After a few days exploring Bergamo we flew down to Bari with a cheap Ryanair flight. Originally I thought it might be nice to take the train and meander down the length of Italy. Unfortunately, the cost came to a few hundred euro, the time it would take was going to take half a day at least and the flight came to 40 euro for both of us. Decision made.
On our way from the airport to our apartment I passed by a poster that looked interesting. It was promoting a reggae sound system in a few days time. Not knowing any of the crew listed or where it was to be held I took a pic to Google it later. I am so glad I did. It turned out to be one of the best nights on our Italy trip that we had.
In Bari, a movement took shape to regain possession of a new social space for the community. The army Barracks Rossani Liberata had been abandoned and lay in empty and unused for years.
Ex-caserma liberata bari
The group decided to take action and return the space to the city for the common good. They injected ideas, energy and labour, to give life and shape to the Barracks in a city that is largely under-invested and ignored. They brought peace and positivity to a place before that was occupied previously by the army, a symbol of hierarchy, repression and war. Today there are meetings, cultural activities and social sharing. The Barracks Rossani is liberated!
The barracks is so big with so many buildings when we walked up we couldn’t hear any music playing. A chilled out group with a lazy dog asked for a small donation on entry. You were free to bring your own beer or some was available at a makeshift bar at a ridiculously cheap price. We wandered around exploring some of the buildings while the music and crowd got going. There was a well equipped gym, a kitchen area, an indoor skate park and lots of impressive street art. We easily got talking to some of the guys that ran the place through broken English and Italian. They were really welcoming and introduced us to some other members of the group.
Vanchiglia Sound System
As the night descended, there was food shared and offered for free. Fires were lit outside to chill beside, more random conversations had with a various characters. They explained that they have lots of other cultural activities from street art, live music, education, fitness and community events.
The crowd was really mixed, everyone from hard core squatters, artists, musicians, dogs, students, gypsies, local residents were having fun. It was great to see everyone coming together to enjoy themselves and the beats. The vibe was incredible, such great energy from the crowd and everyone on the dancefloor was smiling and happy. The Vanchiglia sound looked like an Italian Vespa but played hard and heavy Dubs and classic reggae riddims.
Leaving the heavy beats behind us we left to walk back to our apartment in the early hours under a full moon, but the night was no where near winding down.
I hope the party continues for a long time to come at Ex-Caserma Liberata.