After 40 years of presence, the GLENDI Greek Festival, the largest Greek festival held in South Australia since 1978, will not be opening its doors this year.
“Although the organisation of the Festival is under way, we have been unsuccessful in securing sufficient financial support to put on the event. After considering all the financial and governance matters, the Board has made the difficult and disappointing decision to postpone the event until 2020,” read the official announcement from the Board.
Originally established as a fundraising event, it slowly grew to become an acclaimed multicultural festival. Considered as one of the original and most popular Greek ‘food and wine’ festivals in South Australia, it celebrated the contribution Early Greek Australians made to the State and at the same time it honoured Australia for the opportunities it gave and continues to offer to the Greeks who migrated down under seeking a better future for themselves and their families.
During the 40 years, the Festival, through a dedicated group of volunteers helped promote all aspects of the Hellenic culture and supported a number of community-based organisations that used this event as a platform for major fundraising initiatives.
“Last year, with the financial support of the State Government, the City of Adelaide and our sponsors, two important decisions were made regarding the future of the Festival.
“The first was to move to a new space in the heart of the city, Victoria Square, and the second was to make the GLENDI a free event.
“Our aim was to provide an accessible and affordable family festival that promotes the spirit of the Hellenic Culture to the wider South Australia Community but although the festival was a success and continued to have the support of the State and Local Governments, putting the event together also requires corporate sponsors, volunteers and the participation of many stallholders, exhibitors and other participants,” said the organisers leaving members of the Greek community frustrated and disappointed with the new development.”
Friends of the festival have been left disappointed. Ms Alexandra Vakitsidis, a GLENDI volunteer for a number of years, says it is “devastating news to close the doors of a festival” that has been a “trademark” of South Australia.
“I don’t know what went wrong, but I do feel that postponing the event shows bad management and an enormous amount of disrespect towards those first Greek migrants that came to this country and managed to bring to the community a successful event that honoured and celebrated our culture and homeland,” Ms Vakitsidis told Neos Kosmos.
“Not being able to maintain the same level and quality for the future generations is really disappointing and sad and I invite everyone to look at the mistakes that were made along the way and ensure they are not repeated going forward.”
On the other hand, GLENDI’s Board and organising committee confirmed that they are in an excellent position for the Festival to be held next year, in November 2020.
“We wish to maintain this high-calibre festival, in the heart of the city and keep it as a free event and we invite anyone interested in participating to get in touch with us,” they concluded.