Italian industry body FIMI has hinted that its members could stay away from the 2005 edition of the country's Sanremo Festival. The festival, which is held in March, has been the key event in the Ital

Italian industry body FIMI has hinted that its members could stay away from the 2005 edition of the country's Sanremo Festival. The festival, which is held in March, has been the key event in the Italian musical calendar since the 1950s.

FIMI, which represents all five majors and many of the indies, did not attend this year's edition on account of a dispute with the City of Sanremo and state-owned RAI TV over expenses owed from the 2003 edition. Universal Music Italy did, however, send a foreign guest, Lionel Ritchie, and cooperated in the preparation of the Festival's compilation album.

Speaking at a conference in Recanati on May 27, FIMI director general Enzo Mazza commented: "The absence of both a new project and an artistic director, combined with the inflexibility of RAI and the City of Sanremo over the issue of expenses owed, suggests that FIMI members could also stay away next year."

The show traditionally attracts an average nightly TV audience of around 10 million viewers during its five-night span and generates substantial revenue for RAI and the city of Sanremo.

However, in recent years the festival has been viewed by the record industry here as doing very little for business at a time of crisis.

In other news, the 18th edition of Italy's Arezzo Wave Love Festival, due to be held in Tuscany from July 6-11, will pay tribute to the 10th anniversary of the passing of Frank Zappa. Local acts will perform renditions of the late musician's works during an opening night program listed as "Frank You, Thank."

The five-day ticketless festival will feature some 150 acts, and is expected to attract about 200,000 attendees.

"Arezzo Wave has established itself as the capital of live music in Italy and this year's edition will be no exception." Festival founder and organizer Mauro Valenti tells Billboard.biz.

Organizers say the festival will also honor the 10th anniversary of the end of Apartheid in South Africa and of the founding of Emergency, an Italian medical service for war-torn countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq.