NEWS

Hellenic Festival focuses on quality, not quantity

This year heralds in a new era for Greece’s two major summer festivals and most important artistic institutions, those of Athens and Epidaurus. A long overdue renewal will actually become a reality in contrast to the mere «brightening up» that occurred in previous years when there was no more content, just an extension of the festivals’ duration (in 2005 the Epidaurus Festival ran for 10 weeks and the Athens Festival for five months). This brave break with tradition, calling for boldness and know-how, is to be undertaken by the new head of the Hellenic Festival (the firm which organizes the Athens and Epidaurus festivals), Giorgos Loukos, but is also credited to the government and the prime minister himself, who has provided full support for reform and renewal. This is a clearly political decision that takes on particular weight in that it is the only commitment at present that gives «priority to culture,» which the PM and his government have pledged. A break with decades of stagnation (artistic, financial and political), the embracing of new cultural forces and links with the most important cultural centers abroad are some of the main features of the new festival, promising not only rebirth for the festival itself but also a new lease on life for artistic creativity in Greece in general.