The Festa and the Island

The Cultural Association “Festa del Fuoco-ONLUS” was created to promote and encourage different kind cultural activities related to the arts on the island of Stromboli. All its members have an historical and profound personal connection with the island. Our first goal is to continue the project of our friend Gusti Shuldes – died in 2015 – who made Stromboli a meeting place for fire and flow artists, jugglers, dancers, sculptors and musicians from all over the world. Through his passionate commitment, he founded the Festa del Fuoco and Stromboli has, since 2008, become home and inspiration for the celebration of the element of fire and the many ways we creatively interact with it as human beings.

Now as then, the main aim of the Association is to keep on developing Gusti’s project, letting his vision resonate in the next editions of the festival as well as in other artistic projects. Since 2014, “La Festa del Fuoco di Stromboli” Fire Festival has become a biennial festival with a duration of 10 days. 

Headquarter of the Festa is the “Parco Parco”, a beautiful garden equipped with a wooden stage of 100 mq, located just under the siege of the Volcano, as it is the whole life of the island. Parco Parco is a space for cultural gatherings, art events and education programs. Here, we host and organize those cultural activities that are capable of interpreting the values of the association and of creating new synergies in the island. 

The Festa celebrates the fire as a primordial element and it does from an island, where the fire is the perfect symbol. With its heart of fire and its active crater, Stromboli is the predestined place to host an event that has at its core the exploration and exchange of the Fire Arts’ knowledge. 

For many years with commitment, Gusti has designed, organized and directed the annual “Festa del Fuoco di Stromboli” Fire Festival, producing incredible choreographed performances, fire shows and harmonizing the human relationships among very different people, cultures and worlds. From 2008 until today, the Festa has grown so much that has become an unmissable event and – above all – an “island’s event”, actively involving the local population in its realization. 

 

The Festa

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Stromboli is the primary source of inspiration for our Festa. During the 10 days of performances, we celebrate the fire, the most primordial element manipulated by mankind. The manipulation of fire is surely one of humanity’s outstanding qualities, as well as one of the earliest abilities to distinguish us from our animal companions. With its heart of fire and its active crater, this island is the predestined place to host an event that has at its core the exploration and exchange of the Fire Arts’ knowledge.  

 

All the artists of previous editions have shown a thousand of creative and spectacular ways to deal with this element. Thanks to the essential nature of the Festa, many artists inspired by our volcanic land have artistically grown through the years, spreading the energy of Stromboli around the world. Moreover, the Festa had a great impact on its land too: many young islanders, who didn’t know the art of fire previously, have become fire artists taking part to the fire workshops and performances during the Festa.  

Today, the association keeps on looking for new encounters and new inspirations, capable of revealing the mystery of the fire. Our aim is to continue to discover new perspectives that can stimulate the collaborative spirit of the Festa.

 

In fact, in addition to a full program of performances by the artists and troupes presenting their choreographed productions, here new collaborations grow out of improvisation and coincidance as the artists collectively create a Great Ensamble for the final and original performance, which is dedicated to the island of Stromboli and the friends of the Festa del Fuoco.  

Festa del Fuoco 2012
Festa del Fuoco 2012

Another important side of the Festa is the workshop series for children, held by the participating artists, allowing local and visiting children to get involved in exploring physical movement and creative expression.

 

The Festa enriches the local cultural life and creates an additional motivation to visit the magical island of Stromboli, not only for its natural beauty and fascination, but also to attend innovative and mesmerizing performances, to enjoy the spirit of celebration and to feed the eternal fascination with the element of fire. The cultural contribution of the Festa lies also in its ability to bring new points of view, worlds of wonder in every corner of the island. 

Fire

The element of fire holds an ancient fascination, the ability to control it is nothing but a process of transformation often connected to rituals and ceremonies. The ever-changing aspect of the flame has entranced mankind since its earliest days, huddled around the tribal camp fire as a source of survival. Today’s fire arts are a fusion of elements from many traditions.

Most of the tools used in fire dancing today have their origins in the world’s martial arts (staff, poi, clubs, swords or whip), or in the performance arts (fans and hand candles). The Festa del Fuoco di Stromboli wants to create a platform, extending beyond street theater into the realms of performance art and theatre in its broader sense. 

The island

Stromboli is a volcano in almost continuous eruption for the past 20,000 years. This pattern of volcanic activity called “stromboliana” has been maintained since. Eruptions occur from the summit craters, typically result in a few second-lasting mild energetic bursts emitting ash and lithic blocks up to a few hundred meters in height, while lava flows do occur less frequently. Stromboli has been inhabited since prehistoric times and until the end of the 19th century sustained a population of around 4,000 inhabitants, with its economy mainly based on farming and fishing. At the beginning of the 20th century, the island experienced a decline due to a combination of historical, natural and social developments, leading to the emigration of the majority of the population to Australia and the Americas, leaving the island nearly deserted. 

In 1949 Roberto Rossellini chose Stromboli as the location of his film “Stromboli – Terra di Dio. This brought renewed attention to the exceptional island and gave rise to its new economy, based mainly on seasonal tourism. Due to the lack of a naturally protected harbor and fresh water, Stromboli has remained somewhat distant from mainland Europe, Italy and Sicily, keeping a distinctive wild flavor all its own and a simple lifestyle. The fire, core element of the island, aims through the Festival to make a boon out of the very limits the island imposes, transforming these latter into great opportunities with respect and love.