Re Nudo Festival awakens and returns to Milan after 50 years

Re Nudo Festival awakens and returns to Milan after 50 years

It happens that certain containers from the past, with their events, sensations, approaches and emotions, end up in the foggy archive of History. It also happens that someone takes these boxes, loads them into a time-traveling DeLorean, and brings them back to the present.

This is a bit what happened to the box with the “brand” Naked Kinga magazine that in the 70s was the gospel of the counterculture (that's how it was defined at the time), with its pages where alternative, underground cultural elements against the “system” were gathered.

The magazine was active from 1970 to 1980 (the first issue came out as an attachment to the newspaper “Lotta Continua”), directed and published by Marina and Andrea Valcarenghi. In 2023, the writer-journalist Luca Pollini definitively and completely took over the rights of the newspaper and resumed the publications of the magazine.

But the strength of Naked King went beyond written words, so the concepts expressed in the pages were translated between '71 and '77 into what will be known as the “Festivals of the youth proletariat”, sort of small Italian Woodstocks that took place in Ballabio (Lecco ), Zerbo (on the banks of the Po in the province of Pavia), at the Alpe del Viceré (Como) and then arriving in 1974 at the first edition of the “Parco Lambro”, inside the park of the city of Milan where the last 4 editions (74/77). At the bottom of the article is an excerpt from the book that tells the story of those events (and other festivals of the time).

Having opened the door of the aforementioned DeLorean, taken out the box with the logo (always the same) of “Re Nudo”, when you open the container you find yourself inside a paper magazine and also a new festival which returns to the scene after 50 years in Milan on 21, 22 and 23 June 2024 at the Fabbrica del Vapore space (free entry).

But there is no need to blow the dust on this new initiative that we find when we open the box of memories because, despite having firm roots, the idea and intention of the organizer and publisher Luca Pollini is to make everything current .

“It is not a nostalgia operation and it is not a gathering of veterans” states Pollini with conviction. Officially there will be none of the old protagonists, who will be present in a personal capacity if they wish. “There is a change of actors, young people and culture” states the organizer. It is a completely different approach to the whole event and it cannot be otherwise. “In '74 the municipality of Milan denied permission for the first edition – then the festival was held anyway – today we have the patronage of the municipal administration” states the publisher, supported by the councilor for culture of the municipality of Milan Tommaso Sacchi .

In fact, Pollini has acknowledged that everything has changed, starting from those counterculture impulses, that underground vision of life, the world and art (in close relation to each other). The common denominator between the past and the present of the current vision of Re Nudo is that of addressing young people, not as such and only for age reasons but starting from the assumption that the world of youth is (then as today) the driving force and bearer of change, of the alternative vision of the world. Especially today, when we are dancing in this world like on the Titanic.

“At the '74 edition of the Festival – Pollini recalls – the oldest artist among the protagonists was Mauro Pagani, who was 28 years old, Eugenio Finardi, another who launched his career with that festival, was 22.” Of course, the age factor was not the discriminating factor of those events (moreover, in the 1970s the generational conflict was no longer based on the young/mature contrast, typical of the 1960s), while it becomes the choice for the 2024 edition, entirely and deliberately aimed at youthful artistic expressiveness.

Between 15 December 2023 and 15 April 2024, the organization collected the proposals received from artists under 30. 34 of the 146 received were accepted. With these, a calendar of 44 events was built for a duration of approximately 40 hours and which involves over 80 artists and the involvement of 12 organizations (including Emergency, Luca Coscioni, Amnesty, Voci di Periphery).

In the new idea of ​​the festival, the organization realized that if in the 70s the role of music in the world of counterculture was preponderant, today, 50 years later, things have changed and music has a mainstream role, relegating certain functions “alternatives” to a niche that evidently did not attract the organization.

So the Re Nudo Festival (which has lost any other political connotation in its name) opens its doors to new artistic forms and disciplines which according to Pollini and Re Nudo can better represent the concept of underground. Space then for modern forms of dance (urban), photography, theatrical expressiveness, poetry (Poetry Slam) and alternative lifestyles (starting with the inevitable Yoga), as well as debates, book presentations, video screenings and other initiatives cultural specifics.

The musical proposal, certainly secondary, is oriented towards the most modern forms of expression, entrusted to the voices of the street which pass through rap, trap, but there is also rock, jam sessions and every evening, at the end, DJ sets.

In 2024, re-proposing the Re Nudo Festival in its original form would not have made sense; there are too many cultural, social and political differences between now and then. The organization must be given credit for wanting to look the present in the face (after all, the “king is naked”) and develop a festival formula more in keeping with the times.

A gamble? A hope? A long view? All this but with great hope. “This number zero – as I define it” – says Pollini – “wants to start a completely new story with the hope of making it a constant, a fixed appointment that seals a generational transition and an important form of exchange”

Project started for the perilous sea of ​​adventure. The destination and the future are unknown.

For details of the program (every day from 6.30pm to 11.00pm with DJ sets) consult the website, or

Below we publish the story of the first Re Nudo Festival, held in September 1971, taken from the book “Re Nudo Pop & altri Festival” by Matteo Guarnaccia, published by VoloLibero, courtesy of the publisher.

You ended up in a meadow
eating an apple
bought passing through the centre
where your friends
they still talked about women and motorcycles
and you smoked the joy
to have succeeded
to run away from home
knowing not to return.

Claudio Rocchi, Your first moon, 1971

25-26 September 1971. It is the first festival organized by “Re Nudo”, the most authoritative Italian underground newspaper, founded in 1970 by Andrea Valcarenghi, former conscientious objector and pacifist of the Onda Verde group. The magazine was born with the aim of uniting the two – irreconcilable – souls of youth protest: the existential one (anarchic, mystical, visionary, artistic and non-violent) and the vindictive one (hierarchical, authoritarian, gang-baiting and clenched fists). A very tiring attempt that will drag on among a thousand misunderstandings, suspicions, failures and hopes, crazy slogans such as “let's make Mao grow hair” or “Pipe and rifle”.
From San Francisco Bay to Lake Lecco, it took four long years.

But now there is the certainty that the spirit of the festival has landed in Italy. Ballabio, near Como, has all the necessary elements, the magic of the place, the respect between people, the beauty of serendipidity. .

Pompously baptized “the first day of our era” by “Re Nudo”, the gathering maintains all the premises. A group of freaks from Lecco identified the landing strip to welcome him and did a wonderful job, taking on bureaucratic hassles and logistical problems. The
public is selected and alternative as had never been seen before.

People who have been going back and forth from India for years; hardcore clubbers from Amsterdam or London; members of the festival transhumance that travels around Europe; communards of Ovada; very young people who ran away from home; the creative avant-gardes of Brera; some extra-parliamentarians on an official visit and some others incognito (“don't let the Party know that people.
I frequent!”). Then SIMA – the Italian version of Release – and Insekten Sekte with its psychedelic posters, Carlo Sivestro and the beautiful people in Wizard of Oz clothes. The fact that the location can only be reached by walking through the woods has had the desired effect: voyeurs and tourists stay away. A clearing among the trees, the stars above your head, mountains around, a continuous expanse of sleeping bags, hugs,
joint and jam on and around the stage. 10,000 participants. Militant nudism, no tickets, no fences, no stardom.

Participants: Come le leaves, Claudio Rocchi (his song “La mia prima luna” is the official anthem of the festival), Pacco (with Alberto Camerini and Finardi), Garybaldi (from then on a constant presence at all the festivals) , Drogheria di Solferino (with Marco Ferradini), Jonathan (ex Jonathan & Michelle), Stormy Six, Johnny di Brera.

There is no shortage of fighting singer-songwriters, accompanied by red flags and depressing music, who cannot understand where they have ended up and who the public ignores, while they are intent on activities more revolutionary than the songs. For 36 hours the stage never remains unguarded, there is always someone ready to replace the musicians who fall exhausted from sleep. Nobody speculates on the desire to meet, food and drinks have popular prices. When it's all over no one wants to leave. Then, very slowly people start to.
say goodbye and meet up at the next pop festival (or in Ibiza, Kathmandu, Matala, Piazza Dam, Notting Hill). The crowd that flows out is intercepted by police checkpoints, strategically placed at the entrance to the valley. Hundreds of people are stopped, many will spend the night in custody, simply because their appearance does not conform to the norm.
“Naked King” is radiant: a bet won, “two days of communism, ten thousand psychedelic Bolsheviks, drugged Marxists, non-drugged Marxists, non-Marxist drug addicts, children of 'For you young people'…”.

We take a liking to counterculture, it's time for creative bricolage: “Let's not leave the management of our joy to miserable people.” The political explanations are – as was the custom of those years – cumbersome: “It's time to say it loudly: the free pop festival, like the occupation of houses, like the barricades of '68, like the Battipaglia fight, like living and the fighting
in a commune, like all the moments in which one overcomes what has already been conquered, to open up towards new dimensions without wasting time in celebrations, all of this, in its creative violence, is revolution. So let's stop separating the political moment from the existential moment, since both are revolutionary if lived with creativity, and both are not if lived in a passive and castrated way.”