…March, April & May: Popfest Preview: Roma Popfest

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I’m going to let you in on something I’m not especially proud of – I had no idea Roma Popfest existed until a few months ago. Awful, right? Where have I been? The U.S., I presume – that faraway land where we are quite removed from so much.

Now that I’m aware of such a great event, we want to share it with you! The women behind Frigopop are also responsible for Roma Popfest. Their reasoning couldn’t be any better: As their website suggests, “there is a Popfest in New York and one in San Francisco, another in London, Berlin, Madrid. Why not to Rome?”

As you will read, the 2014 edition will be the fifth year for the Rome festival, occurring on 16 and 17 June at Traffic Live Club and Le Mura, respectively. This year you can expect a mixture of folk, synthesizers, dreampop, and even a band labeled as “swaying palm trees” via Google Translate. I’m on board, what about you?

1. Can you give us a history of Roma Popfest (dates, previous organizers involved, etc.)? How and why did you come to be involved?
The first edition of Romapopfest took place in 2010, and there have been one every year ever since, so for next June we’re preparing the fifth edition! At the beginning we were five girls organizing pop concerts and dj sets in Roma, and we just thought it was a good idea to create a popfest in the city; we started to work on that. Since the third edition, three of the girls left so now it’s just me and Priscilla De Pace, but we’re often helped by friends.

2. What is the process of choosing bands like? Do you contact them or do they have to apply to play? Are there any rules as to who can or cannot play?
There isn’t a specific rule, we just try to combine our preferences to those of our audience: we contact the bands but sometimes we might also accept applications. Unfortunately, indiepop as a genre, is not very popular in Rome, so usually we have to cross out some bands we really like but who won’t bring any people to the show. That is why we often focus on Italian pop bands; they’re really great, even though they might not be very popular outside our country. If you need some examples, go check Green Like July (they’re playing this year’s Popfest!) Brothers In Law, His Clancyness, Dumbo Gets Mad and many others … Anyway our headliners this year are The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, I think you might know them … 🙂

3. What has experience taught you when it comes to organizing Rome Popfest?
Free drinks for bands, as well as balloons on the stage, are never enough.

4. When does organization start? Is there a timeline you follow? How soon after the festival ends do you begin to plan the next one?
We usually begin six months ahead. There’s isn’t a specific timeline, we’re quite unorganized. But we know the things that have to be done so we just try to do that in time for the shows!

5. Do you have any inside tips for festival goers?
Festival totebags are always amazing and very cheap, so buy them! Let the festival atmosphere follow you during summertime.

6. What are some of the best and worst Rome Popfest moments you can remember?
I think one of the best moment I can recall is the first edition, 2010. The response we had has been amazing, people were really very happy to be there. 

The worst moments were probably those spent working hard to hand out flyers and to build stage designs with our own hands….!

Thanks, Frigopop!

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The entire lineup (including biographies), ticket information, directions to the venues and more can be found at the Roma Popfest website.

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