Prior to having a booking agent, I booked a show in Italy. Since I was doing all the correspondence myself, and because I don’t understand Italian AT ALL, a few rather important details were lost in translation.
When my parents and I arrived in Italy, we were greeted at the airport by Rio, our driver, who took us to the festival site located in the woods of Courmyure. It was there that I first met the festival staff.
From the moment I got out of the car, there was a special feeling in the air. Everyone was eagerly working to prepare for the following day, and yet no one seemed stressed. It was quite the oposite; everyone appeared to be so happy! Everyone was wearing interesting combinations of clothing: plaid pajama pants with patterned shirts, sweaters, and most of them wore an array of colors that I couldn’t normally imagine wearing side by side; however, here in the woods, it almost seemed to compliment the free-feeling gypsy vibe.
As I walked, observing the scenery, it seemed a bit odd to me that people’s faces would “light up” as I passed. They would came up to me and nervously introduced themselves, saying how happy they were that I was there.
“Oh… I’m happy to be here too.” I’d reply. I wasn’t sure why they were so excited, but I was extremely flattered.
It became more and more apparent that people knew who I was. As I walked through the camp, people would do a “double-take,” then nudge their friends and point in my direction. People were constantly running up to me, asking politely to, “Make a photo,” with them or to give them an autograph. It made me feel like a celebrity lol! There were several instances when I walked by a group of girls and they literally began to jump up and down and squeal with excitement. It felt so unreal…”Why are these people so excited to see me?” I asked myself. ”I’m just a ‘YouTuber….’”
After we met the staff, Rio drove us back to the city. As we passed through the town, we saw posters for the festival posted everywhere. To my astonishment, they were GIANT posters… of… me? I pulled out the festival brochure they had given me, and sure enough…I was on the cover. I decided that either all the other artists in the festival had faces like Quasi Modo that were unsuited for publicity…or I was the main event.
‘No,’ I thought…’There are tons of bands…there is NO WAY I am the headliner.’
However, the next morning I spoke to the event coordinator…and sure enough, my theory was confirmed.
“Si, I found you on youtube,” he said, “and you were the first artist we hire for this event. Then we planed the whole thing around you.”
WOW…I had assumed that I was just one of many openers for this festival, and yet…I was supposed to be the star of the show? It was the weirdest feeling, and as much as I tried, I just couldn’t force the reality of it to sink in!
The next morning, festivities began. The woods were now much more crowded with campers prepared to participate in the festivities. Some were wearing the same random mixed-matched clothing I’d witnessed
earlier, while others were historical re-enactors garbed in traditional Celtic wear. (All I knew is that I
REALLY wanted a pair of those “Aladin” pants that everyone was wearing! (I eventually found some.)) There were now thousands of people, and yet I could feel that same special, peaceful feeling floating through the air. The air not only felt fresh and clean, but there was a contagious aura of positivity that was almost tangible. Are Italians always this happy?
Later I met fans who had come from as far as Switzerland, France, Germany, Poland, Holland, Southern Italy and even London…just to see little ol’ me? I couldn’t believe how devoted and excited they were, and it made me that much more excited to give them an amazing performance. Let me just say that “good vibes” can work wonders for the violin!
When it was finally time to return to the United States, I didn’t want to leave! I met some of the kindest, most genuine people I have ever met in my life and made some amazing friends. I left feeling very humbled, and honored to have shared my time in Italy with some of the most amazing people I have ever met. Thank you to all of my fans in Italy who made my first trip to your country so amazing! I will see you again soon!