Peaceful Ejekt Pleases Promoter

Although the fallout from last year’s event is still rumbling through the Greek courts, Ejekt festival chief Giannis Paltoglou was happy to report this year’s festival was a more peaceful gathering.

This year’s June 28 festival at the Olympic fencing centre in Athens attracted a nearly sold-out crowd of about 14,000. The festival was moved across Athens because the company that organizes Ejekt is in dispute with the owners of the Olympic park at Hellinikon over whose insurance company should pick up the tab for the 2007 damage.

Last year Paltoglou was critical of the local police and fire department, saying they could have done more to stop a riot that led to one security guard stabbed to death and two others left in comas.

Police turned up three hours after they were called to the event, and several people including Underworld’s Rick Smith had already been hospitalised.

The trouble began at about 9:15 p.m. when a gang of 30 masked anarchists turned up with knives, iron bars, baseball bats and Molotov cocktails.

The security guards at the gate stopped them from entering the site but the anarchists forced their way in within 30 minutes and began running amok among the 10,000-person crowd.

They burned cars, looted bars and merchandise stalls and hurled rocks at the backstage area.

Acts including Madness and Beastie Boys managed to perform but the event was stopped when the gang closed in on the backstage area and tried to smash the PA, the LED screens and dressing rooms.

Paltoglou said two patrol cars were torched as the gang made its way to the site. Two banks were set aflame as the group made its way back to Athens.

This year security was increased but Paltoglou says last year’s problems weren’t related to the festival, but rather because it found itself in the path of an angry political demonstration.

The acts who were no doubt relieved about not having to duck the Molotov cocktails in 2008 included James, Stereo MCs, Hercules & Love Affair, U.N.K.L.E., Niko Vandoro, Digitalism and Tech Soir.