This week I found myself in the wonderful city of Palmanova, Italy, for the first year of the SuperNova Festival. Palmanova is a magical city built in the shape of a nine-pointed star with a moat surrounding the whole town. The architecture is authentically Italian and the people are warm and friendly. I went over to forge links with the festival organisers in order to bring ACM bands and artists to the festival as part of next year’s line up.
The festival welcomes British acts with open arms and also runs a battle of the bands for local acts to win the chance of gigging in London. To my complete surprise, the Friday night headliners were all ACM alumni! The Greasy Slicks performed a rocking set of high-octane, blues-based heavy indie tunes, and were preceded by the amazing Manchester-based Johnny Lucas. Michael Kilby from the UK was also opening on the bill on the Saturday.
SuperNova festival organisers welcomed the idea of ACM bands becoming a large part of the structure and festival line up, and now I am to work with them to make it into a reality. Italy has always been a fertile ground for young English bands to find success. I left the organisers with a selection of songs to sample the excellent quality of the bands and artists that are coming out of ACM and the projects of our alumni.
While I was there, I was also part of the judging panel for the Battle of the Bands alongside Emma Bartholomew from Metropolis Studios and famous Italian solo artist Omar Pedrini who was headlining the bill on Saturday night.
Having met Omar before, on his TV show in Milan where we made friends, he asked me to get up and play with him on stage. We ended the night with a loud and raucous version of Neil Young’s “Hey Hey, My My” which went down a storm. After that there were drinks at the bar, a late night, an early flight… The rest is history.
Ace is the guitarist in UK rock phenomenon Skunk Anansie. Formed in 1994, they went on to be one of the biggest rock bands in Britain and Europe throughout the 90’s until now selling over 6 million records and doing sellout world tours. They still continue to tour and write new music with their own record label.