Rototom Sunsplash Reggae Festival was founded in 1994 in the village of Osoppo, in the Italian province of Udine, and since 2010 it has been held in the Spanish town of Benicassim in the Province of Castellon . Its name refers to the moment when the first rays of sun come out of the sea, announcing the arrival of a new day.
For 8 consecutive days it plays host to some of the most important artists of the genre, and also includes other cultural activities that aim to give visibility and voice to themes such as Rastafarianism, lapaz, tolerance, racism, non-violence, respect of the environment, etc.
It is considered the most important festival of its kind in Europe and in 2010 received recognition and sponsorship of UNESCO as International Emblematic Event of the Decade for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence (UN – UNESCO 2001-2010) and as a related activity Culture Without Borders, CSF, and permanent World Interdisciplinary Seminar «Culture of Peace and Non-Violence» by the United Nations (UNESCO-IPT-UCM).
In 1994 the Rototom, founded by famous magic nightclub alternative Friulian, took the initiative to have 2 days of reggae music and Jamaican culture in Spilimbergo, Italy. A year later the programme of events also included international artists and the Festival was now extended to 3 days.
In 1998 Sunsplash moved to Latisana, Udine, where it included camping facilities and also hosted many associations and cultural entities besides its music as a base. In 1999 the Sunsplash was confirmed as the biggest reggae festival in Europe.
Sine 2000 the Rototom Sunsplash takes the form that remains today: it moved to Osoppo and was extended to 9 days. Artists converge from around the world and the week is completed with a series of seminars and debates, courses and stands of charities.
For the XVII edition (2010) it moved to the coastal town of Benicàssim, due to his problems with the Italian justice.
In the 2011 edition it enjoyed an attendance of more than 235,000 along throughout the 10 day Festival with over 1400 artists playing until dawn.
During the festival reggae music is everywhere: in the evening there are concerts with the dance area continuing the party into the night and early hours; while afternoons are devoted to relaxation and social events. There are debating areas, meetings about reggae music and the Rasta culture, films and documentaries, photography and art exhibitions, percussion courses, African dance, capoeira and didjeridoo, meditation and alternative medicine. There are also professional teams who organize entertainment and games for the large number of children who populate the festival every year.
During the day people can enjoy sunbathing on the fantastic beaches, have relaxing massages in the area of Living Energy, read, rock in the hammocks or just stroll around the grounds in search of new friends. At dusk the lights come up on the big stage area and music becomes the undisputed star. When the concerts finish, people go to the stage dedicated to Ska, the Dance Hall ready to dance until dawn or go with the bass sounds of the Dub Station.
Open day and night, bars and food stands offer drinks and food dishes of countries from all over the world. There is also an ethnic handicrafts market with stands specialised in traditional music crafts, jewellry, fashion and other accessories. There is also an area dedicated to non-profit organizations where they present their initiatives and collect funds for their projects. In addition, in 2011, there was a medieval market and a large circus tent called Cannabis Circus which presented the various uses of hemp from craftsmanship of footwear and furniture to its therapeutic properties.
Every evening debates and lectures are held, some by world renowned personalities, for example in 2013 the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Shirin Ebadi attended the Festival.
This year the Festival starts on the 13th of August to the 20th August and promises to be at the same level as every year with hundreds of performances and activities in an environment of beach, sun and total relaxation!
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