The Gyzi Megaron Festival, a summer cultural celebration, which has now been established as an ordinance in the events of Santorini, upgrading its cultural life and attracting both the inhabitants and the multitude of visitors to this popular island.
It was far back in the summer of 1981 when Tereza Kokkalaki, a representative of the members of the Gyzi Megaron Cultural Centre, had the idea of establishing the artistic events every year in August. For 25 years and up to 2006, she was responsible for the organisation and literally the soul of these events, inviting significant artists both from Greece and abroad, placing this little island on the artistic map. These events stood out from their commencement for their distinguished aesthetics and warmly embraced an audience of art lovers. Beyond its natural beauty Santorini managed to offer enjoyment and exaltation.
From September 2006 up to January 2015 artistic management was taken over by Giannis Papaconstantinou, an art lover and collector with the aim of not only continuing this cultural offer , but also to widen the already high class level of the events giving a new force to these and generally to the cultural philosophy of the Spiritual Centre. From 2007 the Gyzi Megaron Festival was institutionalized, a festival which is now also becoming well known abroad extending its ties also to modern forms of art. The festival started to become internationally recognised thanks to the actions of Giannis Papaconstantinou, it was chosen in 2015 to receive the certificate of recognition EFFE – Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe. This is a new program which has as a target the creation of a cultural gate which includes information for professionals and for the citizens of the E.U. for the best festivals which take place in Europe, as well as awarding innovative artistic festivals for their great contribution to European and local cultural life. It should also be noted that from the year 2008 Santorini, by means of the Gyzi Megaron, joined the network of the European Celebration of Music.
From September 2015 the management of the Gyzi Megaron Festival is under the direction of Konstantinos Grigoriou, composer and director of the National Conservatory of Santorini. Together with the musician Giorgos Roussos their aim is the reconfiguration of the events mainly the enlargement of the music repertoire so that there are events for every kind of music preference for the multitude of visitors. With the assistance of the Catholic Diocese of Thira the music events can also take place in the historical temples of the Catholic community, something which means that for the very first time large musical ensembles can be invited. Since 2017, two big collaborations have been inaugurated, with the oldest orchestra of Greece, The Athens State Orchestra, and with Musical Ensembles of ERT (Hellenic Radio and Television), and for the first time in history, under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Athletics.
Finally we must note that all of the events in the festival are free of charge for both the inhabitants and the visitors to the island, Greeks and foreigners, entrance is always free thanks to the full support and financial assistance of the Catholic Diocese of Thira. The communication sponsors include The State Television Organisation (ERT 1, ERT 2) and radio stations (2nd Programme, 3rd Programme, KOSMOS Radio), along with the TV channel of the Parliament of Greeks. The sponsors of the leaflet are the newspaper KATHIMERINI, the magazine Onboard BLUE of Aegean Airlines, and the annual magazine GREECE IS. Network sponsors in addition to the previously named are CultureNow.gr, tar.gr, Beton7 Radio, Pepper 96.6 and art&life.
Summer Festival Artists’ hosting
The participating artists of the Gyzi Megaron Summer Festival can have the opportunity to be accommodated during their stay in Santorini at the Monastery of Lazaristes Guesthouse.
The recently restorated Guesthouse is situated at Fira in the northern part of the ecclesiastical compound of the Catholic Diocese of Thira. The stone-built house with its magnificent view of the caldera offers 6 rooms with simple and distinctive decoration aspirated from the world of Music. At the reception lounge, the exhibition of musical instruments and old original photographs from the Archives of Catholic Diocese of Thera reveal also the profile of this house.
In Europe the arts are just a festival away!
The European Festivals Association (EFA) has been uniting distinguished music, dance, theatre and multidisciplinary arts festivals from Europe and beyond for more than 60 years. Thanks to EFA’s history and the continuous support of its members, EFA was chosen to implement the pilot project EFFE by the European Commission.
EFFE – Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe, is Europe’s Label for remarkable festivals initiated by the European Festivals Association. It is an international festival community connecting festivals that are deeply committed to the arts, their communities and Europe.
Following an open call to apply for the EFFE Label 2017-2018, hundreds of festivals submitted applications to demonstrate their excellence concerning artistic commitment, community involvement and international/European engagement.
Gyzi Megaron Festival has been selected to receive the EFFE Label 2017-2018. Since 2015, It is part of the EFFE Platform, initiated by the European Festivals Association, which consists of festivals that stand for artistic quality and have a significant impact on the local, national and international level. The quality Label recipients represent 31 European countries and offer a wide range of genres and activities to their audiences.