July 24, 2018
Have you ever seen 1,000 Italians play a Foo Fighters song in a field? That was Fabio Zaffagnini’s vision back in 2015. He adores the Foo Fighters. He wanted the band to play in his hometown of Cesena, a city of 98,091 in northern Italy, but he didn’t think it could happen. Just too small a stop. Still, he figured he would ask. Boy did he ask. First, he spent a year recruiting rockers from all over the country to come and play “Learn To Fly” together. Then he filmed the gathering and placed a video on YouTube. And boom. Not only did the band see it. The whole world saw it. It was an immediate sensation. I mean look at this.
Have you ever seen happier people? My heavens. I think it’s just spectacular. So did Dave Grohl, who responded within 24 hours in an elegant way, in Italian.
And four months later the Foo Fighters arrived, even though Grohl was nursing a broken leg.
More than that, the band saluted Zaffagnini with “There Goes My Hero,” after which Zaffagnini crowd-surfed to the stage. Unreal.
It’s a masterpiece of event marketing. Some may call it a stunt. Well, yeah. But so what? It’s a stunt driven by conviction and joy and passion. And it’s pure. You just need to look at the people to see that. They’re not doing this to get famous. They’re doing it because they love that song and that band. Is there a better reason to do anything?
One of the ways I measure an effort like this is whether I come back to it. Was this just something inspiring I would watch once and forget? That happens. But it’s now three years later and I have my answer. No. I still watch the video. All the time. It makes me happy to watch it. It does in fact feel like flying.