The sounds of summer

Neos Kosmos takes a look at the music festivals taking place in Greece and Europe this summer

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Rockwave is Greece’s largest multi-day festival and the most successful festival brand name in the country.

Over the last two decades the event has featured a rock-heavy but diverse line-up that has included performances by Depeche Mode, The Cure, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Robert Plant, Fatboy Slim, Franz Ferdinand, The Black Eyed Peas, Oasis and The Prodigy.

This year’s line up includes Robbie Williams (June 20), The Prodigy and Judas Priest (July 4) and Manu Chao (July 21).

The festival got off to a rocking start last week when US duo The Black Keys performed in front of a large and vocal crowd of more than 25,000 at Terravibe Park. Tickets for the first of the Rockwave series began at just over $60 (42 euro) per ticket.

Concertgoers like Nikos Stavrakis, 29, believe the show was well worth the price of admission.

“This was one of the best shows I have ever seen in Greece. I am a huge fan of The Black Keys so I was very excited when I heard they were coming and I am happy to say I was not disappointed. This was a great show,” Stavrakis said following the event.

Others in the crowd, like marketing student Natalia Stavrou, 21, also left the show satisfied, but wanting more festivals and live acts in Greece.

“The Black Keys did a very good job entertaining us and keeping us dancing all night long, the track of the night was definitely Lonely Boy,” Stavrou said.

She believes Greek music fans have shown their full support for these kinds of festivals and hopes that they will get “bigger and better over the years”.

“I would really love to see the likes of Wu Tang Clan, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Audioslave, Terror, Bring Me the Horizon, Ulver and so many more I can’t even count,” she says when asked which acts she would like to see perform in Greece.

The student said she plans on attending more festivals this summer, including the remaining dates of the Rockwave Festival and the Plisskën Festival, which is taking place in Athens this weekend.

Plisskën, a music festival that has its roots in Greece, begun in December 2010 and in just five years has grown to include a total line-up of more than 130 international artists and selected local acts over its four editions.

Organisers of the event claim Plisskën prides itself for its “genre-defying philosophy” and aims to embrace music from a diversified background.

Growing organically is a main element of the festival’s development and is achieved collectively by the efforts of all those involved, be it artists, volunteers or audience.

This year’s event is taking place at the Hellenic Cosmos Cultural Centre in Tavros, an inner-city suburb of Athens. The shows kicked off last night, with tickets on the door selling for $65 (45 euro) per day.

The line up is, as organisers promised, diverse, and includes the likes of Soul Clap, Mudhoney, Mogwai, Squarepusher and Brodinski.

Retail assistant Jana Nikolaou, 25, says this is the event she is most looking forward to all summer.

“Plisskën events have a little more edge and include a more alternative crowd to match the really cool bands that perform,” Nikolaou said.

Next week the Resistance Festival takes place at the Athens Agricultural University. Although it prides itself on being a cultural festival that welcomes collectives and organisations and invites them to meet and exchange experiences, Resistance has over the years featured some great, alternative musical performances.

This year, a three-day pass will set you back just $14 (10 euro) and allow you to see the likes of Nightstalkers, Dub Inc, Baba Zula and Che Sudaka.

Also on the same weekend is Athens’ first ever Colour Day Festival, an event based on the ancient Hindu Holi festival, or the festival of colours, which has become popular around the world.

Organisers of the Greek event are expecting more than 20,000 people to attend a day of live music and DJs at the Athens Olympic Sports Complex. Tickets start from $10 (7 euro) and include a small pack of colour.

In July Athens will also play host to the Ejekt Festival. This year’s line up includes electronic dance music supertsar Steve Aoki alongside The Parov Stellar Band and MoonDuo, with tickets for the event now selling at just over $70 (50 euro).

The party then moves to the islands, with Mykonos once again drawing most of the attention.

The two hottest nightspots remain the famous Cavo Paradiso along with the Paradise Club, with both featuring the very best of the world’s leading DJs including Richie Hawtin, Tiesto, David Morales and Bob Sinclair.

Greek Australian Nick Pappas, 28, is returning to Mykonos for the sixth summer in a row and says there is no place like it on earth.

“Summer in Mykonos is what it’s all about, all these beautiful people coming together to enjoy the best of dance music in such an incredible setting. It just doesn’t get any better than that,” Pappas told Neos Kosmos.

In Kefalonia, the Katovathres beach club is also turning up the heat this summer with a series of parties, the first of which includes a reunion of New York’s legendary house music trio, Francois K, Danny Krivit and Joe Claussel on August 8.

Just days later the same club will host a three-day house music festival Can You Dance to My Beat, with tickets selling for $78 (55 euro) to see the likes of Louie Vega, Timmy Regisford and local DJs such as Dim Pap and DJ Angelo.

An avid house music listener, Maria Pantinaki, 26, from Sydney, says she is giving Mykonos a miss this year and going to Kefalonia instead.

“I’ve heard great things about the island and wanted to try something a little different but still add some partying to my trip, so I’ve decided to hit Kefalonia before heading further up towards Croatia for the Dimensions Festival,” said Pantinaki.

The Dimensions Festival, which takes place August 26-31 in the coastal resort town of Pula, is the stand-out of many smaller festivals popping up in Croatia.

“If you’re into house music the line up will blow you away,” said Pantinaki, who will be joined by her two sisters on the trip and attend the opening concert of the festival, which takes place in a 2,000-year old Roman Amphitheatre.

Tickets for the Dimensions Festival start at $250 (175 euro) with a host of beach parties, boat parties and club events, featuring a very strong lineup including the legendary funk group Parliament with George Clinton, along with DJs such as Moodymann, Juan Atkins, Osunlade and Goldie.

For those into something still dance-oriented but more mainstream, the Tommorowland Festival in Belgium has become the must-attend event of the summer circuit for fans of EDM.

More than 200,000 people will attend this year’s edition, including hundreds from Australia, who will be at the sold out event to see the likes of Carl Cox, Sven Vath, David Guetta and Avicii.