Music spills out onto the streets

Now almost a decade old in Greece, European Music Day, a seasoned annual event of French origins whose purpose is to get people and musicians out on the streets for widespread and free-for-all entertainment, returns this week bigger than ever before in this country. Beginning Thursday – on European Music Day – and stretched out over the next two days, this year’s local version of the event will feature shows at over 10 points around downtown Athens and in a further 11 provincial Greek cities, a record number since the event was introduced 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. All in all, some 120 acts of various styles, ranging from metal to classical, will be performing over the three days. The overwhelming majority of acts scheduled to perform are domestic. A total of 18 visiting acts, up from 16 last year, have been booked to perform, as part of an exchange program between local European organizers. Visiting acts include the pioneering multicultural act Transglobal Underground, jazz-funk band US3 and Cuban old-new fusion artist X Alfonso. For the first time since European Music Day was introduced here eight years ago by MESO, the event’s local representative, Greek acts will participate in the event’s exchange program. Local indie pop-rock group Film are on the agenda for the European Music Day proceedings in Lausanne, and the Harris Lambrakis Quartet – fronted by a talented multi-instrumentalist whose activity includes working with famed vocalist Savina Yiannatou’s backing band, Primavera En Salonico – will perform in the Italian town Rivoli, just west of Turin. «The artists want this kind of thing. This is good for the artists, good for our city and good for the country’s image,» noted Georges Perot, head at MESO, which is co-organizing European Music Day with PODA, the Cultural Organization of the City of Athens. «We’ve got something for everybody on the program, from metal to as classical as it can get,» Perot continued, commenting on the event’s domestic agenda. New developments in Athens this year include free transport linking all the festival’s stages in Athens on Thursday and Friday between 3 p.m. and midnight. Also, Sina Street in Kolonaki, where the French Institute is located, will be closed off for concerts and other cultural events. Other musical points in Athens include Syntagma, the Athenaeum venue in Thiseion, Zappeion, Gazi, and Klafthmonos, Kotzia and Mavilli squares. For details: or musicday.

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