Rick Rubin Throws Secret Music Festival in Tuscany With Performances From James Blake, Arcade Fire Members and More

Over the weekend, legendary music producer Rick Rubin organized an under-the-radar music event called Festival of the Sun in Tuscany, where performers included James Blake, Win Butler and Régine Chassagne from Arcade Fire, Rhye, Beth Ditto and Italian rapper-pop star Jovanotti.

Twitter co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey was also on hand at the multi-disciplinary Tuscan fest, where director Andrew Dominik introduced a screening of his Nick Cave doc “This Much I Know to Be True.”

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Billed as a celebration of the summer solstice, the June 21-22 event was held in Casole d’Elsa, a medieval village in the Sienese countryside where Rubin purchased a large farm in 2019. According to Italian press reports, proceedings kicked off Saturday afternoon in the Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta church with mantras performed by Grammy-nominated Kirtan artist Krishna Das, who is known as yoga’s “rock star.” Then, Jovanotti – who is recovering from a thigh bone injury – took the stage, followed by James Blake and Beth Ditto with her indie rock band Gossip.

Sunday’s events included a Jack Dorsey talk titled “Tech and Freedom,” followed by performances from DJ Cosmo Gonik; London-based singer/cellist Lucinda Chua; Rhye, the one-man-band of Canadian singer-songwriter Michael Milosh; Finnish model and musician Julia Johansen; and Armenian composer and pianist Marie Awadis. In the festival’s grand finale, Win Butler reportedly performed Arcade Fire’s “My Body Is a Cage” while walking down the church aisle without a microphone.

Though only around 150 invited guests were granted access to the church, where most of the performances took place, access to the town’s main stage was open to the public free of charge. Guests included Måneskin guitarist Thomas Raggi and drummer Ethan Torchio; Italian rapper Ghali; and A-list actor Riccardo Scamarcio and his partner Benedetta Porcaroli, who appears alongside Sydney Sweeney in Michael Mohan’s horror movie “Immaculate.”

Rubin is one of the most successful music producers of the last 30 years, having worked with an eclectic lineup of artists including Tom Petty, Run-DMC, Johnny Cash, Slayer, Adele, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Strokes. He recently produced indie artist Beabadoobee’s upcoming album “This Is How Tomorrow Moves.”

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