By David Orr – Writer

Pistoia plays host to the 36th annual Blues Festival, an eclectic mix of bands, rockers and singers with enough string bends and riffs to make a blues fan’s spine vibrato.


The festival runs from July 1st to 24th at Pistoia’s Piazza Duomo, a mere 40 minutes from the center of Florence by car. The festival is kicked off by British hipster-folk rockers Mumford & Sons. Though the band’s latest music tends towards more traditional rock, they will undoubtedly invoke their epic banjo-laced shout-along anthems that made them famous. Counting Crows plays on July 3rd, unleashing their infectious brand of melodic rock-music, whose hits in the mid-90s like Mr. Jones often required invasive surgery to remove from one’s brain. Ireland’s Hozier plays on July 7th, whose lion-like riffs steeped in Catholic conflict are perfect for Italy. Passenger plays on July 15th, while July 17th is reserved for Italian Blues Night.

The Darkness & Black Label Society, Dream Theater and Santana play July 18, 19th, and 21st respectfully, and the festival is capped by none other than Sting on July 24th. Fresh off a run on Broadway in New York, he returns to the land which he calls home to perform what will almost assuredly be an epic performance, likely requiring many days of yoga to recover from.


July 1 – Mumford & Sons

July 3 – Counting Crows

July 7 – Hozier

July 15 – Passenger

July 17 – Italian Blues Night

July 18 – The Darkness/

                 Black Label Society

July 19 – Dream Theater

July 21 – Santana

July 24 – Sting

For further information you can visit their website at www.pistoiablues.comor you can purchase online tickets at