Come one, come all. This week-long festival is free for all and welcomes the entire city, citizens and visitors alike. Kicking off the summer season for the fourth consecutive year, the Nostos Festival takes place at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre located just off the Athenian Riviera. 

A celebration of the long-awaited arrival of summer, the festival programme is packed with exciting stuff, from sports to dancing to concerts. While there is something for everyone, we’ve chosen the not-to-miss highlights.

The Life Aquatic: A Tribute to David Bowie by Seu Jorge and the Athens State Orchestra
Sunday June 17, 22.00, Great Lawn

For fans of American director Wes Anderson (“The Royal Tenenbaums,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox”), this concert is a must. Brazilian musician Seu Jorges teams up with the Athens State Orchestra to perform some of David Bowie’s greatest hits, some of which were featured in the 2004 film, “The Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou,”. Never heard of him? Doesn’t matter. Do it for Bowie. 

John Cale & Band  
Tuesday June 19, 22.00, Great Lawn

Legendary musician and founding member of the Velvet Underground, John Cale performs highlights from a career spanning over half a century. 1960s New York, Andy Warhol, Lou Reed, Songs for Drella, Leonard Cohen, 1970s London, it’ll all be there. Hallelujah. 

Lianne La Havas
Friday June 22, 22.00, Great Lawn

Born in London to a Jamaican mother and Greek father, this queen of neo-soul has already recorded and performed with Prince and Coldplay. Come and hear the music of a star in the making. 

Animal Collective
Saturday June 23, 22.15, Great Lawn

If experimental pop is your thing, this concert is a must. Baltimore-based group Animal Collective, who also explore freak folk, noise rock, and psychedelia, rose to fame in the 00s. The concert features songs from their album “Sung Tongs.” 

Drone Mass in Memoriam: Johann Johannsson 
Monday June 18, 20.30, Stavros Niarchos Hall, GNO

String quartet, electronics, and vocals fuse into a magical oratorio in a composition by two-time Oscar nominee Jóhann Jóhannsson. Performed by the internationally-acclaimed American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), and conducted by Paul Hillier. Minimal yet romantic, religious, yet modern, this tribute to the Icelandic master is worth your time.

Circus Outdoors
17-24 June, 18.30-19.00, Great Lawn, 21.30-22.00, Agora 

A huge outdoor circus is being set up at the Niarchos Foundation. But don’t expect elephants and fire breathers. Come see acrobats, jugglers and special guests each night. Bring your kids or find your inner child.

Tuesday 19 June, 23.59, Canal Stage

Ugandan DJ and pioneer of East African music, as well as gender equality advocate, Kampire comes to Athens for a night that’ll have you on your feet. Sway to the rhythm of Afrobass and tribal house, embrace a music of the world.
Choir! Choir! Choir! Celebrates World Refugee Day
Wednesday 20 June, 23.00, Agora

Feel like taking your vocal cords for a spin? This Canadian singing group invites the audience to participate in all its performances, and stand in solidarity with the thousands of displaced peoples in the world, in a country which has seen more than its share of refugees. The group has performed with Patty Smith, David Byrne, at New York City’s Carnegie Hall and Radio City Music Hall. 

Theater of War: The Drum Major Instinct 
Wednesday 20 June, 20.30, Stavros Niarchos Hall, GNO

A dramatic re-enactment of Martin Luther King Jr.’s last sermon, mixed with gospel music and song, comes to Athens at a time when social and racial equality is as much in the front line as it was during his life. This show is for and about us all. 

American Ballet Theatre Studio Company
Sunday 17 June, 20.30, Stavros Niarchos Hall, GNO

The top rung of the American Ballet Company’s training ladder, this group of dancers, aged 16-20, perform a medley of classical and contemporary pieces, from Giselle to Carmen. Pre-registration is required, and opens on June 12. 

Armonia Atenea, George Petrou: Rock Goes Baroque
Sunday 17 June, 20.30, Canal Stage

Can you imagine a baroque version of the music of the Beatles and Elvis Presley? Under the direction of award-winning conductor George Petrou, this classical orchestra will play you “Blue Suede Shoes” like you’ve never heard it before.

Kayaking on the Canal 
17-24 June, 18.00-20.00, Canal

Hop in a kayak and test your strength, endurance and speed by rowing up and down the Niarchos Foundation’s canal. Open to all ages, regardless of experience. Bring a change of clothes, just in case. 

Nostos University for Kids
17-19 June, 18.30-19.30, Level 5A, GNO

John Edmark, inventor, artist and lecturer at Stanford University, teaches kids about maths in nature, in a series of three lectures. One is about spirals, another about the golden angle, and the third about “living” spirals. Don’t worry, this isn’t your typical lecture. It won’t put your kids to sleep, they’ll be asked to participate and create.

17 & 23 June, 19.00-20.00, Great Lawn

This Afro-Brazilian martial art mixed with dance is practiced to music. Come try it out for yourself, or just stick around for the demonstration of music and flowing acrobatics afterwards.

SNF Run: Running into the Future
Saturday 23 June, 20.50, Panathenaic Stadium

Fancy a night run? Start at the historic Panathenaic Stadium in the centre of Athens, and make your way at your own pace. Just make sure you get to the finish line at the Niarchos Foundation. There will be a medal ceremony and fireworks to celebrate your feat. Register here.

For further information on the festival and a full list of events, click here.