June Music Festival looks set to be the best one the capital has seen to date

With the up-and-coming American band Scissor Moon, this year’s Music Festival (June 19-22) is aiming to win the title of the best of its kind in Greece. The festival, now a Europe-wide institution, began in France as the June 21 Fete de la Musique in the early 1980s and was soon adopted by other countries throughout the continent. In Greece, previous attempts to hold the event (almost always with the full participation of the City of Athens) never really developed into a mass event as similar efforts have in France. Indeed, the first real effort at holding a Music Festival was in 1999, but the event was canceled as it coincided with nationwide mass rallies protesting the inclusion of religion on state identity cards. Last year’s Music Festival was, by general consent, the most successful ever held in the country, as it attracted a 35,000-strong audience. This year things appear to be on an even better track. One reason is the forthcoming Olympic Games; another is the decision to extend the event from one to four days. Since June 21 this year falls on a Monday – considered a bad day in terms of audience participation – the organizers (the MESO coordination office, the City of Athens and the Ministry of Culture) decided to take full advantage of the previous weekend and enlarge the festival. For the first three days, the public will have the opportunity to see (free of charge) a broad range of musical groups throughout the capital. There will be electronica and dance music, Greek art music, jazz, ethnic, opera and orchestral ensembles, and even traditional Greek musical groups. Some of the headline acts in the first three days include Dimitra Galani (with guest Manolis Famelos), Theodosia Tsatsou, Jacques Stefanou, the Anichti Thalassa band, Michalis Delta, Takis Barberis, the Norwegian group Bermuda Triangle (playing on Thursday, June 18 at Club 22 on Vouliagmenis Avenue), the French Julien Loureau Quintet, and London bands LoopGuru and Fun-da-mental. The highlight of the fourth and last day is a performance by Scissor Sisters with two Greek backup bands, Atria and Universal Trilogy. The New York-based pop band is coming to Greece at the peak of its success, following huge sales of their self-titled, debut, glam rock-tinted album. Details are available on the website

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