Voghera Country Festival 2017

Interview mit Giovanni Citarda

Giovanni Citarda - kurz Gio - ist der Veranstalter des Voghera Country Fesivals. Wir haben uns mit Ihm über die Entstehung und über die Entwicklung des Voghera Country Festival unterhalten:


2017 is a special Year for you and Voghera Country Festival, because you celebrate 10 Years!!


Can you tell me something about you, your intension to do the festival, your favorites about the festival at the beginning, your favorites now?


GIO: How did I come to VCF organization? Certainly for a mistake J It's a joke, It all came from my passion for country music and Line Dance (when I was young I was a dancer, now just only a two steps) as well for my friendship with Carlo Riccardi, the Owner of the Cowboys' Guest Ranch, venue to the Festival.



Can you tell me something of the beginning? Does it start as big as it is, or does it grow up with the years? How changes the location? Do you have pictures from the first Festival?


GIO: This year the VCF is officially at the 10th edition, a big goal, but it was born as Independence Day at least a couple of years before. It's a country party that takes place at the Cowboys Guest Ranch, a bit lame and small in the Palatexas alone. Finally, in 2008, the turnaround: the organizers decided to take a big step and to call for a first time in Italy a great American star of country music. It 's precisely from this date that we begin to count the issues of what from 2010 leaves the name of Independence Day to become the Voghera Country Festival


The following artists are:


2008 Michael Peterson


2009 Billy Dean


2010 Aaron Tippin


2011 Lorrie Morgan


2012 Terri Clark


2013 Pat Green


2014 Trent Willmon & Keyleigh Leith


2015 Laura Bell Bundy & Aly Cook


2016 Phil Vassar


2017 Joo Dee Messina & Jessica Lynn




Since 2014 we have decided to give even more "weight" to live and so on Friday he doubled with other major stars even less well-known in Italy: Kayleigh Leith from Pittsburgh and in 2015 Aly Cook from New Zealand (CMA New Zealand winner in 2012) This year Joo Dee Messina & Jessica Lynn, simply the top!




The public's response comes almost immediately, thanks to the well-known formula that mixes live music with dancing. The Tacchino Hat Dance Trophy has accompanied us since the first edition, then The Best of The West Catalan Cup in 2014 and now the BlackSnakes Dance Off. There are so many teams in the competition with the spirit of pure fun and the desire to be together. The Voghera Country Festival see fans comes from all over Europe: from Italy, of course, and then from Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Austria, France, Hungary, Sweden, Danmark but also from the rest of the world. We have visitors from the United States, from Ukraine and also from Egypt, Argentina and Brasil !!




As for the artists present at the festival, they have always been very interested in our culture and art. They wanted to visit Milan with its charms and art, always being impressed especially by our food !!


Obviously the historic site is the Cowboys' Guest Ranch of Voghera, the only resort in its kind ... never change the venue! The Palatexas, home of rodeo, the Cowboys Saloon where to enjoy frozen beers by listening to the live music, the restaurant where to eat excellent Tex-Mex cuisine, the Hotel with the western themed rooms each with the name of an American State, the western store where to buy boots, hats, equipment ... in short, which most suitable venue for the most popular country event in Europe? (Although it is not for me to say this)







Can you tell me, how many people works on it at the beginning? How many people are working with you this time to do this very big festival?



GIO: Oh yes, fundamental and organizational decisions are taken by a very small group of people. We are currently in 6 of which only 4 are present in the 1st edition.


The soul, mind and body of the VCF is Carlo Riccardi, owner of the Cowboys' Guest Ranch, who has been surrounded by valued collaborators. Then a lot of people work for the Festival, work is really a lot and great, and we work all year for this 3 days of the festival!





How many visitors did you have at the first Festival? How many visitors you will have this year?



GIO: We have 3500-4000 visitors on average, but we hope to do better this year





You always have specials like Concerts, Workshops at your festival. How do you select them?



GIO: With hard work and much commitment. Frequent emails and phone calls, seeking the best





Can you tell me something about the Cowboy Land?


GIO: Welcome to Cowboyland, the only western theme park in Italy. Are you ready to discover the old wild west?


Cowboyland is an ideal place for families to spend an entire day in the fun activities dedicated especially to the younger ones.


Cowboys and Indians will be in your company for a serene outdoor outing in contact with nature. An extraordinary opportunity to get to know also many animals that populate the prairies and ranches of the United States of America.


The park is spread over an area of 30,000 sq. M., But it is never a problem to orient yourself. Designed simply to facilitate small guests, it includes a single main road linking all attractions and buildings made of natural materials. Numerous picnic areas where you can enjoy a snack or simply rest in the shade.


"Cowboyland" has studied and developed a number of attractions in the most distinctive "western style" thinking of the fun of children without, of course, neglecting all the security they need.


Many of the children that visit us have never seen a cow, a donkey or a turkey! In "Cowboyland" will finally be able to see a great deal of animals, including several species living over the ocean, and at the same time learning how and where they live. In addition, assisted by the staff and with the help of a series of descriptive signs, they will discover the lives and traditions of Indians and cowboys alongside the legends of the old wild west.


Everyone in the saddle ... starts the adventure!





There are a sort of Concurses at Voghera Country Festival….many People comes on Sunday to dance there with their Groups.


Can you tell me about the different Concurses? Can you tell me about the different Styles of Dancing?


GIO: Three are 3 main competitions: the "Tacchino Hat Dance Trophy", "The Best Of The West Catalan Cup" and the "BlackSnakes DanceOff".


In the "Tacchino Hat Dance Trophy" people dance traditional Line Dance, "The Best Of The West Catalan Cup" is danced with the well-known Catalan Style, - All choreographies must be invented, new, never danced before.


The "BlackSnakes DanceOff" is an elimination competition on three mixed choreographies. Everything especially for fun !!!


The names of the races come from our sponsors: Tacchino Hat, The Best Of The West, BlackStakes and this year there will be a special prize offered by Country E ...


And don't forget the free photo competition: the 6th edition. All info on the website www.vogheracountryfestival.com or on the facebook page





In the last years, there are dancing more and more Groups with a number of 100 People of the Concurs, what do you think about this development.

GIO: It's simply amazing to see these groups over 100 ... boots and hats ... an ocean of hats !!! Amazing!!!





The most known group at the concurs is United Country from the choreograph Adriano Castagnoli. Can you tell me something about it?


GIO:I believe it's a beautiful initiative, to join people from many European Countries under the same name! Adriano had a great idea and the great ability to accomplish it! And we are honored that they have chosen the Voghera Country Festival for their performance! Yes, it's really a big honor for us!


But we never forget all the other dance groups and schools! The Voghera Country Festival is all of them !!





Can you tell me a story, you think about, what´s happened during this years you do the Festival….a very special moment for you?



GIO: Charming stories? We would have a lot to do with American singers, but are things that for fairness cannot be told, there are indelible memories in our minds. However, I can tell you about Aaron Tippin that before becoming famous with country music was a trucker and in his music he never misses mentioning it, so he bring a truck trumpet into the festival ... and during the soundcheck he was worried that this would work better rather than the sounds of his band? It was difficult for us to recover a compressor to make it work, but when we did, he was happy as a child ... and then, can you imagine him flying with that little gadget? Ahahhah Anyone really nice, available, no "first woman" (protagonist) ... people like us !!! Even Trent Willmon on Sunday evening while in the PalaTexas there was no one and the exhibitors were dismantling the stands, he wanted a bottle of Jack to drink  with us and make "four words" with the exhibitors, willingly willing to make photo remembrance and then he go to the saloon to play with Vince Moreno and the band that was playing at that time ... everything beautiful !!! Great moments and great emotion !!!


But for me, the most beautiful moment is monday morning, the day after the festival. I come to the Palatexas and I sit down ... silence and the chaos of the past few days. Another Voghera Country Festival has passed ... I hope in a job done well, all happy, joy, emotions ...


Thank´s Gio for the Interview! See you soon!





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