The 2017 edition of the Italian electronic and experimental music festival FAT FAT FAT run by the Italian collective Harmonized Soundsystem has again exceeded all expectations. From August 4-6 we experienced the mix of musical quality and an unbelievable setting between the historical piazza of the medieval town Morrovalle and a beautiful old farm site in Corridonia, on the Adriatic coast of Italy. This festival convinced in his only second edition with a high-end line up including the likes of the Yussef Kamaal Trio, Nightmares on Wax, Funkineven, the incredible Jayda G or the producer-collector Awesome Tapes from Africa. Continuing on this track it will be no wonder to soon find the FAT FAT FAT among the best-curated alternative electronic music festivals in Europe.
At the beginning of August we were thus on the way to experience the event, that was going to take place in the beautiful landscape of the soft hills in the East-Italian region Macerata, which in 2016 was hit by a disastrous earthquake that destroyed many homes and historic buildings in the region. The festival organisers surprised with their social engagement by offering an opportunity for the festival invitees to make a donation to a local NGO active in the direct assistance to earthquake-victims.
On Friday afternoon we finally arrived with a very friendly Blablacar driver at the small town of Corridonia, were we settled at the camping ground situated at the local swimming baths. After making first contacts with other festivalgoers – mainly very nice Italian people that were surprised seeing a couple of people from Madrid coming over to this rather secluded and hidden festival – and having a fresh vino frizzante at the camping bar, we soon headed by car to Morrovalle where the opening concerts would take place (the locally organised bus collectives were only running on Saturday+Sunday).
Friday 4th: Opening with Raffaele Costantino, Yussef Kamaal and Fatima & The Eglo Live Band
The first night and opening concert of the FAT FAT FAT 2017 brought the festival already up to the level of what could be expected during the following two days. On the historical piazza in the centre of Morrovalle, surrounded by a 17th century Church and beautiful buildings, the organisers set the stage with a decent lightshow and well-balanced acoustics. While some festivalgoers who had previously bought their tickets had to queue up to get their wristbands, we could enter quite easily and soon started to enjoy the mixture of beats of the eclectic Italian producer and Dj Raffaele Costantino (Alias Dj Khalab), followed by the South-East London Yussef Kamaal Trio with their nu jazz, funk and electronic sounds, that offered a mind-blowing live performance playing some of our favourites from the Black Focus album. We were especially impressed by the fabulous drums from the head of the band, Yussef Dayes, and the keys and synths sounds by a new band member a that joined in after Yussef and Kamaal William’s (originally on the Rhodes) separation. The closing act was the London-based Swedish Neo soul and hip-hop artist Fatima accompanied by the Eglo Live Band including a wide range of musicians from various drums to sax and keys. Besides performing some beautiful tracks like “I can do better”, she presented some new stuff, a little bit more in the R’n’B corner, and finished the first night with an impressive solo of “Rest in peace” that even got standing ovations. This opening night in the historical Morrovalle gave us an excellent first taste of the upcoming festival experience, and towards 2 AM everybody slowly moved to their apartments, hotels or the camping ground in order to get a rest from the ferocious heat (nearly 40°C!) and get ready for the next day.
Saturday 5th: Nightmares On Wax, K15 & Alexander Nut, Omar S, Steven Julien aka Funkineven and many more…
The weekend started after a short and hot night with a delicious cappuccino e cornetto at the camping bar, after which we headed with some friends we made the night before to the beautiful beaches of Portonovo, only a 45 min ride away from the festival area. The concerts would only start at 5 PM, which is why we had a long and relaxing beach day in front of us where we could gather all our forces for the upcoming night.
The main festival took place at the “Grancia Sarrocciano”, an old farm site with a wide courtyard and green gardens. The concerts were divided across two stages, the main stage being situated in the spacious courtyard and a smaller and more intimate one surrounded by trees, green grass and nearby food and drink trucks that cared for everybody’s wellbeing. One interesting thing is that the second year edition of the festival wanted to give more space to the Italian scene and local artists, who would mainly play at the small stage called “Il giardino della Sgugola” (the Sgugola garden).
During solid 12 hours from 5 PM to 5 AM, we had the pleasure to listen to the likes of Stump Valley, Nightmares On Wax, Nu Guinea, K15 & Alexander Nut, Mark De Clive-Lowe, Steven Julien aka Funkineven, Discodella, Franco B, Dj Iommi, Native and the incredible Omar S. Our personal Saturday highlights were a couple of local artists on the small stage who really freely played whatever they wanted. First, we got caught by the genuine disco, nu-disco, world-ethno and eclectic electronic sounds from the Naples-formed but Berlin-based duo Nu Guinea. They surprised us with a very well curated selection of never-heard Italian 70’s disco sounds and a feeling that made us take off our shoes and relentlessly dance around barefoot in the cool grass. After their beautiful set (sadly we missed the quality of K15 and Alexander Nut), we went to the main stage and hardly moved from there because since Mark de Clive-Lowe took the stage, THE place was converted into a warm and beautiful spacecraft. It was our second time seeing Omar S performing on stage – and still he is one among the best you can find in the Detroit underground. He played some tracks from his latest album “The Best!”, but also some from his other Lp’s every time going with great transitions But not only that, he went from gospel samples to disco to raw house in a special way that convinced the crowd that was dancing like there was no tomorrow. The closing of the first night made the London producer and selector Funkineven aka Steven Julien who released in 2016 his quality album “Fallen” and kept the crowd in movement with an energetic and terrifying selection consisting of house, melodic and very much danceable techno to some high pitch disco.
Thanks to the relatively intimate festival setting with certainly only around a thousand festivalgoers, the stages were always full by people seeming to really enjoy the music and the experience – the FAT FAT FAT crystallising thus as a very valid alternative to all those immense festivals were you have to choose between, say, 8 stages and you actually would love to see all of them… But this was thankfully no problem at the FAT FAT FAT, since it would only take you a short hop to see what was going on at the other stage. Saturday night ended to the relief of all with slightly fresher temperatures and a satisfaction that let us fall into a short but restful sleep.
Sunday 6th: Harmonized Soundsystem, Awesome Tapes From Africa, Jayda G, Moodymann…
On Sunday evening, after another relaxing but incredibly hot day at the beaches south of Civitanova Marche, we were again ready for the second and sadly last night of the 2017 FAT FAT FAT edition. After dancing to the opening set from the festival organisers Harmonized that went from a very fine soul to a amazingly elegant old school house, we could hardly await the tape-collector and record label owner Brian Shimkovitz aka Awesome Tapes from Africa. As we know it from him from previous encounters, he convinced with eclectic but more edited-sounds of African gems that many of us never knew existed. The following b2b by the Panorama Bar/Berghain resident Tama Sumo and the Italian producer Volcov was a nice transition to the more electronic rest of the night. But then we headed again to the more intimate local spot to see what was going on – and we had an incredible blast! There was this guy, Raffaele Costantino, doing a very eclectic set once more. From classic jazz to raw funk to Nigerian vibes to reggae to roots cumbia, he got the crowd dancing like in trance. Chapeau for Raffaele! Then the record label Wah Wah 45s owner Dom Servini dropped as well some cult and rare tracks that kept us another while at the garden.
However, we really wanted to enjoy for the first time Jayda G, and so we headed to he main stage for the rest of the night. The crowd was more than warmed up when Tama Sumo and Volcov left the stage, and the magnetic Jayda G didn’t disappoint. Some weird, sensual and punchy house (all at the same time) made us feel blissed and get ready for what was going to be the absolute ecstasy of the night, the Detroit house producer and selector Moodymann aka Kenny Dixon Jr. As we know it from him, he convinced with his peculiar DJ set. With his mask and the microphone always within reach, he surprised the crowd not seldom with an eclectic mix between house, soul, techno and musical rarities, dropping tracks as stunning as “Come Together” by the Beatles or the Mario Basanov track “We Are Child Of Love”, finishing the night – and with it also the festival – by dropping the “Blue Monday” hymn by New Order and sharing vodka sips to the exhausted crowd. What a dude!
Monday 7th: Closing L’ammazzacaffè @ Gergo Lounge, Morrovalle
Unfortunately, we could not make it to assist at the closing party of the 2017 edition that took place on Monday evening at the Gergo Lounge in Morrovalle and where the organisers, the Harmonized Soundsystem, and Lakuti performed while the people could relax at the pool and enjoy their drinks listening a last time to the sounds of this year’s FAT FAT FAT. To get some idea of the closing event just have a look at these pics.
All in all, the 2017 FAT FAT FAT edition was a success and left us with a big and satisfied smile on our face. We are convinced that also the rest of the festival crowd is like us very looking forward to attend the 2018 edition that surely will offer another unforgettable experience. Besides the initial waiting line at the opening concert, the public transport that for those who arrived without a car resulted both expensive and somewhat complicated, and the harshness of the security personnel at the end of the night, we don’t have anything to complain – the FAT FAT FAT 2017 was a blast. You could clearly see that the organisers knew exactly what they were doing when selecting the artist for their festival, with a certainly critical eye and a lot of musical experience, reuniting people that really seemed to be there for the music. The East of Italy really is beautiful!