How Cricket and the Musica in Giro concept was born.
The idea for Cricket was born between March and May 2020 in the midst of Covid 19 Pandemic and Lockdown from an initial intuition of Stefano Zaccaria, currently Marketing Director at Toyota Material Handling Italia, but at that time Marketing and Sales Director at K-array, a Florentine manufacturing company known worldwide for its innovative solutions in the field of high quality professional audio and refined design.
Stefano Zaccaria is an inquisitive and eclectic person who has had a long experience in luxury companies, design, merchandising and corporate collections for companies in the automotive sector, with management positions in the marketing and commercial area, led important consolidation and development projects, up to start-up projects, focusing mainly on process innovation, change management and learning.
The idea was a first concrete response to a period of great difficulty that we were all facing; the intention was to offer a small contribution to return to the lost ‘normality’, to offer the possibility for people to experience some moment of entertainment, in any case respecting the rules of anti-crowd, and thus to bring music directly to the people, while the world was tuning in to social networks, the web and radio. Video streaming was exploding among the new habits. Artists and creatives were asking to be supported in their streaming efforts. Balconies around the world were being used as new stages for DJ sets and solo artists.
A tiny, indeed invisible being (Covid-19), undermined our identity, our humanity, attacked our defence system, compromising everyday life, normality, as we call it. It was becoming ‘normal’ to be confined, ‘shut in’ in our own homes, we had to ‘give up’ our ‘freedom’ for the sake of a common good: the protection of everyone’s health.
And a deafening ‘silence’ was invading our souls and our country. The projects, the work of months and years, lost under the rubble of our certainties, slowly crumbling, leaving room for our worst travelling companion, fear.
From dreams and hope we started to develop our idea. We met up, at first, during the most critical stages of the lockdown, strictly at a distance, but connected online; first just the two of us, then with other friends and colleagues, who joined us to give shape to our idea.
If it is true that music, art, theatre, literature, culture, are of everyone and for everyone, then why not spread them by promoting a sort of ‘right to beauty’ that can fill the moments and spaces of our lives with music, art and culture?
The idea of an all-electric, slow but, above all, safe and music-transporting vehicle was born ‘thanks’ to an old found image, depicting a very young Jon Lenon with his Quarryman bringing music to the working-class neighbourhoods of Liverpool with the band aboard an old open-body truck.
An absolutely new format that allows you to savour the moment, experiencing it live, up close, immersing yourself in a space that lives between before and after, the ‘here and now’, enjoying a unique experience. An experience that does not wait to be found but comes to you.
Words and notes float freely in the air and come to us to give us a listening experience of the highest purity of sound. Music, art, theatre, literature, culture, overcome social distancing while guaranteeing absolute safety, they come closer to people to bring people closer.
It allows anyone to share and approach any kind of art, breaking down preconceptions and overcoming distrust.
So my initial unconventional idea of proposing and designing a vehicle that would carry music around, together with my colleagues at K-array, decided to name it Cricket as a tribute to the Talking Cricket, the one that speaks to Pinocchio, impersonating the voice of conscience, wisdom and common sense, but also the inner voice, the one that leads to deeper and more intimate reflections.
Thanks to the immediate availability of Toyota Material Handling, and above all of SIMAI, a very Italian company owned by the Toyota Group, the Cricket PE30, the first 100% electric vehicle with a professional audio system designed and produced by Simai, was given shape.
Thus the first 100% Electric Music Vehicle.
MUSIC ON THE ROAD
A concrete initiative, conceived and produced by Luigi D’Amico, in collaboration with me, then Marketing Director of K-array, whose main supporters were Toyota Material Handling Italia, Simai, Tab Italia.
Format’s mission is to bring music of all genres into people’s lives, to give hope, comfort, relief, to overcome fear and uncertainty. Music but not only: spreading culture. Because in the same way, art, theatre, literature, poetry, fairy tales, stories can also be brought to the streets, the squares, the water, in conventional and unconventional environments.
It is a way of disseminating culture at 360 degrees, bringing different experiences into contact with people, ranging between different genres so that, for example, classical music can be brought to the young and pop/electronic music to the elderly. In this ‘encounter’ between diversities lies another of the strengths of a format that has HIGH CULTURAL AND SOCIAL VALUE, to try to break down distances, promoting inclusion among people through discovery and knowledge even of what does not belong to us.
On Saturday 1 August 2020, the launch event of the “Musica in Giro” format took place in Florence. At the Teatro Verdi, the first concert, behind closed doors, of the format was held.
Maestro Beatrice Venezi conducted the Orchestra della Toscana in the performance of her first album ‘MY JOURNEY – Puccini’s Symphonic Works’, published by Warner Music Italia.
Two CRICKET PE30s were among the protagonists of the event as they streamed the entire concert live, making two separate routes through some of Florence’s streets and squares. One of these started from Piazza Santo Spirito and passed through some of the most beautiful spots in the centre of Florence, such as Piazza Pitti, Ponte alle Grazie, Via Tornabuoni, Piazza della Signoria and Piazza Santa Croce.
The other started from Piazza dell’Isolotto, and then continued on to Via Torcicoda, Via Modigliani and Via dell’Argingrosso.
As the strictly 100% electric ‘caravan’ passed by, the people in the street, those who looked out of their windows, those who were out for a stroll, were able to listen live to the concert conducted by Maestro Beatrice Venezi, expressing their appreciation for the initiative, taking photos, videos, even dancing to the notes coming live streamed from the Verdi Theatre.
Also arriving via video link was a greeting on behalf of Mayor Dario Nardella and Councillor Tommaso Sacchi, from Deputy Mayor Cristina Giachi, who said she was delighted to have co-promoted, as the Municipality of Florence, the “Musica in Giro” format as part of the 2020 Florentine Summer, and thanked the main sponsor Toyota Material Handling Italia, for having wanted to make an extraordinary gift to the city of Florence, with the launch event of the format, which gave some of the city’s streets and squares the opportunity to be the protagonists of the passage of “Musica in Giro” conducted by Maestro Beatrice Venezi.
The CEO of Toyota Material Handling Italia, Leonardo Salcerini, also spoke at the opening, saying that he was very pleased to have decided to invest in this new format, and in particular in the launch event in the city of Florence, to which he is very attached.
Maestro Beatrice Venezi said that the concert was a ‘journey’ not only through the streets and squares of Florence, but also through the symphonic music of Giacomo Puccini.
Maestro Beatrice Venezi expressed her appreciation for the initiative, which she decided to be part of from the very beginning, and that classical music was chosen for the debut of the format devised by Luigi D’Amico. In fact, he said he considered the project a concrete response to a period of great difficulty that we all had to go through, including theatres, which cannot accommodate so many people at this time, which is why it was decided to bring theatre, music, directly to the people.
Even if in the future,’ Venezi concludes, ‘when it is hoped that it will be possible to fill the stalls again, with the ‘Musica in Giro’ format, we will be able to reach an even wider audience.
Maestro Beatrice Venezi began the concert by dedicating the first piece to all victims of the Coronavirus. To embellish the launch event, two Florentine companies also contributed. In fact, Maestro Beatrice Venezi wore a beautiful dress by the historic brand, Salvatore Ferragamo, and conducted the concert with a conductor’s baton, specially created by the master goldsmith, Paolo Penko.
Simai SpA, a Milan-based company, 100% Made in Italy and specialised in the manufacture and sale of electric tractors and platform conveyors for horizontal handling, one of the main European players in this specific sector, together with K-ARRAY Surl, a Florentine company, likewise 100% Made in Italy and specialised in the design, manufacture and marketing of professional sound systems for small, medium and large events, dedicated themselves to a shared project during the Covid-19 pandemic emergency.
From the partnership between these two companies, of rare excellence, CRICKET PE30 came, the first fully electric vehicle with a professional sound system on board for broadcasting at events of all kinds. The official launch is scheduled for July, but in the meantime the two companies have previewed the vehicle’s renderings to the press.
An innovative solution capable of offering an effective means for the operations of many realities that operate in the world of musical events and that in these difficult times are also forced to reinvent themselves in terms of services and products.
Simai offers 3 pre-configured K-ARRAY | Unique Audio Solutions branded set-ups with 3 main focuses: Classical Music, Pop/Rock Music and Clubbing Music.
K-array brand products are distinguished by:
– High efficiency, which minimises the amount of electrical energy required to drive the acoustic speakers;
– Maximum directivity control, thanks to technologies such as Pure Array Technology and Electronic Beam Steering that allow the sound beam to be directed towards the listeners, minimising the amount of energy dispersed to areas where there is no audience;
– Resistance to weather conditions such as rain and snow;
– High listening quality even at low sound pressure levels.
While the features that make CRICKET PE30 unique for this use are:
– 100% electric with state-of-the-art technology, which solves the problem of circulation in historic city centres or LTZs;
– Reduced dimensions (width 1,560 mm, length 3,825 mm, height 1,900 mm) that allow it to enter even very narrow alleys;
– Driving with a B licence, despite having a G.V.W. of 55 quintals;
– Always in load capacity (3,000 kg payload and 8,000 kg towing capacity).
Massimiliano Bariola, Managing Director of Simai SpA describes the project as a winner:
“We immediately welcomed this innovative project proposed by K-array, as it will allow the Simai brand to position itself within the niche of live entertainment and musical events in general.
In K-array we found a working group with the same enthusiasm and spirit of adaptation to difficult situations as us, despite the emergency linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, and this special vehicle, precisely in contexts of emergency, social distancing, and proximity to urban areas which are the most difficult to reach and travel through, will give its best performance in terms of both mobility and sound”.
Leonardo Salcerini, CEO of Toyota Material Handling Italia Srl, says:
“A distinctive trait of the DNA of Italians is knowing how to reorganise, reinvent and have the ability to find the right formulas to overcome difficulties.
The initiative promoted by SIMAI and K-Array fits right into this context: Cricket is a simple but at the same time dynamic and complete solution that can be a valid support to the world of show business and entertainment, among those most affected by the health emergency, and later it will be able to find multiple applications in other sectors.
Moreover, the vehicles used, manufactured in Milan, are electric, so this is an initiative that reinforces our commitment to sustainability and respect for the environment.
Toyota Material Handling Italia, which distributes SIMAI’s product, is therefore contributing with commitment to the project, making its own commercial network available for the rental, assistance of the vehicles and training of operators throughout the country’.
Stefano Zaccaria, VP Sales & Marketing at K-ARRAY, commented:
“Expectations regarding the solution have been amply repaid by the interest of the main operators in the events sector, who immediately showed their appreciation for the mix of advantages offered by the vehicle.
It is the first all-electric vehicle intended for this use.
We were immediately convinced that thinking of a solution capable of guaranteeing slow, safe and environmentally sustainable movement would be a winning if unconventional solution.
From the earliest design stages, we wanted to configure some set-ups capable of meeting the expectations of our customers, mainly small and medium-sized rental companies, which in turn support DJ and solo performer events”.
Andrea Torelli, Marketing Director of K-ARRAY, explains why the Simai PE30 with this audio configuration is called Cricket:
“The sense of wellbeing that one gets when observing a meadow in the open air, especially after so many days of forced seclusion and renunciation, is complemented by the song of the crickets, which even more than before takes on a meaning of freedom.
Sound proves to be decisive for the quality of our lives, all the more so if it also takes on a culturally important role.
We then simply drew inspiration from the Talking Cricket, the very one that speaks to Pinocchio, impersonating the voice of conscience, wisdom and common sense, but also the inner voice, the one that leads to deeper and more intimate reflections.
So Cricket, this modern Jiminy Cricket, transports music of all genres around the city, streets, roads and squares, to give hope, comfort, relief, to overcome fear and uncertainty.
Music but not only; it is a Talking Cricket that disseminates culture’.
The ‘Cricket’ was named after the Talking Cricket from the novel ‘Pinocchio’ by Carlo Collodi
Simai SpA, a 100% Made in Italy company and partner of Toyota Material Handling, together with K-ARRAY Surl, a Florentine company, likewise 100% Made in Italy and specialised in the design, manufacture and marketing of professional audio systems for small, medium and large events, during the Covid-19 pandemic emergency, dedicated themselves to a shared project.
From the partnership between these two companies, of rare excellence, came CRICKET PE30, the first fully electric vehicle with a professional audio set-up on board for broadcasting at events of all kinds. The official launch was scheduled for July, but in the meantime the two companies have previewed renderings of the vehicle to the press.
An innovative solution capable of offering an effective means for the operation of many realities that operate in the world of musical events and that in these difficult times are also forced to reinvent themselves in terms of services and products.
SIMAI PE30 Cricket was launched for three events:
1) “Musica in giro” in Florence on 1 August 2020: at the Teatro Verdi, conductor Beatrice Venezi and the Orchestra Toscana played music composed by Giacomo Puccini while two Crickets walked through the city centre broadcasting the concert live.
2) “Fano Jazz by the Sea” in Fano on 31 July and 1 August 2020: musicians Jbeat & Marinelli played their particular music (piano + beat box) on board a Cricket crossing the city centre and the sea.
3) ‘Festival of Nations‘ in Città di Castello from 22 August to 29 August 2020: PE30 Cricket was the mobile stage for many fantastic musical and artistic performances.
SIMAI CRICKET PE30 trucks will be marketed, also with short and long term rental solutions, by Toyota Material Handling Italia Srl. SIMAI SpA in 2016 was in fact acquired by Toyota Material Handling Europe, giving this company a more international scope, more means to develop its potential and enter new.