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A Decade of Straight Edge in Italy: Navigating a Limited Scene

Next year will mark my 10th anniversary of being straight edge, and I’ve spent these years in Italy. Many people, especially those from the US, have inquired about Italy’s situation regarding COVID-19. Moreover, some are curious about the current state of the straight edge scene, concerts, and festivals in Italy. To be honest, there isn’t much to report; we haven’t had a thriving straight edge scene for many years. But let’s start with the beginning of my personal journey.

Discovering Straight Edge in Italy

I embraced straight edge nearly a decade ago. I was already deeply involved in the punk, hardcore, vegan, DIY, and underground culture of my hometown, Rome, from my teenage years. I essentially grew up with an understanding of what straight edge represented. However, at a certain point in my life, I met individuals who changed my perspective, and I decided that straight edge would become my way of life.

For the first two years of my journey, not much changed in my life. Back then, Italy had a thriving hardcore scene. So, I continued spending time in the same places with the same friends. Not all of them were straight edge, but they were all supportive and friendly.

A Life-Changing Move to Sweden

After two years, I felt the need for something more. I decided to move to Sweden. At that point, I was deeply involved in various extraordinary things: the straight edge organization in Stockholm, the emerging straight edge gay community (which was only starting in 2013), new perspectives on sex that differed from the traditional American view regarding the third X, weekly straight edge concerts, and my involvement in the animal rights movement.

Coming back to Italy was a significant shock for me. Firstly, I discovered that not all straight edge people were vegan, which was a real eye-opener. So, I began to seek my own space in this new life, where being a girl added a layer of complexity. I never quite felt as involved in the Italian community as I did in Sweden.

Exploring the Fervent Italian Straight Edge Scene

I believe that there are very few straight edge girls in Italy, and we likely all know each other virtually, thanks to social media. However, we live in different cities, and we lack a true web connecting us. If you’re from Italy, please feel free to reach out to me. Sometimes, Italian concerts aren’t as inclusive as we’d like due to persistent issues of machismo, which are deeply ingrained in our culture. Furthermore, we lack straight edge-only concerts. The last one I attended in Rome was probably in 2014.

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Italian Scene

To answer your curiosity, the COVID-19 pandemic has indeed had a significant impact on the scene. All concert venues are currently closed, and we anticipate a considerable waiting period before any new initiatives arise. However, it’s essential to note that the situation wasn’t much different before this mess occurred.

Looking Ahead with Gratitude and Hope

We can only hope that things will improve. I’m deeply thankful for all the individuals who continue to make an effort, organize events, and bring bands to this challenging landscape.

In the words of LESRA, “DON’T MOURN, ORGANIZE!”

Colomba.

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