The project of the Ferrara Buskers Festival was born in 1987 from the mind of Stefano Bottoni who is still the Art Director of the festival.

He loves music and loves playing it, but before anything else he is a craftsman, a blacksmith to be precise and his workshop is the birthplace of the idea of the festival.

Many ideas were buzzing in Stefano’s mind but one above all gave birth to the idea. We are talking about an article on the local newspaper of the 30th of July 1987 in which the journalist wrote about two musicians with guitar and drums that had been sent away by the local police. After reading about what happened that day, Stefano Bottoni decided that something had to be done, he felt he had the responsibility to create a safe place where street musicians, for a short period of time, could play freely on the street. Where else but his Ferrara?

This idea needed a name. At that time the goal would have been to create a biennial exhibition. Stefano brought his idea to the Mayor that, against all odds, approved it immediately.

Stefano’s journey to New York with the chance to meet musicians playing in Time Square made him dream about a cosmopolitan Ferrara with many different artists from all over the world.

When the idea came to life the only thing missing was the team, the formation is still the same after 32 years. A strong name is what the Association needed and it had to be international too. That’s why since that day in Italy the word Busker became more and more common referring to the street musician.

During 1987 fate brought an honorable guest in Stefano’s workshop, Lucio Dalla.


The great artist from Bologna, two years from the first meeting with Stefano, busked on the street with Jimmy Villotti, in a square with all the other guest buskers.

Today the festival is at its 32nd edition counting many copycats but maintaining the same spirit, the spirit of a man with an idea in his workshop.

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