Presented at a press conference was the programme for the second edition of the Monopolele Mediterranean Festival, the three-day Tourism Department event dedicated to the ukulele scheduled from 19 to 21 May 2023 in the streets and squares of Monopoli’s historical centre.

Born out of an experiment in mixing public contributors and bottom-up producers, the event will continue to be totally free and non-profit, always aimed at promoting the instrument which will be the all-round protagonist: from street parades to lessons for beginners and experts, from main stage concerts to late-night jam sessions and bizarre orchestral spaces.

There is also a rich offer of exhibitors and stands for the purchase of quality musical materials. Many prestigious names on the program such as Daniel Ho, 6 time Grammy Award winner. There is no shortage of quality Italian names such as the virtuoso Danilo Vignola and unique projects specifically created for the festival.

“We have capitalized on the popularity of the first edition to expand our network of contacts. We travelled to discover the new talents to bring to the stage this year and we are very proud of the reception that the festival and Puglia have found abroad,” declared McGraffio, organiser and creative soul of the Festival.”

The numbers of the first edition were presented: sold out at all the main stage events and an average of 4 overnight stays per visitor during the low season. Figures that convinced other institutions to embrace the project.

“This year we also have the support of Fondazione Con il Sud and Regione Puglia, in addition to that of the Municipality of Monopoli, which believed in us right from the start. We are certain that transparency in the way we proposed and carried out the event is what made it successful. The Monopolele Festival, in fact, is free and non-profit, born from the promotional activities of the non-profit association Voltare Pagina,” with Mauro H. Minenna, confirmed as founder and producer.”

The 2023 festival is also linked to a positive message: ‘play for ukuality’. There is a clear desire, therefore, to involve everyone, not just fans of the instrument.

“The ukulele is an inexpensive and complete instrument, with an cheerful sound, capable of creating an immediate sense of community. In the first edition we saw shopkeepers and residents leaving their businesses to join the musical parade. This is perhaps the best image of our idea of uku-ality,’ concludes Danilo Vignola, a musician who was a guest at the first edition of the festival.

The second edition also includes the active co-participation of the public, both in the fundraising phase, carried out in the previous months on the crowdfunding platform Produzioni dal Basso, and through open-mic moments, to which all fans are invited to register on the official website of the festival, and the jam sessions at the end of the evening, now an essential appointment after the concerts on the main stage.

The main stage will feature a rich cast of performers for this year’s edition, in addition to the previously mentioned Daniel Ho and Fink-Marxer duo. There will be room for the musical-circus proposal of Reggae Circus led by Adriano Bono (former leader of Radici nel Cemento), the show created specifically for Monopolele by the London trio The London Belles with the Ukulollo Power Duo, the unpredictability of Ukus in Fabula, and the return of the virtuoso of the instrument, Danilo Vignola. Serving as “masters of ceremonies” will be two names celebrated by the audience of ukulele enthusiasts: the musician and actress Giulia Nervi and the British Ukulele Uff. Another novelty will be the space dedicated to amateur orchestras, which will come to Monopoli from all over the globe: the Ukulele Tuesday from Dublin, the Roman Orchestra Italiana Ukulele, the Uppsala Ukulikes from distant Sweden, and the Lombardian LeleOrchestra.

The complete program of the festival will soon be available on www.monopolele.com.

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