What can bring more than 280,000 people together in one place over a span of only a few days? People of all ages—from infants and young children, to the elderly—people who speak the same or different languages, disabled and non-disabled, people who all love the arts, sports, collaboration and dialogue, with many common but also different interests? The answer is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s (SNF) Summer Nostos Festival, which was held for the 5th year, at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC), from June 23rd to June 30th, with free admission for everyone – and we mean everyone.
This year’s rich program of events, which yielded record-breaking attendance, included a variety of artistic, musical and sports events, alongside the 8th Annual SNF Conference, the 2nd Annual SNF Agora Institute Workshop and the SNF RUN: Running into the Future.
The first day of the Summer Nostos Festival (SNFestival) 2019 coincided with the International Olympic Day (23/06) and the evening race SNF RUN: Running into the Future. This year, more than 5,800 Special Olympics runners and athletes participated in the 10, 6 and 1 km routes. The race had a charitable element and thanks to donations from the runners, a total of €15,590 was raised. With the further contribution of the SNF, the amount raised was tripled, reaching €46,770, in order to support the work of KETHIS, PASKA and PERPATO organizations. The organization of the race and that of a number of other sports activities in the context of the SNFestival was carried out by the non-profit organization Regeneration & Progress.
After eight event-filled days, the curtain was drawn on June 30th with an impressive fireworks display, and with a performance by young Schoolwave festival “graduates” at the Great Lawn!
The SNFestival will return next year from the June 21st to June 28th 2020!
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What we experienced at the Summer Nostos Festival 2019!
The 5th annual SNFestival brought together more than 700 artists who are at the epicenter of the international music scene, champions and celebrities renowned for their creativity, craftsmanship and insightfulness, such as Ernő Rubik, Brian Eno, Nigel Short, Neneh Cherry, Alkistis Protopsalti, Andrew Bird, Balthazar, Rita Wilson, Low, Yorgos Margaritis, Local Natives, Victoria Thierrée Chaplin, Liza Hannigan and s t a r g a z e, Marina Satti and of course the European champions' Legends 2004, who participated in many SNFestival events.
Two new impressive infrastructure works at the SNFCC made their debut appearance at the SNFestival: the Dome, which was placed in the Labyrinth will operate periodically throughout the year, offering a covered space at the Stavros Niarchos Park durable in all seasons; and an exciting fountain installation at the Canal, featuring water jets choreographed to accompany music. Both of these facilities, which were created on a SNF grant and initiative, enriched the experience of SNFCC visitors and will remain as permanent additions, contributing to the magic of the venue. The complete fountain show will be inaugurated on July 14th at an event, accompanied by the Orchestra of the Greek National Opera (GNO).
It is also worth noting that for the first time this year, the SNFestival commissioned art projects. The multimedia performance Triptych (Εyes of One Another), a lyrical tribute to photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, set to music by The National’s Bryce Dessner, was performed at the Stavros Niarchos Hall, following its premiere on March 5th by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The SNFCC belongs to the group of international organizations that contributed to the commissioning of this project, through the support of the SNF. The SNFestival’s commissioned projects included the multi-level music and dance project Her Mind's I, which was conceived, directed and had sets designed by Alexandros Tsolakis. The performance is based on the myth of Pandora and was presented on the GNO’s Alternative Stage.
Also for the first time this year, in an effort to give as many people as possible the opportunity to enjoy its events, the Summer Nostos Festival presented, in collaboration with LIMINAL, an show accompanied by accessibility services, offering super-title services for the deaf and hard of hearing and an audio description for blind or partially sighted festivalgoers. The relevant performance was the play The Chessboard Runaways that ran for five consecutive days in the new, impressive Dome stage in the Labyrinth.
At the 8th Annual SNF Conference, participants had the opportunity to attend interesting debates led by an unconventional mix of speakers who explored and presented issues such as inherent prejudices, the boundaries of empathy, the value and contribution of the arts to society, patterns in new forms of leadership, and the beauty revealed when architecture intersects with health. The topic of the 2020 SNF Conference, which will again be held as part of the SNFestival, is “Humanity and Artificial Intelligence”.
Following the Conference, the 2nd Annual SNF Agora Institute Workshop was held in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University, as part of the monthly SNF DIALOGUES series. The main focus of the discussion was the conditions needed to foster productive democratic dialogue and encourage participation in society more broadly.
We look forward to seeing you at the next SNFestival: 21-28 June 2020