"The Duran Duran concert in Taormina will be the most important event of
the Teatro Antico season, and given the magic of the place this show will be something unique, it will be totally different from the other dates of the tour"
Carmelo Costa, local event organizer
 
Carmelo Costa is the most important concert and event promoter in Sicily since 1976 . In career spanning 40 years he has organized or produced 5,500 performances. Since 2012 Costa is the National Vice President of Assomusica and is the head of Musica da Bere Srl, specializes in the production, distribution and show organization .
From Sting to Peter Gabriel, from Santana to Bob Dylan... the list of events organized by Carmelo Costa is so long ... he can now add our Wild Boys. On the occasion of the Duran Duran special concert in Taormina, we took the opportunity to interview him.
Fin dal 1976 Carmelo Costa rappresenta il più importante promoter di spettacoli in Sicilia. In 40 anni di carriera ha organizzati o prodotto 5.500 spettacoli. Dal 2012 Costa è il Vice Presidente Nazionale di Assomusica ed é a capo di Musica da Bere Srl specializzata in Produzione, Distribuzione ed Organizzazione di spettacoli.
Da Sting a Peter Gabriel, da Santana a Bob Dylan... l'elenco degli eventi organizzati da Carmelo Costa è lunghissimo... adesso si aggiungono alla lista anche i nostri Wild Boys. In occasione dello speciale concerto di Taormina dei Duran Duran, abbiamo colto l'occasione di intervistarlo.

salvo@duranasty.com | Duran Duran are coming back to Sicily 29 years after the historic concert at La Favorita stadium in Palermo. The Taormina concert opens the Italian tour, the only European country where the British band is taking the Paper Gods tour this year. Are you aware that you made possible an event of international interest?

Carmelo: The Duran Duran concert in Taormina will be the most important event of the Teatro Antico season, and given the magic of the place this show will be something unique, it will be totally different from the other dates of the tour. We are receiving requests for tickets from abroad: June 5th will be a good opening of the Summer Season.

How came the idea of having Duran Duran at the Taormina Greek Theater? It was your initiative or the band's management?

Carmelo: I chased the idea for a few years, this time the opportunity given by Live Nation Italy was too good that I couldn't miss it, even though the date is not in the central part of the season.

It is said that Taormina was supposed to be included in the band's 2012 tour, according to these rumors the show faded away because of complex bureaucratic process to access the wonderful venue.
Early this year, January to be exact, the local press reported on the difficult and complicated negotiations to define the program of the theater and its concession to the likes of Duran Duran and Sting. Why is so complicated for artists and promoters to access the Greek Theatre?

Carmelo: Bureaucracy is the cancer that destroy every aspect of the business in Italy, and in Sicily is even worse. We talk with people who have never seen a concert in their lives and have no idea what it means and the huge interests, economic too, that a show brings to the territory.

Unfortunately it's all ignorant and arrogant people! This year they have scuppered many big names. We managed to save the Duran Duran show, and some other like Robert Plant and the italian band Negramaro. Unfortunately they require increasingly high costs for both the structure and the logistics so we are forced, against our will, to raise the prices of tickets.

"Taormina has a natural setting where the scenery is made by 4000 years of history, and this causes many restrictions and changes in the stage setting, but in the end the shows are absolutely enriched with all that is around"
 


What major problem have you encountered dealing with international artists and especially with this event?

Carmelo: The main problem dealing with international events of this caliber is the geographical position of Sicily. Unfortunately we are at the bottom of a funnel and the travel times of the Artist's equipment force the crew to stop one day before and one after the show. This increases the cost of the whole thing and not all shows become feasible. In the case of Taormina the beauty of the place play a big role and it's obviously part of the game, but it is never easy!

Did you get any special requests from the band's management on the stage setting up, the lighting or the security measures?

Carmelo: Taormina has a natural setting where the scenery is made by 4000 years of history, and this causes many restrictions and changes in the stage setting, but in the end the shows are absolutely enriched with all that is around. Next week our technical managers will begin to work to the band's requests. [Ed. the interview was released last month]
 
Has anything changed in Sicily from the 80s on the supply of international musical events? How did you contribute with your work to this change and what kind of fallout is expected from this particular Duran Duran event?

Carmelo: In a 40 years long career I have organized more than 5,500 events, both big and small. Compared to 80s we are in another world. There is much more professionality and nothing is left to chance!

In so many years even Sicily has changed and, no false modesty, I believe I have contributed to this change. International Artists always manage to catalyze an audience from a wide catchment area, filling hotels, restaurants and generating bussiness in the local economy. Too bad this is not recognized by those who govern us!
 
So many years working in the show business as organizer and producer, is there a particular show you are more attached to?

Carmelo: I can't name just one event: Vasco's mega concerts with 40 thousand people [Ed. Vasco is an Italian artist], but also the great foreigners who always give an extra adrenaline charge!

salvo@duranasty.com | I Duran Duran ritornano in Sicilia dopo 29 dallo storico concerto alla stadio La Favorita di Palermo. Il concerto di Taormina, tra l'altro, apre il tour in Italia, unico paese europeo nel quale la band inglese ha deciso di portare il Paper Gods tour quest'anno. É consapevole di aver reso possibile un evento di interesse internazionale?

Carmelo: Il concerto dei Duran Duran a Taormina sarà l’evento più importante della stagione al Teatro Antico, e vista la magia del luogo sarà una cosa unica, assolutamente diversa dalle altre tappe del tour. Stiamo ricevendo richieste di biglietti anche dall’estero: sarà un ottima apertura il 5 giugno della Stagione Estiva.

Come è nata l'idea di portare i Duran Duran al Teatro greco di Taormina?
È stata una sua iniziativa o del management?


Carmelo: Inseguivo l’idea da qualche anno, l’opportunità data da Live Nation Italia l'ho presa al volo, nonostante la data sia al di fuori del perodo clou della stagione.

"Taormina è uno scenario naturale dove la scenografia è fatta da 4 mila anni di storia, e questo provoca tante restrizioni e stravolgimenti nella scenografia degli spettacoli, che però alla fine si arricchiscono di tutto quello che c’è intorno"
 

Alcune voci riportano che giá nel 2012 Taormina fosse una tappa contemplata nel tour dei Duran, la data sembrerebbe poi sfumata a causa del complesso iter burocratico per accedere alla splendida venue. Anche quest'anno, nel mese di gennaio, la stampa locale ha riportato di difficili e complicate trattative per definire il programma del teatro e la relativa concessione di spazi ad artisti del calibro di Duran Duran e Sting. É davvero cosí complesso ottenere questi spazi al Teatro Greco?

Carmelo: La burocrazia è il cancro che sta rovinando ogni settore dell’imprenditoria in Italia, ed in Sicilia è ancora peggio . Parliamo con persone che non hanno mai visto un concerto in vita loro e non hanno idea di cosa rappresenti e quale indotto anche economico porti sul territorio. Purtroppo è gente ignorante ed arrogante! Quest’anno hanno fatto fallire molti grandi nomi. Siamo riusciti a salvare la data dei Duran Duran, e qualche altra come quella di Robert Plant e dei Negramaro. Purtroppo ci impongono anche costi sempre più alti sia delle strutture che della logistica e siamo obbligati, nostro malgrado, a mettere prezzi alti di biglietti.

Quali sono le maggiori difficoltá che ha riscontrato nel trattare con artisti internazionali ed in particolare per questo evento?

Carmelo: La difficoltà maggiore nel trattare eventi internazionali di questo calibro sta nella situazione geografica della Sicilia. Purtroppo siamo in fondo ad un imbuto e i tempi di percorrenza delle attrezzature al seguito degli Artisti impongono un giorno di fermo prima ed uno dopo. Questo fa aumentare i costi e non tutti gli spettacoli diventano fattibili. Nel caso di Taormina ci giochiamo anche la bellezza del posto, ma non è mai facile!

Ha ricevuto particolari richieste da parte del management dei Duran Duran relativamente all'allestimento del palco, all'impianto di illuminazione o alle misure di sicurezza?

Carmelo: Taormina è uno scenario naturale dove la scenografia è fatta da 4 mila anni di storia, e questo provoca tante restrizioni e stravolgimenti nella scenografia degli spettacoli, che però alla fine si arricchiscono di tutto quello che c’è intorno. La prossima settimana i nostri responsabili tecnici cominceranno a lavorare alle richieste del gruppo.
[N.d.A. l'intervista è stata rilasciata il mese scorso]

E' cambiato qualcosa in Sicilia dagli anni 80 ad oggi rispetto all'offerta di eventi musicali di respiro internazionale? In che modo pensa di aver contribuito con il suo operato a questo cambiamento e che tipo di ricaduta si aspetta da questo particolare evento?

Carmelo: In 40 anni di carriera ho organizzato più di 5.500 spettacoli, fra grandi e piccoli. Rispetto agli anni ‘80 siamo in un altro mondo. C’è molta più professionalità e nulla viene lasciato al caso! In tanti anni anche la Sicilia è cambiata e, senza falsa modestia, credo di avere contribuito a questo cambiamento. Gli Artisti internazionali riescono sempre a catalizzare un pubblico proveniente da un vasto bacino di utenza, riempendo hotel, ristoranti e generando una economia indotta sul territrorio. Peccato che questo non venga riconosciuto da chi ci governa!

In tanti anni di operato nell'ambito dell'organizzazione di eventi musicali, qual'è quello a cui è più legato?

Carmelo: Non saprei citare un solo evento: i mega concerti di Vasco con 40mila spettatori, ma anche i grandi stranieri che danno sempre una carica adrenalinica in più!

z




If you read Italian you can download a scan of the above article here



Translation of the article appeared on the local newspaper La Sicilia | It was May 28, 1987, the Palermo stadium was still called La Favorita, and the entire city was on fire for the English band Duran Duran; this summer they return to Sicily, on June 5th, at the Greek Theatre in Taormina. More than a band a monument to music, able to cross decades selling 100 million records and making fall in love new generations of fans.

A band that was able to combine a sublime musical quality to the growing fanaticism that back in the days surrounded the band, becoming a reference point for many new artists.
A thirty years long career has not touched the spirit of these old lions who are still ready to roar. We've just spoken with Nick Rhodes, long time keyboard player of the band, who apparently really loves Sicily!

Back to Sicily after 29 years from the historic concert in Palermo. What are your memories of that day?

"I remember that we were excited when we arrived in Sicily to play that concert. At first, we were escorted by the police and almost hidden, we were disappointed because we wanted to visit Palermo and some other wonderful places. Then, before the concert, they invited us to eat something, and I can assure that I had never eaten so well in my entire life.
Then we went on stage and it was amazing, there were so many people that security went mad. The audience was amazing, it was a great concert, we received a very warm and affectionate welcome".








Did you ever come back to Sicily?

"I tell you something: my girlfriend is Sicilian! So I came here many times. I love Sicily, for its culture, people, history, warmth and certainly for the food!
I was also in Taormina a few years ago for the Patti Smith concert. [editor note: 31 July 2013]
The place is wonderful, probably the best in the world of its kind, together with the Arena in Verona. I could not be more excited to come to Sicily."

How is playing live the songs from your latest record "Paper Gods"?

"We are proud to play these songs all over the world, because for me Paper Gods is our most modern and daring album of the last two decades. The audience is becoming more and more fond on the new songs, when we play them they stand up and look enthusiastic, this tells us that we got it right with the album!".

It must be difficult to create the concert setlist, with so much music available.

"Don't tell me! It's really difficult because we have to enclose all our artistic path in a two-hour show. There are songs that people pretend to listen, the audience is really demanding, so leave out certain songs is never an easy choice, there is always someone who's not going to be happy. But this shows how much the audience is tied to our entire discography."



What's your secret to remain united and continue to make music after all these years?

"First of all a lot of patience, understanding the needs of each one of us. But the most important thing is the passion for what we do together. There's a fantastic cohesion between us, something really unique. This pushes us to be curious and to open ourselves to new paths to follow.
Innovation and change are essential, but at the same time we want to preserve our integrity, the roots of the early sound, although modernized".



After all, to attract new fans you need to keep up with the times. What's the feeling during concerts facing both, adults and teenagers?

"It's great to have an audience as diverse. Being on the track for more than 30 years we have seen so many generations of fans. As musicians we feel the need to communicate with people, music has to be a connection between individuals of all ages, and we are really grateful for this mixed audience, people who has been following us since the beginning and young people who have just recently discovered our music."

Young people have probably got to know you thanks to the Internet. What's your relationship with Internet and with this new way to divulge music?

"Internet is an extraordinary innovation. In 1997 we were the first band in the world to sell a song on the web [Electric Barbarella], well ahead of iTunes. Internet is great because allows communication across the world, you can buy, play and share music freely, of course there are also negative aspects, because everyone can access music for free on the Internet and emerging artists really make so much efforts to move forward but often they don't even manage to make a second album because of the money. The offer has expanded so much, therefore, for new bands is difficult to emerge from all this material available online.
The artist's work, in terms of profit, should be better recognized on the existing platforms, it's important also to find new ways to encourage those who are just starting. "

What can we expect in the future from Duran Duran? There are already new projects in the pipeline?

"We don't like to make plans, we are more like chaotic and creative. It depends on the period and our feelings, sometimes we make decisions at the very last minute. At the moment we want to focus on tour world tour, but certainly there are new surprises coming. Meanwhile I have been working for nearly five years on a musical with our bass player, John Taylor, and next year could be ready. In general, as a band, we always keep busy trying to be active, we are happy that way."

 

5 June Taormina | Teatro Greco Di Taormina
7 June Roma, Rock In Roma | Ippodromo di Capannelle
8 June Verona |
Arena Di Verona
10 June Firenze | Ippodromo Visarno

12 June Milano, Forum di Assago

 

 

 

 

 

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Special thanks to La Sicilia, Carmelo Costa and Musica Da Bere srl.

 

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