There is a long history of art festivals in Lefkás dating back to the 1st and 2nd Delphic festivals in Lefkás in the 1920’s.
We then got the Speech and Art festival in 1955. After this the organiser Antonis Tzevelekis came up with the International Folklore Festival. This started in 1962 and is now held every August. Initially it had only 3 countries but has now blossomed to hundreds of thousands of participants each and every year.
In the above picture it notes that Maria Callas turned up in 1964 to help kick the celebrations off.
It also mentions that in 1995 the then president of the Greek parliament Apostolis Kaklamanis who was himself a Lefkádian was attending.
The organiser Antonis Tzevelekis was himself commemorated when he died in 1989 after 30 years of dedicated to the cause. He also has a street and a square dedicated to himself in Lefkás town but I’m yet to come across a statue of his.
In the Cultural centre in Lefkás town there is a floor that contains all sorts of information about the yearly folklore festival. It costs a € to enter but you won’t know this until you open the door and someone comes rushing forward to tell you.
It’s worth it though as you get to see musical instruments from past participating countries as well as national costumes and dolls.
You can even try them on (not the above ones but a special selection provided for you.) But I didn’t get the feeling that was a good idea despite the empty changing room and available full length mirror. You get the idea your trespassing during the whole cultural centre not just the upper floor as it’s so empty. It feels abandoned despite it being open, staffed and well maintained.
There is also a room full of objects belonging to Antonis Tzevelekis and these phrases which are not translated but tell you about his life.
There is of course the Mardi Gras festival they have every year to celebrate the beginning of Lent. The costumes always look fantastic from the pictures friends put online and compare to festivals I have been to like Pirates Week and Batabano in the Cayman Islands as well as Notting Hill carnival in London.
The celebrations in New Orleans, the Canary Islands and Rio de Janeiro are similar I believe as there all for the same reason.
Since I’m never here that early in the season (February) I can’t tell you or show what it’s really like.
Are there any specific arts festivals where you are?