What is Umbria Jazz? A thousand more experienced people could answer this question better than me. Most of them are outside my window right now listening to one of many al fresco concerts. (P.S. It’s 12:45am.) But from what I can gather after five days is this: It’s a two-week, city-wide party with over 50 scheduled musicians and countless street performers. The town is packed. The hotels are booked. We met a couple yesterday who arrived with no reservations. They tried seven hotels before finding one that offered lodging (as long as they are willing to change rooms every night). Of course, they accepted. Restaurants are overflowing. And if you waited like we did tonight, you don’t get a table until 10:00pm. The boys were completely melting down until Ray noticed “Nate and the Dagos” playing right outside the entrance. So after eating, we joined the crowd and listened. We had heard them for the first time yesterday from our apartment window. Then today, Tom noticed the lead singer standing by a newsstand and asked him if he was playing again sometime soon. The guy speaks English, and we soon found out he is from Seattle and lives in Perugia. He gave us the location of his early evening gig then offered to meet Matt and the boys for a game of basketball once the festival buzz wears down. Tom was over the moon.
Other Umbrian Jazz details from our perspective: Matt saw a fight during his moonlight concert between 2:30 and 4am last night. Sting plays tomorrow night. The gelato line from out our window is currently 36 people deep. Beer is sold in plastic cups and can be taken to-go anywhere in the city. Apparently, the later the night gets, the fancier the dress code. And finally, if you like a singer, yell, “Bravo.” If you like a band, yell “Bravi.” (Italian grammar fact #1)
Umbria Jazz ends tomorrow night. But there are scheduled bands into the wee hours of Monday morning. (The day isn’t officially over until the sun rises.)