Over 40,000 visitors to the Porretta Soul Festival 2023 –

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Thirty-fifth edition Porretta Soul Festival, which took place from 20 to 23 July 2023.in Porretta Terme, a resort town in the hills between the Bologna and Pistoian Apennines, ended great success with the public and a record number of visitors.

Photo by Giorgio Barbato

Over 40,000 people in fact, they took part in concerts and related events. Great guests like octogenarian Bobby Rush (2 Grammy legend, Blues Hall of Famer, six-time Grammy nominee), John Nemeth (multiple Blues Music Award winner), The Blues Paddlers (Samuel and Davis), Charlie Wood, Katrina Anderson, The Norman Sisters, Curtis Salgado, Robin McKell, Mighty Mo Rogers with Sax Gordon, The Commitments Tribute with Eamonn Flynn and Conor Brady, from The Commitments Original Soundtrack and many more. New recordings include such prestigious names as MonoNeon. Duane Thomas Jr. is an American bassist and experimental musician from Memphis, Tennessee. He is known for having millions of YouTube subscribers and was one of the last musicians to work with Prince. Grammy Award winner for his performance on Nas King’s Disease 2020 album. Flea of ​​the Red Hot Chili Peppers called MonoNeon “the greatest fucking electric bassist ever”. On November 1, 2022, Fender released the MonoNeon collection.

Significant words were delivered by the Consul General of the United States of America, Ragini Gupta, who was present at the last evening, who stated: “Soul is the most American music we have and this festival is considered one of the most important in the world.” He also said that from next year the American consulate will sponsor the festival. Applause for a great chef Massimo Bottura, awarded on stage at the Porretta Soul festival for his social activism. He and his wife co-founded Food for Soul, an association that promotes food waste culture and fights world hunger. The cultural project also encourages private and public organizations to create canteens for food recovery around the world. Graziano Ugliani, patron of the festival promoted by the Emilia-Romagna region, presented him with a plaque of honor “for feeding the soul with music and food”.

The evocative atmosphere of Porretta Terme became the venue for the event, together with the Street Food Village in the historic center, offering street food with special attention to the typical products of the Bologna Apennines. All this in the context of concerts of rhythm and blues bands, which from 11 am performed on the stage of the Rufus Thomas Cafè Stage in the central square of Piazza della Liberta. Also in Porretta, to create and make it even more of a “city of the soul”, Rufus Thomas Park, via Otis Redding, a bridge dedicated to Solomon Burke, and a series of 14 murals that tell the story of the soul. The last one, built during the festival, 19 meters high, was opened by the mayor of Alto Reno Terme in the presence of the protagonist, to whom it was dedicated, saxophonist Sax Gordon. The film “Journey of the Soul” is available on RaiPlay, which tells the story of Porretta’s Soul Festival, broadcast by RAI5 also these days.

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