Bikers Festival 2018 (22nd – 26th August) has gathered 50,000 Italian and European two-wheel fans. Five days of shows and events for those who ride their beasts. Metal music, beer and contagious cheerfulness.
A biker loves bikers.
21 years ago the Bikers Festival was only a “small stand, an oven, a grill and two taps for beers”; now it is the biggest motorcycle gathering in Italy, also well-known in Europe and two-wheels fans are electrified by the huge crowd attending it: about 50,000 guests and more than 4,500 motorcycles. A success that even the rain that fell during the last two days could not tarnish. The rain came back after two months of drought just to teem down on the stands, big tops and motorcycles parked in the lawns. Bikers had to move the vehicles on pallets to avoid the mud but nothing could stop the enthusiasm and the desire to meet and have fun together, sharing the common two-wheel passion.
A biker is hedonist
Every year, during high summer, motorcyclists enter in Cologno al Serio (BG) riding any kind of motorcycle; all of them are customised with the hedonistic creativity and the artistic inspiration that is harboured in any biker when it comes to mark indelibly his own cruiser, by engraving an intimate message with the “on the road” visual language. The biker symbolic alphabet is not only proper to the motorcycle, but to the person itself, from the crown of the head to the sole of the boot. A biker is unmistakable and so his language: he calls his beast with pet names; the motorcycle is an extension of the body, a lifestyle, a way of traveling among dream and desire places. A biker is a fierce metaphor of nonconformism since Easy Rider.
A biker has a metal heart
Beer is a faithful companion for bikers and beer jugs peep out in all the photos of the festival. A monument, erected in 2015 by the organisers in homage to those who ride their beasts, welcomes the bikers entering the city. The monument iconography is totally metal: “a motorcycle is iron and fire” is a quote of the macho-goliardic part of bikers’ world (it reminds us of Ghost Rider by Marvel Comics). The soundtrack of the festival is metal too: yelling their metal notes, different important North-European bands like Picture, Blaze Bayley, Angel Witch and Italian ones like White Skull, SØNDAG, I Am Lethe, METHEDRAS, ANGUISH FORCE played on the main stage.
On other stages, minor metal bands and local cover bands, as the Off Topic and the young DadGad band expressed their talent.
Five days of bikers’ world
Every year, a never ending motor roar spreads adrenaline along the the ditch that embraces the city. The festival is open to everybody and offers a five-day full-immersion tour into the most real bikers’ world: not only concerts, but also events, from martial arts fights to stuntmen exhibitions and the Wall of Death shows. You can also visit the Kustom Lab: a lab for the most important customised brands, that create their “works of art” in front of the public.
A biker is a donor
Bikers Festival is not only on-the-road culture, but also good spirit. The proudness of the organisers is crystal-clear: “We donate the fruits of our efforts to Hospice Cure Palliative (Palliative Treatments), located in Bergamo and to other local associations. We are proud to say that we donated more than 410,000.00 Euros during the last years” [http://www.festabikers.com].
This sum has been exceeded thank to the 2018 Bikers Festival lottery that had a wonderful prize: an Harley Davidson Sposter Iron 883, that has certainly increased the donations.
Kustom Lab, a laboratory for dreams
The art of customisation was born in the Harley Davidson labs in the States and spread rapidly in Europe. During the Festival motorcycle customisation shows were held: specialists of the industry like Frank Filippini, Aryk Old Paint, Sheila Pizzighello, Salvatore Cosentino, Arianna Lake Design, Arch. Villain, Miss Monster Candy and Giovanna Job Bellugi produced unique works while the public was carefully watching. The transformation of the “beast” is not only about airbrushing drawings and engravings but also design of mudguards, headlights, tanks and frames, to create exclusive motorcycles.
“The Wall of Death” from USA since 1920
From the 19th edition on, the Festival hosts one of the 20 “Wall of Death” structures left in Europe (original from 1937). The Wall of Death is a mix of speed, balance and adrenaline, a spectacular exhibition that was born during the 20s in the USA where motorcyclists challenge the G-force by driving at 100 mph on the walls of a big wooden barrel (10 mt wide, 5 mt high). On the Wall of Death, the motorcycle drives perpendicular to the wall over 4 meters high and the biker sits down on the side without using his hands and without any kind of protection.
Docufilm Bikers Festival
A documentary by Davide Aresi (co-organiser of the festival), presented in Cologno al Serio on 23rd June 2018 and projected during the Bikers Festival, shows the passion and the efforts made by those who contribute to the success of the festival.
Traduzione in lingua inglese a cura di Giorgia Nozza Bielli ( Mete di Arioli)