in a forthcoming blog.

But to wind up this post, let's not forget the primary motivation of putting this whole thing together - the Montelago community. Over to Maurizio and Luciano: "For the past 10 years, young people have been meeting here to share a smile and a beer, and to dance until dawn to the mellow tunes of the harp. It’s a testament to their attitude and sense of community that in ten years we haven’t had a single unfortunate incident. In today’s world of crisis and financial constraints, it’s a challenge to put the festival together, but it’s for these young people and their spirit that we work hard to ensure not only its survival, but also its success.”

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