Sanremo, when the Festival was born

Sanremo, when the Festival was born

Only a few days to go until the seventy-one edition of the Sanremo Festival. To pass the wait, skyrocketing, let's discover the origins of the most famous singing festival on Italian television.

Sanremo 2021, the singers in the competition of the 71st edition

A few days separate us from the 71st edition of the Sanremo Festival, starting on March 2nd. This is, undoubtedly, a very unusual year, due to the restrictions due to Covid-19, which also affected the longest-running television event in Italy. Absence of the public, regulations reshaped in the event that some staff members contract the Coronavirus, and Sanremo red zone are among the main measures taken to ensure that the race can take place despite the pandemic. What will not be missing, however, will be the music, the only true and essential protagonist of the Festival, with as many as 26 singers competing.

Not everyone will know, however, what are the origins of the Italian Song Festival, which was born in 1951 from the mind of the then director of events and public relations of the Sanremo casino, Angelo Nicola Amato, with the aim of increasing the tourism that afflicts the seaside resorts, including the Ligurian town, during the winter. Angelo Nizza, radio host, was a frequent visitor to the Ligurian Casino, and together with Amato decided to give relief to the local economy by creating a musical event. At that point, there was only an agreement with the EIAR of Turin (Italian Body for Radio Auditions) and a widespread diffusion that was able to reach the record companies and the singers belonging to them, who did not take long to arrive.

On January 29, 1951, the first edition of what would become an event capable of stopping Italy every year for a whole week began. Conducted by Nunzio Filogamo, radio presenter known for his characteristic greeting "My dear friends near and far, good evening wherever you are!" and held at the party hall of the Casino of Sanremo, the start of the event consisted of three days in which only three performers competed, who brought a total of twenty songs to the stage. The singers were Achille Togliani, the Duo Fasano and Nilla Pizzi, who won with Grazie dei fiori. To the detriment of what one might imagine, the number one edition of the Sanremo Festival did not achieve significant media coverage and was received coldly by the press and music critics of the time. Suffice it to say that the audience in the room continued to dine immersed in chatter, even during the course of the performances.
Certainly a bizarre situation in our eyes, as the Italian Song Festival is undoubtedly the musical event capable of attracting all the spotlights of the Bel Paese on itself.

Read also

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Tag: Sanremo Festival

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