Concert roster announcements for the summer season in Greece are invariably greeted by widespread grumbling challenging the choice of the acts, the cost of tickets and, of course, the venues, which are deemed too big, too small, too far away, and so on.
So, ignoring this inevitable wave of pessimism and drawing some hope from the great season last year, let’s take a look at what this summer has in store.
“We did quite well last summer despite the economic woes and the chaos, and we will be following the same recipe this year,” says Nikos Loris, director of the Rockwave Festival, the country’s biggest musical event. “We have broken up the festival’s program into nonconsecutive dates because we have noticed that this seems to appeal more to the Greek public. In other countries, three- and four-day festivals are seen as a holiday. We have 200 islands to choose from, so it’s not quite the same thing.”
Organizer Didi Music, responsible for bringing some of the hottest and most pioneering acts to Greece in the past couple of decades, has already announced that the Last Shadow Puppets, Suede (June 5) and retro diva Lana Del Rey (July 19) will be heading here this summer to perform at the Terra Vibe park in Malakassa, north of Athens.
So far, the festival that everyone is looking forward to is Ejekt, on the waterfront at Faliro in southern Athens, which has announced an appearance by Muse, one of the greatest rock bands around right now, which will be returning to Greece after nine years. Ejekt PR director Stavros Strilingas confirms the excitement, saying that “the website crashed a few times on the first day that ticket sales started because of the volume of demand. Even at times like this, people will splash out on a concert, especially if you offer great names at affordable prices.”
Applying the same scheduling tactic as Rockwave, the seaside Ejekt festival is putting together another great event: So far popular acts James and Editors, and explosive Greek-Belgian DJ duo Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, currently reigning over the global electro music scene, have been booked.
Organizers are wary of the risks of investing a good deal of money and a solid reputation when the country is in such a state of turmoil.
“The problem is that you need to rely on instinct and luck to figure whether something will succeed or not. And then there’s the fees, because paying the fees that some of the biggest acts demand to come to Greece would just put you deeper in a hole,” says Strilingas, stressing that the fees of some artists are so high that it would be professional suicide to try to book them.
One group taking a big risk this year is the crew at Fuzz Club, which is organizing the first Release Athens Festival on June 1-13. From indie-folk Beirut to Austrian musician, producer and DJ Parov Stelar, and from the great PJ Harvey to post-rockers Sigur Ros, the newly born event looks like it’s coming together nicely.
Other than the big open-air festivals, there is plenty on a smaller scale to make a note of this summer, including Megadeth on June 5 at the Piraeus Academy and Clutch at Gazi Music Hall on August 24.