14th February is the National Saving Energy Day, “M’illumino di meno” which is held each year in Italy when people try out various systems that visibly show that they are attempting to save energy. The campaign was launched by the Italian radio programme Caterpillar in 2004 and seeks to reduce private and public energy use. During its annual awareness-raising day, individuals and organisations are asked to make a symbolic gesture of support by switching off lights and all other non-vital electrical devices powered by non-renewable energy sources. This year, the campaign also encourages switching on lights from renewable sources.
The lights that normally illuminate many national monuments in Rome and Milano will be switched off to “highlight” this attempt at saving energy on a large scale.
Here in Barga, to celebrate the first decade of this event, Aristo’s bar joined in as usual and switched off the lights for the evening and instead turning to candle power to keep the dark at bay.
This year once again they used the well tried and tested bicycle powered music system.
A bicycle with dynamos attached to the rear wheel was connected up to a red light over the heads of The Aristodemo’s.
If somebody mounted the bike and pedalled, the red light came on …. and the band played. If the cyclist stopped, the red light went out and the music stopped. A very simple mechanism which kept the band on its toes all evening as a constant stream of ready and willing volunteers jumped on the bike to keep the music flowing.
Music for the evening was rigorously acoustic with Giuliano Nardi and his accordion followed by four members of The Aristodemo’s – Andrea on voice, Keane on Irish drum providing a strong rhythm background for Fabio Guazzelli on guitar, Alessandro Rizzardi on mandolin. Sitting in on the session were also Roberto Conti and Gino on drums.