Renzo Rubino: “My Porto is a party, everyone here must feel free”

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Renzo Rubino he created what seemed impossible. And that in Italy, with very rare exceptions, we have always and only heard about. With Port Ruby, now in its fifth edition and which ended yesterday, Sunday 9 July, in Campomarino di Maruggio, in the shadow of Torre dell’Ovo, the Apulian artist has shaped and shared that rare feeling called participation. At his review, Port Ruby, the artists come for the pleasure of being there and not to get promoted, and the public in turn comes for the pleasure of being there, buying the ticket even before it is announced who will take the stage. The 2023 edition only totaled sold out and at the final appointment, with Checco Curci, Chiara Galiazzo, Dente, Dardust, Francesca Michielin and Emma Brown (besides Renzo, of course), over a thousand people showed up. And many listened from the sea and others from the areas bordering the stage area.


Less than an hour left until the start of Port Ruby. It starts at 18.30 because behind the stage there must be sunset. Magic must also be a caress for the soul. And in this corner of Puglia it is not difficult for it to happen. Renzo Rubino leaves his stage for half an hour to tell me a little about his creature: “People no longer come for the artists but because they experience the show. And, over time, the return of Mahmood and Francesca Michielin confirms that artists like to be there; Emma has moved a commitment to be there. Here we have everything: the public of Porto Rubino is like the one we meet in a real seaport. In this 2023 edition we have focused more on those who come to Puglia and less on the visual since there is no television; however, we did a strong job on social media with Chiara Galiazzo. Campomarino di Maruggio is the only stop on land, we did all the others on board and for each one we used a different boat: here the the draft is low and the boat could not stay near the coast, it is a former tuna fishery much loved by those who live here. We have the poetry of the sunset and the sea. I tell you that we also have requests outside Puglia but it is not easy to find a mediation because I would like it to stay an exclusive festival, we cannot accommodate thousands of people. Usually we are under a thousand seats, except for the last evening that we slightly exceed them, and we experience something special. The port must have requirements. However, let’s think about leaving the Puglia region: the festival is a party where everyone must feel free. That’s why I didn’t want barriers under the stage: the public should be welcomed and not caged”. Finally Renzo told a bit about his future outside of Porto Rubino: “To my surprise I concentrated on the music that I had set aside for years. In February I recorded an album and in September the first single will be released (who did a live preview in Campomarino, ed): it will be very Apulian! And who wasn’t… became: my producer and friend Taketo Gohara here they call it Také!”. In short, an upcoming album and the concrete possibility that Port Ruby come out of Puglia but with the spirit intact: “Whoever comes here – concludes Renzo- does not promote. It is an uncontaminated place for artists and the public sees its authenticity! This year Madame he gave me a great gift, he transformed his set to be with us. The gift I gave myself is Nada. Instead, I gave it to my mother Raf. So I say trust me.”


Sun and heat. Joy and enthusiasm. Nothing holds back the people, ever more numerous, of Port Ruby. It’s just after 6pm when she appears on stage Renzo Rubinohost of the evening takes the stage to announce the first guest, it’s called Checco Curci and comes with three songs: “What Divides Us”, “Like Cheeky Boys” And “Neither Today nor Tomorrow”. The sets are short, four songs maximum, but there are some duets that are special. After Renzo sang “Port Ruby”the anthem of the review, Clare Galiazzo shows up with “Extraordinary” And “The Last Song of the World” then there are the first duets, which are “Nessun posto è casa mia”, again by Chiara, and then a poignant version of “Onda su Onda”. A few minutes and here appears Giuseppe Peveri alias Tooth which comes up with “Adieu” and then continues with “Change Your Mind”, “Come Live” And “Married Stroll”the latter performed alone and with guitar only, without the resident band The Undertow. The set of Dardustwhen the sunset begins to peek, it’s something crazy: two acoustic and two electronic compositions, seamless: people dance to the rhythm of “Sublime” And “Ruckenfigure”. Francesca Michielin shows up with “I don’t live by the sea” And “No Degree of Separation” performed piano and voice and then rely on the resident band for “Big Big Eyes” And “Lightning Strike”. So he surprises her: Emma joins her on stage and together they pay homage Britney Spears with a psychedelic version of “Baby one more time”. Francesca comes down from the stage, Emma to sing “Blue Lights” And “Midworld”, to whose notes he descends from the stage and goes into the audience, a participatory and respectful audience, as Renzo says, a beautiful and polite audience. Another surprise is coming: Emma call on stage Dardust for a tribute to Amy Winehouse: creepy! We are at the end and it is right that the grand finale is entrusted to the host Renzo Rubino who calls the 15 members of La Sbanda on stage and together they seduce with “Sandonaci”, “Il Postino”, “La Madonna della lullaby” and, sweet closing acronym, “Porto Rubino”. Turned off the lights we find ourselves at San Marzano estatemain sponsor of the event, where, until late at night, the music goes on with Renzo dragging onto the small stage created for guests, even Clare Galiazzo and Emma. I know Renzo for ten years, since 2013, when he participated for the first time in the Sanremo Festival with “Il Postino (Love me Man)”. He is a friend beyond music and beyond words. That’s why when he says “trust me”…I trust.