A folk music festival to be proud of

As the sun sets earlier and the evenings grow cooler, it becomes evident that summer is drawing to a close. But don’t let the change in weather fool you, for the Alta Badia still has plenty to offer during the last few weeks of August. San Vigilio, a quaint South Tyrolean town just north of Badia, is a great example with its annual three day Folk music festival – something definitely worth a nosey.

A charming church and twisting cobbled streets, inviting little cafes and beautiful surrounding mountains welcomed me to the town of San Vigilio. A large banner stating ‘Folk Music Festival’ confirmed my arrival to the right place and already people had started to gather in small groups. Straight away I was astounded by the effort with decoration which beautified the area with colour and personality – creating a relaxing atmosphere beneath the sunshine. Stalls lined the edges offering trinkets from South America, Africa and Europe, most of which were obviously hand-made and unique – temptations to treat myself had already begun. Three bars had been strategically placed and an open stone oven was already heating up ready to dish out freshly made pizza.  Whilst the first band warmed up the afternoon, I took the opportunity to sit on the comfy sofa and soak up the paintings displayed around me.

The church found in the centre of San Vigilio
The evening atmosphere at the Folk music festival


Off on a little exploration around the town, I came across an art exhibition on display in a large wooden barn. Asami Kato, an artist from Japan, had very distinctively presented his sculptures across a large, open room with each piece accentuated by spotlight. I’d never seen anything like it – areas of the Dolomites re-created with resin (or a similar type of plastic) and bold-coloured paints, just superb.

The very familiar Fanes Massif, just one of Asami Kato’s fabulous creations

As darkness fell, the crowd grew in numbers, the beer started to flow and the music turned up a notch or two. Rumba de Bodas, the third band of the evening consisting of six members, dominated the stage with their mix of Spanish and Ladin music. An entertaining combination of piano, drums, percussion, accordion and superb vocals from singer Matilda, had me bopping along to their entire performance, hooked on their every move. The crowd absolutely loved it too – at one point there was one couple doing the tango as another showed off their Capoeira skills!

Rumba de Bodas, energetic and entertaining throughout

After an energetic hour and a half, their music sadly came to an end. Whilst the last band of the night set up, everybody was encouraged to move across to watch two gymnasts strut their stuff. It was hard to find a viewing spot in the midst of so many people, but soon enough the two ladies appeared and began their act. Creating a storyline of two lovers, they performed beautifully up high on the swing as the assembly gasped and clapped with amazement. It was certainly unexpected entertainment that went down well – a perfect time-filler between acts that kept the crowd engaged.

I couldn’t believe that 8 hours had passed so quickly. Although the festival was situated in a rather small area, there was so much going on that I hadn’t time to consider leaving at a reasonable hour. The organisers for this event had done such an incredible job – a large poster full of information supporting a ‘zero impact’ festival had me falling in love with the celebration even more. With an added option of camping for free on a field nearby, I wished I had the time to experience the next two days of music and the awesome festival atmosphere, Italiano style.

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