On the way to the Technopolis Jazz Festival last night, another austerity demonstration affected transportation near Syntagma Square. The riot police closed the Syntagma Metro station, making it complicated to get around central Athens.
It was interesting watching people diverted from their intended route on the underground randomly pack into other trains. I chatted with locals on their way to Gazi and overheard comments about the police using tear gas to quash protestors.
The Gazi district comes alive at night when its imperfections are hidden by music, lights, and artists displaying their crafts. It’s a warm, comfortable atmosphere.
The jazz festival was an eclectic gathering – from beautiful, stylish young Athenians strolling by or hanging off slowly moving motorcycles, to gay and straight couples, tourists, weathered locals, street children selling overpriced wilted flowers, and interesting looking artists with grey hair and wrinkles. Everyone was natural and friendly – a fun atmosphere. I had a light meal before the music began and found a spot at a restaurant along the main thoroughfare – great for crowd watching.
“After 12 successful years the Jazz festival opened its doors to the rest of the world in 2013 as the International Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival. It’s a great celebration of jazz music hosting musicians from all over the world.”
The venue takes place over three days with three hours of music each night. The groups perform hour-long sets beginning at 9:00 pm and ending at midnight.
The performing artists were magnificent! The only issue was a lack of seating but it worked out with many people sitting along the cobbled street and cafés setting up tables around the perimeter. After another hot day the evening brought a cool breeze to the crowd. Enjoyed the time so much I’m planning to attend another performance tonight or Sunday. The jazz festival is free to the public. I wanted to have a photo taken with the Big Band’s piano player but it didn’t happen… His playing was fantastic!
The festival includes jazz groups from 12 countries – Portugal, Israel, Denmark, Hungary, Spain, Poland, Italy, Greece, Argentina, Austria, Ireland, and The Netherlands. One group called the PIIGS has band members from – Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain.
The festival features the most representative groups and ensembles in jazz. All performers are well established worldwide and present a brilliant and satisfying range of music genres. Unfortunately there were no groups from the US.
These are some of the talented performers participating:
- Big Band – Athens
- Laurent Filipe Ar Trio – Portugal
- Phronesis – Denmark
- Serrano & Lechner – Spain
- Contemporary Noise Sextet – Poland
- Yorgos Krommydas Modern Jazz Quintet – Greece
- Roman Gomez trio – Argentina
- Shai Maestro Feat – Israel
- Michaela Rabitsch & Robert Pawlik – Austria
- Ramon Valle Trio – The Netherlands