Photo courtesy of VITO VALENTINETTI

Not So Average Joe-Locked down in Spain

VITO RECONNECTS WITH BIG SKY THROUGH MUSIC

Quick click connections come as second nature to Vito Valentinetti. Conversation from his apartment in Spain is sprinkled with humor and self-deprecating jokes. He regularly travels throughout Europe, but says he is terrible at most languages – enough to get by. He claims that Scandinavians speak english better than he does.

After co-founding musicfestivalwizard.com 10 years ago, he spends his summers exploring the world festival circuit to document music festivals for his website – a site that saw a million visitors in February.

“The last few years I was making my job a little bit of a challenge. I was covering 15 music festivals over 15 weekends in 15 countries. I did it for five summers – 77 festivals in 33 countries,” he said. His adventures are documented in 100nightsofsummer.com.

From Vermont to Colorado to Big Sky, he grew up skiing, switched to snowboarding and has been chasing the powder all over the world. Always returning to Big Sky – for 15 years.

He traveled extensively in Bulgaria, Romania and the Balkans before he discovered Bansko was the most developed ski area with a good town.

“They have a coworking space and a community where you can walk around town. It’s amazing to have wifi that works and a table. Also, I could afford it,” he said, noting his rent was $350 a month and he could walk to the gondola.

Everything was golden until a few weeks ago, when his parents flew to meet him in Spain.

“My parents had been traveling for maybe two weeks and it hadn’t gotten out of hand yet, when they landed there were maybe a couple hundred cases,” he said. He met his parents on Friday the 13th – and then everything started shutting down as hundreds of cases turned into thousands. Like what is occuring in the U.S. – things happened quickly. They had their last meal together on the 14th and had their flight changed. Now isolating themselves in their Vermont home, his sister is dropping food off on their doorstep.

“She is the good sibling,” Valentinetti quipped. “I am the one that exposed them to a massive pandemic.”

He was to travel to Estonia to cover a music festival, which was postponed. Nearly all the spring and some summer music festivals have been postponed or cancelled. Valentinetti is now stuck in Spain, since Bankso is currently under complete quarantine.

“All flights were canceled. Nobody can go in or out of it. They have police guarding entrances [to the town],” he said. Basko, a pretty popular tourist destination draws people from all over Europe, especially the U.K. A few tourists tested positive for COVID-19 in town, so the lockdown was set in motion.

“They gave a 24 hour notice and said, ‘If you are still here by 8 p.m. you’re stuck here for two weeks,’” he said.

He gets antsy sometimes and photographs the lonely cityscapes of Malaga, Spain – places that once hosted animat- ed conversations and children playing – now desolate. Still, there is a calm and a sense of order in the city.

“People have been pretty mellow. I go to the store every few days but it’s not chaotic. People are buying groceries, but only what they need for a few days,” he said.

He does see people get arrested from time to time, what he believes are people belligerently arguing with the police for the right to jog, exer- cise outside or maneuver past their local grocery store, which is supposed to serve as a sort of boundary.

Once restrictions are lifted, he will start his nomadic and exciting life again and who knows, he may even swing by Big Sky. He always ends up back in Big Sky, he said.

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