Three Music Stages Featuring International DJs, Live Acts, Sound Healing and Surround Sound with Music Composed Exclusively for ARRIRI. Music styles: Psytech, Psydub, Techno, Minimal, House, Trance, Dub, Chill-out, Live Acoustic, Psytrance, Psybient, Electronic….
Arriri’s Sun stage, Powered by Mystical Sound System, presents:
Mistical, Lupen, CR35TA, Ciuridda, DubShotta & PastaRasta.
Did I mention the food? Did I mention that the area has biggest pistachios in world and the strongest flavoured Pachino tomatoes that only grow in Southern Sicily? The food is abundant, all of it tasty beyond belief. Arancini, Cannoli, Pizzoli, Parmigiana, Granita…. there just isn’t such a thing as bad food on Sicily. The Arriri valley has fields of nut trees that will be ripe during the festival, but try to leave alone the other wild food that you find in the woods, such as wild pigs and horses. It has been said that in the season the forest’s bounty even includes magic mushrooms.
Two of our Sicilian hosts were great foraging cooks, Antonella and her husband Ciccio (nicknamed Caravallo Pazzo or “Wild Horse” on account of his diminutive stature housing a giant inside). Late one night they allowed us to witness under torchlight Antonella foraging for herbs in the lush meadows, chatting away to herself in anticipation of the feast she was planning. She found wild spring onions, wild garlic, borage, mint and other green leave, which she later cooked on the campsite little 2-ring stove into an amazing meal for a dozen hungry English blokes.
Ciccio kneaded chapatti bread (I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had ground the grain himself), rolled it using a beer bottle, then cooked it outside on the open fire, before Antonella wrapped each chapatti around some lumps of Ricotta (made from goats milk that afternoon) and spoonfuls of her cooked herb concoction. Served with local red wine beside the fire, it was a morsel of paradise. My mates and I had tasted Ricotta (the British supermarket version), but the homemade Sicilian variety, flavoured with hand-picked herbs and a pinch of chilli flakes, put smiles on our faces.
April’s sun already burned, when I lay prostate on a rock overlooking the valley with a local guy, who teaches tantric sex to couch surfing travellers. Waddaguy! He was becoming one with the rock, lying across a giant boulder as if mounting it, telling us to make love to the rock from where our atoms originate. He feels connected to the rock, it was visible, believable.
Later we visited his rooftop pad in Catania and read a few of the hundred goodbye notes left pinned to a door. We felt like we understood his couch surfing mentality. All these visiting Europeans who had felt the need to leave love notes to the Sicilian prince of tantra:
“You changed my life” and “You made me see a new side to Sicily”… There’s a natural freedom here, something raw, and alive with international souls.
Normally I’m all about finding your own way, creating your own path. But here… a word of warning: don’t come to the paradise valley expecting to be embraced and nurtured like you are in the maternal English countryside. This is Sicilian farming country at the foot of an active volcano. The landscape is magnificent but it will chew you up and spit you out, if you take the rocky route up the valley’s side like we did. The scenery on the plateau above the valley is worth the climb up the valley wall, and then some. You imagine yourself in a Palaeolithic landscape, with human cave homes, crystal springs, Roman aqueducts and flower meadows. Stick to the paths to enjoy these sights unscathed. Up here you can camp during the festival, and relax whilst overlooking the valley arenas and swimming pool. That’s my advice.