The Successful Summer Nostos Festival 2017

Andreas Dracopoulos awards the winners of the SNF RUN: Running Into the Future. Photo: SNF

ATHENS – The successful Summer Nostos Festival (SNFestival) 2017 concluded on June 25 with music, dance, a spectacular fireworks show, and by renewing its promise for next year. More than 140,000 visitors, 413 Greek and international artists, 4,500 runners, more than 75 unique events, 5 stages and multiple play areas were brought together at the SNFestival, June 18-25. The summer’s great celebration with free admission for all was organized by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) in Athens.

The SNFestival included music, dance, sports, discussions, arts and architecture, outdoor concerts at the Great Lawn and at the Canal Stage, summer parties, performances, magic shows, lectures, and activities for the whole family.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) as part of its broader philanthropic activity and its continuous support to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), returns once a year, every June, as an active participant, to the home it created for the benefit of all people, organizing and supporting through an exclusive grant the events of Summer Nostos Festival.

In his speech during the final day of the 2017 SNFestival, SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos said, “When you are a parent, they say you should provide your children with strong foundations and give them wings so they can fly. We provided these strong foundations, as SNF, as the ‘parent’ of this project, through a grant, totaling €630 million ($861 million). The wings are also there, but in order for this project to ‘fly,’ it needs all of you. And you have proved this with your presence. Last June, 120,000 people visited the Festival. Since the day we opened the Center again in August, to this day, 1,300,000 people have visited the SNFCC. This is its real strength and, with this strength, the Center can really continue to ‘fly.’ This Center is yours. […] One day, all of Greece can function similarly to how this project operates. And what you can do, each of you individually, is to take this feeling of pride and joy that I hope all of you feel here, and carry it back to your homes and workplaces, and do not listen to all those who say it is not possible. It is possible! […] And even though we continue to assist the Cultural Center and the programming that takes place throughout the year, this week was exclusively organized by the SNF and we will be back, next year, between June 17th and 24th. Thank you. The wings belong to you. Use them to ‘fly’ along with this project and everything can be a lot better!”

Some of the biggest names of the local and international art scene honored the SNFestival with their presence, including: Renzo Piano, Garry Kasparov, Leonidas Kavakos with his distinguished partner Enrico Pace, The Cinematic Orchestra, Yo La Tengo, Charlotte Rampling with Sonia Wieder-Atherton, Mélanie De Biasio, Saul Williams, Nikos Portokaloglou, Lena Platonos, Mokina with the ERT Contemporary Music Orchestra, the Athens State Orchestra conducted by Markellos Chryssicos, the Theater of War, Dimitris Kalantzis’ quintet, Eleanor Friedberger, Heidi Latsky in collaboration with Apostolia Papadamaki, and DJ Alex Cruz. The Greek National Opera and the National Library of Greece also participated. The SNFestival also hosted the program of performances in the public space Only Connect! curated by Robert Storr, artistic director, and Barbara London, Kalliopi Minioudaki and Francesca Pietropaolo, showcasing the work of performance artists: Kim Jones, Tania Bruguera, the Mieskuoro Huutajat choir, and Paris Legakis.

A special moment of the SNFestival was the evening race SNF RUN: Running into the Future, held for the 3rd consecutive year on World Olympic Day, under the organizational supervision of NGO Regeneration & Progress and with the collaboration of the Hellenic Olympic Committee. Starting at the Panathenaic Stadium and following two different routes, of 10 and 6km respectively, as well as a 1km route for Special Olympics athletes, 4,500 runners participated in this unique event that rewards participation and effort.

Throughout the SNFestival, children and adults had the opportunity to play, learn and exercise, in multiple areas of the SNFCC, through activities designed for the whole family, like kayaking in the Canal and participating in sports tournaments. The programs were made possible with the valuable contribution of 175 volunteers, ages 16 to 67, through a volunteering program designed in collaboration with NGO Ethelon.

The fireworks at the SNFestival at the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center in Athens. Photo: SNF/Gerasimos Domenikos

The 6th Annual International SNF Conference on Philanthropy was held within the wider context of the SNFestival on June 21-23. This year’s Conference explored the theme of Creativity, Imagination and the Importance of Reactivating Public and Ethical Spaces in a Highly Polarized Society and was held for the first time at the SNFCC.

A spectacular fireworks show and one of the legendary dance-offs, under the sounds of New York based DJ Jonathan Toubin, marked the successful completion of 2017 SNFestival. The Summer Nostos Festival renews its promise to the public for June 17-24, 2018.