Held since 1973 and one of Europe’s leading jazz events, the Umbria Jazz Festival takes over the Renaissance hill city of Perugia for ten days. It has always attracted big names, including Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Herbie Hancock and Keith Jarrett, together with an audience of more than 200,000 from around the world.
The Umbria Jazz Festival is considered by many jazz musicians and aficionados to be, quite simply the best in the world. The spectacular setting and ambiance of Perugia, the stunning venues like the Teatro Morlacchi and the Giardini del Frontone, the two free outdoor stages, and the world-class talent that assembles every year make it a jazz lover’s dream.
In recent years line-ups have included Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gilberto Gil, Milton Nascimento, Terence Blanchard, Paolo Conte, Vinicio Capossela, Nicola Arigliano, Miriam Makeba, Renzo Arbore and its Swing Maniacs, Sergio Cammariere, the Coolbone Brass Band of New Orleans, Lyle Henderson & Emmanuel Gospel Singers. Along with the always-impressive line up of jazz musicians, the festival welcomes all musical genres – rock and roll, world music, Cuban salsa and African tribal music have all been featured here.
Many performances take place outdoors, including those at the main venue, the 4,500-seat Giardini del Frontone, and Perugia’s picturesque streets and squares host free shows by marching bands and blues, rock and gospel groups.
Festival dei due Mondi
Another popular Umbrian music festival is the Festival dei Due Mondi (The Two Worlds Festival) in Spoleto, which features opera and classical music in addition to modern dance, theatre and other visual arts. The first Festival dei Due Mondi intended to bring together the “new” and “old” worlds of America and Europe. The festival has featured artists such as, Jerome Robbins, the Harlem ballet, Rudolph Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, conductor Tommy Schippers, Anna Moffo, Shelley Winters, Al Pacino, Renee Fleming, Peter Serkin, Sviatoslav Richter, Twyla Tharp and the Mclain Family Bluegrass Singers. The Festival dei Due Mondi takes place each year from late June to mid-July in Spoleto.