Greece’s 2021 festival season undergoes shake-up
Greek festivals are in fight-or-flight mode as the summer season draws closer and uncertainty about the Covid restrictions looms.
Ejekt Festival and AthensRocks have cut their losses and pulled the plug on 2021, while Rockwave and Release Athens regroup after cancellations from international acts and The Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival and Athens Music Week assume hybrid formats.
The organisers of Ejekt festival say they ‘did everything possible’ to avoid cancelling this year’s event, which would have taken place on 26 June at Markopoulo Park near Athens.
“Unfortunately we find ourselves in the very sad position to have to cancel Ejeckt Festival for the second year in a row,” reads a statement on the festival’s website.
“With our main priority being the safety of fans, artists and festival personnel, we worked for many months on various plans and we tried to come up with solutions. We did everything possible in order to make the festival take place this year. But, our efforts and hopes are again thrown in the garbage bin due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are as devastated as you are. We miss live music and we miss you so much. Even though we don’t like it, at this point all we can do is move on.”
“Our efforts and hopes are again thrown in the garbage bin due to the Covid-19 pandemic”
The festival has taken place each year since 2004 and is said to attract around 55,000 visitors.
Red Hot Chili Peppers would have made their second-ever appearance in Greece at this year’s Ejekt festival. It is not yet known whether the band will perform at the 2022 event – the date of which will be announced soon.
Those who have already purchased their tickets can roll them over for the 2022 event or from 7 June can exchange with a voucher of equal value, which will can be used at any concert of the same organiser.
AthensRocks, which would have taken place on 12 June at Athens Olympic Complex in the Greek capital, will also forego 2021.
The festival’s promoters High Priority Promotions have not commented on the cancellation apart from to say that the 2021 headliners – The National, Idles and Balthazar – are not able to return for the next edition, which will take place on 16 July 2022.
Athens Music Week and The Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival have decided to hedge their bets by adopting a hybrid format
Ticket holders will be refunded, rather than offered vouchers, ahead of the 2022 line-up announcement.
Elsewhere, Release Athens Festival, an annual concert series that takes place in Athens each summer, is forging ahead despite Pet Shop Boys and Judas Priest pulling out of this year’s edition.
At the time of writing, Massive Attack, Sabaton and Slipknot are due to play the series, which takes place throughout June and July.
Rockwave, an open-air rock festival that has taken place in Athens since 1996, is also “reviewing the festival programme” after Deep Purple dropped out of the June event.
Meanwhile, Athens Music Week (22–26 June) and The Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival (27–29 May) have decided to hedge their bets by adopting a hybrid format for 2021.
Festivals to take place in Greece this summer
Long Beach Festival 2.0 and Urban Athens Festival 2.0, organised by promoter Xlalala, will ensure the festival season lives on in Greece this summer.
The two open-air festivals will see a selection of Greek acts including Visitors of Ioannina City, Pyx Lax and Vasilis Papakonstantinou perform on 24 to 25 July in Thessaloniki and 7 to 8 August in Athens.
“The original design for this summer may have changed unexpectedly, but the current conditions give us the opportunity to support our favourite artists and bands of the domestic music scene,” state organisers.
According to organisers, the 2.0 versions of the festivals represent “something brand new, something different, revolutionary, [and] totally revamped” from the originally planned events.
Xlalala had previously announced that the 2020 editions of Long Beach and Urban Athens, set to feature Uriah Heap and the Waterboys, would not be able to take place due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The current conditions give us the opportunity to support our favourite artists and bands of the domestic music scene”
The yearly Athens and Epidaurus Festival, which includes music, theatre and opera, is also going ahead in a modified form from 5 to 15 August. The programme has been cut down from 70 events to 17, with all taking place in open spaces.
Greek singers Giannis Angelakas and Monika will perform as part of the festival.
Having imposed a blanket ban on events early on in the pandemic, the government in Greece started to ease restrictions in May, and is allowing open-air live shows to restart from 15 July.
Restrictions include ensuring there is a distance of three metres between the stage and the first row of spectators; limiting capacity to 40% of a venue’s total; and keeping 1.5 metres between individual members of the audience.
Phase seven of the country’s reopening plan, which began this week, saw the restarting of much of the entertainment and leisure economy, including the reopening of open-air nightclubs and bars.