Pistoia Blues Festival

A lot of exciting live concerts in summer's most anticipated music event


The Pistoia Blues Festival in Italy is one of the most loved and anticipated events by the Tuscans and the fans of the genre. Do not worry if you do not belong to either category: the music is always waiting to be heard by new ears! If you're travelling and want to do something unexpected pay attention to the lineup of the Pistoia Blues Festival and you will see that there will be names known to you too.

If you are passionate about music or if you are a musician, even a budding one, then you should not miss the artists of Pistoia Blues! Each year the stage is visited by legends, suffice to say that at the opening of 1980 BB King was present!

If you are curious you can retrace the history of the PistoiaBlues Festival and note that each edition was rich in international names and exceptional stars… Do not be upset if you missed Ben Harper or Mark Lanegan in past years: plan your summer in Tuscany to attend one of its most interesting events.

The Pistoia Music Festival is an exceptional event dedicated to the genre of music that has influenced rock music of all time. For three days in July you can vibrate your mind on the wave of poignant blues guitars and amazing voices!

Pistoia Blues Festival

First of all, for those unfamiliar with the Pistoia Blues What is the blues?

THE BLUES. The Festival of Pistoia in Italy is a direct and pleasant opportunity to discover this kind of music which, as you will see, has popular roots and a secular tradition. The term blues indicates a melancholic mood: in English the expression 'to feel blue' means just feeling down in the dumps and melancholic. A more dramatic expression to which the term refers to is also 'to have the blue devils' where again the connotation of blue colour indicates sadness and suffering. Where does this melancholy come from?
The blues originated by the songs of African slaves who worked in the cotton fields of the southern states of the United States in the period before the Civil War. The inhumane living conditions to which they were subjected to and the total absence of freedom were helped by community and spiritual singing. Topics covered in the texts of blues were linked to poverty, racial discrimination and to the love of God and every emotion was declared with great intensity and verbal singing.

When, thanks to President Lincoln, the end of slavery was finally reached, the song tradition joined the use of initially some poor instruments like banjo and harmonica and later the guitar which took on a key role for the success of this musical genre. Throughout the 20th century, the blues has never stopped evolving and began to be loved and played all over the world.

From a technical perspective, the blues is characterized by a repetitive structure and the use of 'blue note' or a diminished fifth interval that, according to the traditional rules of harmony, would create a dissonance.
Many styles of music that have formed in the 20th century have been strongly influenced by this genre and mixed with jazz and ragtime: to them we owe the presence of rock'n roll, hard rock, hip-hop, rhythm and blues and even heavy metal! That is why you will see that among the artists of Pistoia Blues there will be names that are part of both the blues and other genres: despite labels and technical disquisitions one cannot always confine musicians to a single musical family!


ONCE UPON A TIME. The history of Pistoia Blues Festival Italy sees the succession of interesting artists and events in a crescendo of music and more and more addictive collective sharing. This event was once called 'Bluesin' and saw its debut on the Tuscan landscape in 1980 with the presence of outstanding names like BB King, Dizzy Gillespie and Muddy Waters.

The Pistoia Music Festival is organized by the Pistoia Blues Association and the City of Pistoia in collaboration with the Region of Tuscany.

Typically the number of nights of the program of the Pistoia Music Festival starts with a minimum of three, however there have been special editions with six evenings such as in 1995.
Like other major festivals in Tuscany (such as the Lucca Summer Festival and Lucca Comics), the Pistoia Blues went through a period of financial crisis and the fate of this great musical event dedicated to blues music were not clear.

With the 1988 edition the situation recovered and the blues festival in Pistoia, Italy hosted international artists including the great Stevie Ray Vaughan. From that 'good year' the Pistoia Blues continued to attract more and more spectators without ever disappointing expectations. Great names such as: Chuck Berry at the Pistoia blues, Frank Zappa, Jimmy Page, Carlos Santana, Van Morrison, Joe Satriani, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, David Bowie, Robert Plant. Notforgetting Italian artisits: Roberto Ciotti, Zucchero, Pino Daniele, Franco Battiato. Surely you must have at least one of their records in your car!

As you read, the organizers of the Pistoia Blues Festival do not limit its program only to blues music, the important thing is that great talents can trigger the deepest emotions of the audience at the Pistoia blues festival line up. For more than thirty years this city has offered a cascade of notes that has shaken even the most reluctant person to rhythm and emotion.

The festival atmosphere at the Pistoia blues Festival location is worthy of the best summer holiday: relax with a cold beer, succulent sandwiches, feverish enthusiasm of fans, a gorgeous setting directly donated by the city of Pistoia ... well, nothing is missing except your presence!

We bet that your wife was fixated with the style of Patti Smith and the unmistakable and poignant voice of Janis Joplin ... or perhaps you were passionate about these two artists, too? On the other hand, who has never felt this way at the age of twenty-five: ‘time keeps movin’on,/ friends they turn away. I keep movin’on/ But I never found out why / I keep pushing so hard the dream, I keep tryin’ to make it right/ Throught another lonely day’. Do you recognize yourself in these words? Nobody can sing and interpret them like Janis...
Remember that blues can surprise you and talk for you and your thoughts when you least expect it!


PISTOIA MUSIC FESTIVAL SURROUNDINGS. Pistoia is transformed during the festival and enriched by the presence of side events and guests from around the world. Each year the organization enables upcoming bands to participate in a contest in which they can demonstrate their skills. The most convincing performance allows the group in the contest to play during the festival and be able this way to perform on one of legendary stages of the Pistoia Blues!

Another opportunity offered to young recruits of the Pistoia Blues are the training workshops. Under the name of 'Clinics', for some years, the Pistoia music festival has organized intensive guitar courses and for vocals, bass, drums and other instruments by choosing a theme that will inspire and guide the lessons of young artists in training.

During the concerts of the Pistoia Blues there are often interesting exhibitions organized in honour of the great names in music and events dedicated to blues of local and emerging performers.


WHY PARTECIPATE IN THE PISTOIA BLUES? Do you need a reason to listen to music? Or to see live great performers and musicians of international fame? During your tour of Tuscany, there lies ahead an opportunity to participate in a wonderful event: the Pistoia Blues Festival, in fact, is one of the most important blues festivals in Italy and in Europe! Performances that take place during the various evenings are often special and unique moments where collaborations or covers are played of great songs of the past which are released in new versions.
Furthermore, the scenario of Piazza del Duomo will leave emotions and precious memories on you.

The Blues will enter into to your emotions and innermost feelings. You cannot escape the call of the notes! Blues music is made of improvisation, hope, imagination, contrasts, political protest, tempestuous love, suffering, salvation and liberation. Many have defined this genre as a cathartic act both for those who play and for the listeners: the pains of the soul are loosened and raised high due to the miraculous effect of music.

The Pistoia Blues will offer moments of lightness and pure music, even if you are not in anguished, you will be in connection with your strongest feelings and in sharing with a crowd of fans and listeners in ecstasy!
If you're travelling with your family, you can make your children appreciate the roots of modern music and infuse a sense of depth that only this art can convey so well and in an immediate way.

One more reason to make a stop in Pistoia and the blues festival in Italy is the fact that you can easily travel to the nearby towns and nature areas. The day after the concert you could choose to visit Lucca or Florence, or opt for a day at the spa in Montecatini! You will see that in addition to the beauty of Pistoia there are many routes to follow to enjoy the surrounding Tuscan territory.
Do not forget the Pistoia mountains! In summer it is great if you want to find a bit of fresh air and trails for hiking.


So, are you ready to live cathartic experiences in the name of the blues and beyond? Ready to rock out with the best guitarists of our time? Ready to pay homage to the greats who have disappeared and to remember their best songs? Ready to compete with other fans who sing louder and to remember the lyrics in English? Ready to make friends with the group next to you and share the same enthusiasm and the same thrill in seeing your idol? Ready to devote romantic song to your girlfriend and get lost in the waves of music with her? Ready to forgo the photos with your phone and enjoy the evening without much thought? Ready to make your daughter dance to the rhythm of rock 'n roll?

If you answered 'yes' to at least one of our questions, you cannot miss the concerts of the Pistoia Blues Festival in Italy! Do not forget to bring comfortable shoes for dancing and remember that no matter who you are and what you do for a living because, as the Blues Brothers sang......: ‘everybody needs somebody / everybody needs somebody to love / someone to love’

Then, come on, free your soul and be enchanted by the rhythm of the blues.


By Insidecom Editorial Staff