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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 02 March 2019
6 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 2 MARCH 2019 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Fresh appeal at the 32nd Lonsdale Street Greek Festival The Greek Pontian dancers were impressive when they took the stage. ZOE THOMAIDOU O nce again, the Lonsdale Street Greek Festival lived up to its reputation for being the world's largest outdoor Greek festival outside Greece. Tens of thousands attended the annual street party's 32nd anniversary and if you had the chance to spend even a couple of hours there, you'd know nothing was missing. From impressive dance performances, live music, DJ sets and acclaimed artists - including the sensational Eleonora Zouganeli - through to public competitions, kids activities and traditional cooking, every little corner was set-up in a way to ensure people of all ages, nationalities and tastes had a reason to be happy. But according to festival co-chair Jim Bossinakis, one of the biggest success stories from this year's event was the overwhelming presence of the younger generation. "It was really pleasing to see that we flipped the attendees and the participants to a younger demographic. This is something that has been happening for quite a while but it was also evidenced for me this weekend," he enthuses. "I do believe it's got to be multifaceted and have broad-based appeal and it's got to be something that the youth are going to take on board because it's an evolving festival, it's not static; if it were that would be problematic." Targeted efforts to attract young revellers, as well as an improved set-up, contributed to this, Bossinakis explains, citing as an example the crowd distribution to smaller stages, with the #lovelonsdale stage boasting modern vibes and "a bit more of a Melbourne feel with a bar right next to it", while the AA holdings stage on the other end featured more traditional performances. Being a GOCMV board member since 2009 with active involvement in the annual organising of the event, including having served as a secretary of the Antipodes festival, Bossinakis was by no means unfamiliar with the logistics and work required for Melbourne's big Greek weekend. It was however his first year as the festival's cochair, along with Leonidas Vlahakis, assuming the position previously held by current GOCMV vicepresident Tammy Iliou. Their mentoring and guidance was invaluable says Bossinakis, and reflective of the organisation's genuine interest for delivering a successful festival. "As a Greek community we are very committed to the event and we try to make it better every year by instituting some changes... The layout was better this year, considering as well it was extended to Exhibition Street". Acknowledging Director of the Festival Jorge Menidis with his crew as the genius behind the big undertaking, Bossinakis pays special tribute to the volunteers team. "They are just incredible, what they do is clearly amazing. They start around 5am Saturday morning and finish around that time on Monday. It's a pretty monster event, you end up running on adrenaline for a long period of time, but it's a lot of fun for the people involved. "I just want to thank everybody that participated, all the people that came and the volunteers." And while the organising team is still due to meet and reflect over the past weekend, feedback received certainly backs big plans for next year. "If people have any ideas about things they want to see or how they want us to improve, just get in contact with us. "I've already had some suggestions for who should headline next year, " Bossinakis reveals adding it is still early though. What he can confirm is their commitment for "a bigger and better festival next year", along with continuing to target youth involvement. "It's going to become their festival... It's really for them to take over and steer it in a way that they want it to go."
23 February 2019
09 March 2019