Nel Nome Del Rock posters


Nel Nome Del Rock was an independent music festival started in the late 1980s in Palestrina, near Rome. The idea was born out of the passion of a group of local friends always yearning to learn about new musical projects. From the first experiments to give voice to emerging local bands, over time the festival has grown more and more, bringing to the stage international artists such as Chumbawamba, Queens Of The Stone Age, Morphine, Kaki King, never losing authenticity and managing to keep the festival admission free.

The amateur-produced posters of the first three editions contain visual elements borrowed from the self-productions of punk-rock contexts of the time. In all versions, a big red sun frames the word rock: music is a cultural boost and a powerful gathering tool, especially in a rural suburban setting. The bold handwritten lettering, made with markers, emphasizes the Do It Yourself approach, although in different styles. The former is edgy, the letters shape the message which is strong, bursting out, the latter has softer lines, because – according to an early organizer of the festival – there was a risk that too hard and gothic shapes would recall the iron cross, a military decoration adopted by Nazi Germany that would have brought with it an aesthetic universe which festival organizers firmly chose to avoid.

The 1989 poster is completely handmade and emphasizes a spirit of improvisation, the rough drawing of a musician occupies the central space: guitar in the air, arms and legs spread wide as if to claim his presence. The later ones, from 1990 and 1991, reveal a more structured design although the DIY punk attitude remains. The center of the composition depicts a boy and a girl in punk style: she looks forward as he glances back toward the Temple of Fortuna Primigenia, a pagan religious complex dating back to pre-Roman times. The temple is elevated to symbol of the town, in opposition to the strong ecclesiastical cultural hegemony in the area. The main reference of this picture is the 1985 cover of the single “This is England” by the punk-rock band The Clash – formed in London in 1976 – where the same guys walk along a wall of buildings and illuminated signs, a critical portrayal of the 1980s English urban context, devoted to consumerism and under the grip of the Thatcher government. It is a full-fledged act of appropriation, but there’s a twist. In contrast to The Clash’s scenario of a society bent on consumerism, NNDR’s posters recall an ancient world, juxtaposing present and future in a game of cross-references. The past is there, what about the future?

Source: Enrico Lucarelli (NNDR curator), interviewed by Valeria Loreti, Palestrina, 29th April 2023.