The 66th edition of the famous Sanremo Festival is upon us. This song contest and awards show is a competition between some of the best Italian musicians competing to win the Lion statuette, the most prestigious award for musicians and performers of Italian music.

These five days of entertainment, culture, and music ends this Saturday, February 13th, when the awards will be given out and the grand finale will take place.

 

Photo Credit: Panorama

 

The origins of the Sanremo Festival date back to post WWII, when the local government aimed to revive tourism in the Ligurian coast. Thus, in 1950 the first Italian Song Festival was broadcast live on radio. However, only after 1954, when the awards show was aired for the first time on TV, did it become very popular. Since then, it has become an event of culture, tradition and entertainment.

 

Photo Credit: Singer Adriano Celentano at the first festival, via Repubblica

 

In the months before the festival, a special committee selects a number of new songs by Italian composers which will be eligible to take part in the competition.

During the 5 nights of the festival, the songs are voted on by juries and the public, and the three most voted songs will awarded titles in the main section, usually referred to as the Big Artists section, and in a category of lesser-known performers, the Newcomers section.

In addition to the contest, the evenings of the Festival are packed with special guest appearances that have helped to make the event famous, both in Italy and abroad. This is also largely due to its airing on Eurovision, an international group whose function is to regulate all of Europe’s radio and television broadcasting.

 

Photo Credit: Panorama

 

This year, the international guest stars to make an appearance so far were Elton John, Australian actress Nicole Kidman, French rapper Maître Gims,Gabriel Garko, actor and director Marc Hollogne, and Donatella Versace.

If you love Italian culture and music, the last night of the Festival is a must-see, because as the Italians say, “There is nothing like San Remo!”

 

Photo Credit: Ansa

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