European Music Day expands around the land

With some 120 acts of all styles, ranging from metal to classical, performing free-for-all shows on the streets at over 10 points around downtown Athens and a further 11 provincial Greek cities, this year’s local version of European Music Day, celebrated on June 21 and stretched out for two more days, will be the biggest yet seen in this country. «We believe that we’re promoting culture among the people in a way that does not require them to go out searching,» Sophie Mytilinaiou Daskalaki, head of the Cultural Organization of the City of Athens, or PODA, told a news conference yesterday at its downtown headquarters. PODA is co-organizing the three-day event with MESO, a privately run firm founded by Greek-Frenchman Georges Perot, which introduced the long-running event of French origins to this country eight years ago. Since its humble inception, and despite stumbling blocks that have included the event’s cancellation one year due to a simultaneous Greek Orthodox Church-backed rally attended by thousands in Syntagma Square, the Greek capital’s version of European Music Day has grown in stature and size. This year’s entertainment will take place in 12 Greek cities, a record number for the event since its arrival here. Besides Athens, the event’s musical action this year will also go out to Yiannitsa, Ioannina, Karditsa, Katerini, Lamia, Livadia, Preveza, Serres, Trikala, Volos and Thessaloniki. New developments in Athens this year include the closure of Sina Street in Kolonaki, where the French Institute is located, for concerts and other cultural events. Also, a «musical bus,» as the organizers described it, will provide free transport linking all the festival’s stages in Athens on June 21 and 22 between 3 p.m. and midnight. The capital’s musical points include Syntagma Square, the Athenaeum venue in Thiseion, the National Gardens, Technopolis in Gazi, Klafthmonos Square, Kotzia Square, Mavilli Square, and the French Institute. A total of 18 visiting acts, up from 16 last year, will be performing. They include the British band Transglobal Underground, a leading act on the world music circuit, on June 21 at Kotzia Square, whose offering will range from electro-pop to world beat. «Some people may have reservations about the music because it’s free. No admission charge, however, should not be equated with lack of quality. We’ve put on acts that normally play at concert venues,» stressed Daskalaki. «This street event is about feeling carefree and uniting, which we all need.» For schedule details see: or musicday.

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