Submitted by Peter Astedt
You can say that Athens Music Week is the last showcase before the summer break. It’s the end of June and after it, nothing really comes up until the end of August. This year the whole south of Europe had extreme heatwaves so during Athens Music Week the temperature out in the sun reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit). So, getting to the place where the panels are held is like a sanctuary with air-conditioning that is working hard trying to cool it down.
The panels are held in the old gas plant of Athens called Technopolis which is also the heart of Athens Music Week. Now it’s a cultural area with smaller bars and gig places that are used by the festival. The panels are done with both international and national speakers. The topics are a bit on the political side but mainly address the local Greek music scene. You can see here that Athens Music week is part of HEMI which is an organization that brings all the eastern European countries together to develop the festivals and showcases in the festival scene. Within this network, you get good industry people from around the region as well getting the European speakers that make this a good midsize festival to do business in.
Some showcases are outside, the festival had around five gig places not far from Technopolis. Some local bars an around a ten-minute walk from each other. The places are already established gig places to the light and the sound is like a normal club. Since the heatwave, you are longing to get inside to the air conditioner since even in the nighttime the temperature doesn’t go down that much. This becomes also that you meet a lot of people on the street outside the bar, taking a beer and making it all a cozy feeling.
The lineup at Athens Music week is a bit more to the jazz and experimental side. Of course, you have your pop and rock, but here you see a bit more of the other so-called niche genres. This is of course since Greece has a long tradition of the styles and are quite successful in them.
They have around 20 acts playing and just two acts from abroad Zulu 3,4 from Macedonia and The Lefties from Bulgaria who did a great show and was one of the cool acts we discovered. Other acts that are worth mentioning are Lia Hide and Vasselina.
Athens Music is one of the smaller midsize festivals. It’s personal and you are certain to meet and talk to everybody. If you are interested in Greece and the surrounding countries, it’s a must. Of course, you are in Athens so you are surrounded by history and great things to see.