The Italian music and food festival landing in Melbourne

March will see the first Taranta Festival come to Melbourne. What inspired you to bring it to Melbourne and where did the idea for the festival come from? Taranta Festivals are incredibly popular in Southern Italy’s hot summers. They are an explosion of traditional music, dance and food, and represent an important gathering for thousands of people united by the same passion. The last 30 years have seen a strong revival of traditional Italian music and we want to see that reflected through an authentic representation of contemporary Italian folk culture here in Melbourne. 

The festival will be headlined by the internationally acclaimed Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino. Why did you choose them to perform? Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino represent the spirit of the festival, the dynamic interpretation of tradition. We’ve seen their captivating performances in Italy many times and we are so lucky we were able to book them for their first ever concert in Melbourne. They will blow the audience away. 

What uniquely Italian and Mediterranean food will you have at Taranta Festival? Food will feature at all of our events. We’ve been lucky to have great young Italian chefs on board. At the Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino concert, look out for the Panzerotto traditional Southern Italian street food, and classic Pugliese pasta dish “Orecchiette con le cime di rape”. The festival closes with a big Mediterranean buffet featuring pasta cooked by true nonnas. 

There will also be talks, conferences and workshops. What can festival-goers expect from these? This year’s focus is the Pizzica Pizzica, a music and dance style from the region of Puglia, in southern Italy. This music has been part of the healing rituals connected with the mythical bite of the Tarantula spider. Festival-goers can expect to unveil the complexity of this magical world, and learn more about its history, the music, the dance and the singing that makes this genre so infectious.  

For those keen to head along to Taranta Festival, what would you like them to get out of their experience? A new love for this irresistible music.



Taranta Festival runs from Wednesday March 13 until Sunday March 17. Head to the festival website for tickets and the full program.