This weekend’s Antipodes Festival is more than just baklava and souvlaki, it’s about bringing together and strengthening the Greek and wider community.

“The event aims to reach all generations and ethnicities through two stages and forty-three stores with more than half dedicated to cultural practices,” explains Greek Orthodox Community Melbourne and Victoria (GOCMV) President, Bill Papastergiadis. “On one stage we will have traditional Greek culture and on another local and international acts catering for towards third generation Greek Australians and all the population”.

“At the moment there are  community groups ranging from the Cretans to the Cypriot community who will be presenting a snapshot of our complex heritage through cultural, music and dance exhibitions,” says Festival Chair, Leonida Vlahakis.

Antipodes events manager, Joe Mavrikos emphasises his focus on youth. “You will see traditional music and performances from Greek youth dance groups as well as performances by Greek DJs that have contributed both to the mainstream and Greek scenes in Melbourne. We will be celebrating Greek Australians in Melbourne. There will also be competitions such as Baklavamania, the Souvlathon, and Zorba till you Drop”.

Antipodes artistic director for 2010, Christos Linou says, “There will be children’s activities like making Grecian head garments, medallions and swords and an array of dance presentations and workshops such as by those by the Manasis School of Dance. So not only is it educational but it’s also entertaining”. Mr Linou adds, “We hope to re-engage with the youth so that they can become aware of the richness of our cultural heritage and be proud of what we have contributed which still has affects today”.

For those that may be a little sceptical about the festival’s performance in previous years, Linou says, “It has had a bit of a bad run but with the input of a very active board and us as a new team and we are reviving the festival.”

Mavrikos adds that the Greek community is the festival’s arms and legs. “There are a lot of things to do and see this year so come down and see for yourself, the festival will not only be a success but grow for years to come.

 “We all need to come together and support the Glendi, because without the Greek community behind it, the show can not go on”.
The Antipodes Glendi featuring Glykeria from Greece.