I don’t look at the Sanremo Festival. There, I said it, don’t hold me against it. Maybe I listen to some songs, see some clips, but nothing more. However, I don’t criticize those who watch it, like me 10.6 million Italians (65% share) that followed the first evening of this edition. I don’t criticize those who watch Sanremo for a specific reason: compared to the Sanremo Festival one cannot remain indifferent. It is such a distinctive and pervasive event in our country that in itself the choice to watch it or not to watch it is a noteworthy fact, a stance, a way to express oneself, a way of defining one’s identity.
Last year, at the end of the 73rd edition, our sociologist Samantha Maggiolo in an article he talked about “Sanremo Effect” explaining the reasons why the Festival is a shared collective event. In this piece I take up the considerations and broaden the discussion a little. So, why do we watch (or not watch) the Sanremo Festival? And why, in any case, does it involve all of us?
The importance of collective events
Every people needs moments in which it comes together, talks about itself and defines itself. These are occasions experienced as shared rituals in which we meet, we recognize each other and maybe we discuss, but then we move on all together in a more conscious way. Some events, commemorations and holidays function as one mirror of ourselves or, in more contemporary terms, as a gigantic selfies of who we are, with our strengths and weaknesses.
Certain events are fundamental moments in which, regardless of individual differences, we find ourselves together for a defined time and feel part of something. They work like glue of society because they represent the different generations and bind them together. The community thus emerges strengthened, more solid, because it has had a unique opportunity to dialogue, to discuss and to get to know each other. She was able to reiterate what the values fundamental to support and what are the taboo to avoid.
The Sanremo Festival as a glue and mirror of Italy
If you think about it, the Sanremo Festival embodies all this: is the perfect example of collective event. In Italy it is the moment par excellence in which millions of people are focused, more or less directly, around a single stage where the best and the worst of our society and our country are on display. The Sanremo Festival, in fact, is now increasingly a all-round event, not simply musical. It is a cultural, social and customary phenomenon. It touches on economic, political and sporting issues. It reflects what we are, how we have changed compared to the past and predicts how we will change in the near future.
The lyrics of the songs, the melodies, the way of singing them, the guests, the clothes worn, the topics discussed, the collateral events outside the theater… Everything reflects our society in the period of the broadcast and contributes to creating comparison, discussion and the inevitable controversies in the following days and weeks. Not only that: certain episodes they enter the collective imagination and remain there.
THE social networks have expanded and multiplied this experience compared to the past: the idea of all or almost all of us being in front of a screen, at the same time, and witnessing the same things, is today strengthened by the instant possibility of being able to express ourselves, to be able to comment and to be able share your opinions with the entire community. The vision of the Sanremo Festival has therefore transformed into a real one shared and participatory experience in which the spectator personally contributes to giving life to the functioning of the entire bandwagon (well beyond simple televoting).
Because Sanremo also involves those who don’t watch it
Considering the impact that the Sanremo Festival has on the entire Italian society, it involves, like it or not, even those who would not want to watch it and those who ultimately do not really watch it.
In the first case, in fact, a form of is generated social anxietycall FOMOwhich leads various people uninterested in the event to watch it and participate anyway, with the sole aim of not feeling excluded and not feeling the fear to miss updates from other users on the various platforms.
In the second case, however, even those who don’t watch the Festival almost inevitably end up feeling it personally effects. The media, in fact, cover the topic extensively; the same happens in conversations between people, on the street or online. In short, escape the Festival in a broad sense it is an almost impossible mission.
Furthermore, the Sanremo Festival produces a reflex phenomenon. In fact, those who don’t look at him are usually proud of this choice of not following the crowd, and often declare it openly. In this way the Festival, however, becomes aggregator element on the contrary. In fact, among the people who don’t watch it, a certain complicity and some sense of identity and community in reverse is created, characterized primarily by the mockery (sometimes in an unfortunately contemptuous way) of those who instead follow the event .