I arrived just in time to catch the closing two dates of the 7th annual Bande A Sud festival.
My friends in Trepuzzi, just a stone’s throw from Lecce, started the festival - whose offerings are free - out of a desire to acknowledge the southern Italian tradition of big band, public performances in public squares.
The tradition arose out of the belief that culture should be accessible to those who couldn’t afford to see culture in traditional venues (like theatres).
Bande A Sud grew out of a grassroots approach; although the program culminates in the summer with a full program of almost nightly events, it is now a year long commitment. It has grown to include events for children, music students and the approach has been adopted in other southern Italian towns.
This year Bande A Sud plays an important part of a wider adopted initiative- Il Suono Illuminato -which offers similarly themed events in nearby towns, extending the reach and accessibility throughout the summer months.