If there wasn’t enough reason to love La Distesa more than I already do, Musica Distesa was the perfect reminder of what I love to live for. Three glorious days of food, wine, friends, art, and of course: MUSIC.
For those who need a little crash course reminder of what Musica Distesa is, it is a music festival that takes place in Cupramontana, Italy at La Distesa (the agriturismo/winery I used to live at). Since Corrado makes wine and his brother Giuliano is a successful and wonderful musician, AND they both love nothing more than food/wine/music: they created Musica Distesa.
It started 10 years ago with a single small plywood stage in the back of their garden, and has grown to a much bigger production (see the video below)! Still a relatively small festival (I think we had around 600 people this time), but to me it’s the perfect size. You don’t feel stretched in choosing which performances you want to see, because you can see it all! And it feels more like an elaborate party with friends celebrating all the good things in life.
It’s a festival created for the people by the people. Even some of the band members came early to help set the festival up, and it was like working with one giant family. My first night I arrived around 11 p.m. and in the darkness I was greeted with cheers and clapping (they were all so excited to have someone from Seattle at their festival).
I spent all three days working in the bar and or helping cook food for the staff, but it never felt like work at all. I spent so much time laughing and learning, it was everything my heart needed. The food! The people! The wine! I have missed La Distesa more than I knew. We stayed up late sharing stories, dreams, inspirations, and dance parties. I never wanted it to end. Even though my body was exhausted from not have more than 3-4 hours of sleep a night for almost a week, I haven’t felt that alive in so long. I even met the new family dog Patsy (after Patsy Cline of course).
It was tremendous to see old friends and see where everyone was in their lives. Silvia and Alessandro had a baby boy, Cesearo, who was cute as a button I can’t believe I didn’t get a photo! Too busy pinching cheeks I suppose. Giovanni had a girlfriend and he bought a house near his vineyard and they both lived together. Daniella was still Daniella, the always smiling and perfecting grandma. Marco closed his micro-beer shop in Jesi and opened his own brewery called Jack Rabbit! Roberto and Stefania broke up but his new girlfriend seemed really nice and awesome. It warmed my heart to see everyone move forward with their lives, but it also felt strange. Experiencing home in Italy was different this time. It was similar to feeling like when I first came back from traveling. Somehow, it felt like I was caught in between two worlds that have moved on without me. I wouldn’t expect people to stay the same and not grow in the past four years, but somehow I still felt surprised. Eventually, I let this thought wash over me…spending too much time in my head is dangerous.
The first day of the festival, it was pooouuuring down rain. The crew had put together this huge 60 x 80 tent (or something like that) in anticipation of the rain. But it did not put a damper on any of the festivities. The music and readings went on! I stayed hidden in my little bar truck serving wine and coffee.
The thing I love most about Musica Distesa is the variety of performances and presentations. The music varied from classical guitar, to alternative rock, to electronic dance music. There were book readings, wine tastes, a photography gallery, art installations, and even the children set up their own little stand selling drawings and pendants they made (of course I bought some to take home). You have people from all different ages and backgrounds, coming together because there is a little something for everyone. And with only one main stage, you never have to choose between acts!
Crappy phone photo but I love this one of Valeria and Corrado.
It’s not everyday Italy’s latest heart throb hangs out with you and your dog before a performance.
The children’s sign for their stand. Translated, it means the casino. hahaha.
Giulia made this little copper star pendant, so naturally, I had to buy it to keep it forever! The kids were so inspired by all the music they worked on this all weekend!
The remaining days of the festival was nothing but FULL SUN. One of my favorite parts of the festival was the wine and book presentation of “Vini e vinili”. Which is basically Wine and Vinyl. Each bottle of wine presented in the book was paired with a record to listen to. It was MOST excellent. It reminded me of Maiale Volante, the chef that pairs recipes with records as well.
As if Italy couldn’t get more romantic, sitting in the grass outside an agriturismo with a book author and a winemaker, tasting wine and lecturing…life just doesn’t seem real.
The photography gallery took place in one of the old garden sheds that was fixed up to accommodate the art. It featured work from a photographer who captured the aftermath of the recent Italy earthquakes. Many of the farmers who lost everything were friends or colleagues Valeria or Corrado knew, and the exhibition was to bring awareness and raise money to support these farmers.
By the third day, it seemed everyone was dragging. LOTS of folks ordering coffee. I had gotten just a couple hours of sleep after Alessandro and I stayed up till sunrise talking about dreams and what it means to live a meaningful, authentic life, learning to work with our hands, and build and grow with a community…ahh I love Italy.
These amazing women!!
The highlight of the third day of the festival was the special blind wine tasting presentation. A famous wine journalist came in to walk people through a special blind tasting. The reveal at the end was the best part.
Once again I feel like I’ve stepped into a fairy tale. There is still something so magically wonderful about watching Corrado taste wine. I don’t know if it’s his long curly hippie hair, or his funny facial hair (how the grey barely ages him), but it is something I have always been fascinated with. I don’t know how many millions of photos I must have taken of Corrado smelling wine, tasting wine, but it’s a photo I love capturing every time. It’s most magically when he is at the cellar tasting his wine as it ages, but it still seemed magical being that the tasting was at his own home. This series with him and Valeria are my favorite. Their love is so overwhelming, it feels like they have enough love that could blanket the world. If they did, we would all be much better off.
God I love Italy. I love La DIstesa.
This is the photographer of Terra Moto.
The last performance of the night, was a sort of comedic performance. A satiracal actor and two chefs. One preparing food in the traditional italian way, the other preparing the food in a “punk” method (modern and edgy is what I think they were going for).
The end of the night was celebrated with yet another large meal and then ALL THE WINE.
We did it! With only ONE corkscrew, we were still able to serve 600+ people. 🙂
Afterwards, everyone jumped into the pool. The Italians thinking this was completely asinine and crazy, me thinking, “uh I feel like I just jumped into warm bath water..” I got a pretty good chuckle making fun of the guys for being such weenies about jumping into the pool. It’s all about perspective though right? I love jumping in and swimming in alpine lakes and the Puget Sound. These guys only go swimming if it’s over 90 degree outside. They all thought I was part polar bear or something. In the end, Lisa, Giulia, and I were the only girls to jump in. Heck yeah.
Alas, when our last family meal was served at lunch the following day, I had to say goodbye to all the WONDERFUL people I met over the last few days. It broke my heart a little, but I was also looking forward to spending more time with Giacamo and Giulia and the family one on one and what else Italy had in store for me this time.
Now…how do we get Heels to the Hardwood over there?
Watch this awesome video that was created capturing everything this year: