When we found out that we were going to live in Ferrara we started googling! One of the first things we found was the Ferrara Busker’s Festival. We were so excited and we had not even been to Italy yet.
Then we arrived in Italy and we go to go see this world famous Busker’s Festival and it exceeded our expectations. There was so much to see and do! We got to walk through a beautiful city, right outside our front door and hear music from around the world. Nathan had done lots of investigating online and near the end of the festival he spotted the director walking through town. Nathan started talking to him. He tried some English and we tried some Italian and in the end, the director was in a hurry and just gave Nate his phone number to call him another time.
6 months later- Nate called Stefano. Nathan practiced all Italian sentences before he made contact and Stefano’s first questions was- how did you get my phone number. But once we all met, we became instant friends. We feed them American food and they feed us Italian food. If you have read my previous blogs, you have probably heard about our adventures with our Italian friends.
After all that planning, it was now time to perform in the Busker’s Festival. Nathan and Justin practiced together the whole time Justin was visiting. Nathan also practiced with Stefano many times to prepare for a special performance. Nathan had to learn some electrical engineering to get some amplification for the performances. It was time to go out for the fun part and just sing!
The first performance was actually in a local bar in Ferrara. It was country night at Lobo Loco- our favorite Ferrara bar. It was fun to have an Italian planned country night- when we arrived, music was playing, there was a flag on the wall and a bail of hay in the middle of the floor! That is some fun décor!
Nathan and Justin played for hours and they did a great job. I even got up there and sang two songs with Nathan. All our friends were there and it was a great night.
Starting the next afternoon, Stefano called Nathan for help with several events throughout the festival. He was called upon to run a sound system for a man who was teaching kids to play percussion using and easel, paper and buckets for drumming. It was chaos- but it was cute.
It was time for the big night. They did not find out what location they were playing in until about 6:00 PM that evening and we headed there to set up around 8:00. It was what we thought would be a great location. It was in the large piazza next to the duomo in front of the bookstore. It was a very central location with lots of traffic.
We arrived to setup and people were already lined up waiting to hear music. The festival was very tightly run and we knew they had to wait until their assigned start time to begin. Everything was going great and it was beautiful evening.
The singing started off great, until their sound system overloaded and quit. It was just a few lines into the first song when this happened. They had set up and practiced several times so they were surprised to have this occur. After a few resets and a few repeats we thought we had a pretty good setup. We had to adjust the volume and the output. It was finally running well- at least for a little while.
The location that we thought was awesome was actually very difficult acoustically speaking. They needed the volume from the sound system. Throughout the night the system kept kicking out. I got good at resetting it.
They were singing great but they were a little stressed out. You could hear it in the music. I wished that they could have relaxed more and had more fun instead of worrying about the sound system.
Overall it was a successful night. They had fans watching. They had some hippies hang out. What more could you want from a night! I thought they did great, but that sound system problem really put a damper on the fun for the evening.
We took everything home and we had all day to figure out what we could do to make the sound system work better. Nate figured out how to wire two batteries in series to get a little more power for the system and we also mixed all the levels to help not overload the inputs. For an acoustic musician- he did a great job.
It was time to go again. The Sunday performances were earlier so we headed out and wheeled the cart of equipment through town to the next location. Moving that cart was an adventure of itself.
As we walked one of the performers ran up to the cart and stole our rug! He was funny and it unrolled it and hung out for a while. It was cute- he was like a plain clothes clown. He only played with us for a minute or two but it made trip through town fun!
We got to our location and Nate proceded to setup the crazy electrical things required for the sound system.
I love their official sign.
It was on a busy but much smaller street. We all realized right away that the acoustics were great! We put out the rug and the took off their shoes- yep they played barefoot. The sound system was holding up much better, but still kicked off a few times. Overall they were way more relaxed and they did such a great job with the show.
This was their last performance for just the two of them. Performing in the festival and performing for three days straight was actually extremely taxing on them. It was far more work than any of us realized, but it was awesome. It was worth it. Now we were going to have a chance to enjoy a night or two of the festival.
It was an excellent experience and so wonderful that it all happened right outside our front door!