Who said that festivals can only strike one note? Be merely a single-shot salute to gastronomy or art, music or cinema?
Nothing wrong with that. But seeing as we Athenians staged some of the first festivals of Western Civilization, we figure that gives us some licence to shake up the status quo.
Cue the This is Athens City Festival – a thoroughly modern new annual festival that invites all residents and visitors to Athens to a one-month, multi-layered buffet of more than 100 exciting events, all across the Greek capital, in May.
Built upon four main pillars - exhibitions, gastronomy, entertainment and outdoor activities - the This is Athens City Festival will showcase all the best experiences that off-season Athens has to offer; while also spotlighting some lesser-known, captivating corners of the capital, in a major new spring celebration for the city.
An initiative of the Athens Development and Tourism Promotion Agency of the Municipality of Athens, ACF will see world-famous Athenian museums, cultural institutions, tourism organisations and local businesses club together for the four weeks of May, to host a raft of special parallel activities - both free and ticketed – that illuminate the great diversity of Athens in 2022.
City Festival goers might find themselves doing anything from embarking on a themed bike tour or astronomy walk at the National Observatory; enjoying a Greek gastronomy evening or a street party in a buzzy urban neighbourhood; attending an all-day picnic at Plato’s Academy. Or a moonlit jazz concert on the terrace of the Acropolis Museum.
The newly-minted ACF website will provide visitors and residents with detailed information on all scheduled participating activities in the city, as well as the means for booking seats and tickets for festival events that require pre-purchase.
Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis said that the ultimate goal of the ACF was to support tourism in the wake of the pandemic, cement Athens as one of Europe’s leading city break destinations, and extend the capital’s tourist season beyond the summer months.
The inaugural festival programme is the result of an open call to local companies, business associations, collective bodies and cultural institutions; inviting them to propose new or existing experiences in order to create a vibrant tapestry for visitors and to encourage residents to explore long-ignored pockets of their city.
We’ve long said that there’s always something happening in Athens. Now we have the festival to prove it - and 100-plus great reasons to come and have a spring fling with Athens!
The This is Athens City Festival starts on May 1. You can keep tabs on the events calendar and book tickets here.