June 22, 2020 / 12:00 PM / 10 days ago

Italian musicians perform in fishing boats to beat coronavirus blues

Blues musicians perform on small fishing boats on Lake Trasimeno to ensure social distancing during a concert that would usually be on a stage on land, after Italy eased more of its coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Lake Trasimeno, Italy, June 21, 2020. REUTERS TV via REUTERS

CASTIGLIONE DEL LAGO, Italy (Reuters) - Blues musicians in this lakeside town have come up with a novel way to please music lovers despite coronavirus restrictions - playing from borrowed fishing boats to people on shore.

They loaded their guitars, harmonicas, microphones and battery-powered amplifiers onto four small boats with outboard motors, stopping here and there along the shoreline of the largest lake in central Italy to belt out a tune or two.

“We felt like we were on the Mississippi Delta,” said Matteo Burico, mayor of the town in the Umbria region, adding that most people along the shores of Lake Trasimeno were obeying rules on social distancing and wearing masks.

“We came up with this formula precisely to allow many people to participate without running the risk of being too close to each other,” said Gianluca Di Maggio, artistic director of the annual Trasimeno Blues festival.

The Sunday performances gave just a taste of what will be on offer when the festival is held on a reduced scale in August.

Tourists were delighted.

“It was absolutely beautiful, a fantastic show,” said Alice Orlandi, a visiting tourist from neighbouring Tuscany.

“We needed this after being cooped up at home for so long and we feared there would be no more concerts,” she said. “This was a real innovation.”

Writing by Philip Pullella; Editing by Gareth Jones

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