Elvis Costello, Diana Krall and Jethro Tull will be the first acts to play the new 3,500-seat outdoor theatre Big Star Promotion is opening on part of the Rockwave Festival site near Athens.
The new venue is the latest phase of Big Star and sister company Didi Music’s plans to develop the area, which is about 30 miles outside of the Greek capital on the way to Lamia.
The companies acquired a 15-acre chunk of the Terra Vibe site in 2004 and tripled its size by buying or obtaining long-term leases on 30 acres of adjoining land in 2007.
The original purchase was to find a permanent home for Rockwave, one of southeast Europe’s oldest and best-known festivals. The festival had previously shifted from venue to venue, including the 18,000-capacity Park Of Ecological Awareness in Athens and the city’s 12,000-capacity Olympic Velodrome.
The summer of 2002 had been the final straw when, at 10 days notice, the Greek government forced its Ministry of Transport and Communications to withdraw the permission it had given for the event to be held on a 50,000-capacity site at the eastern terminal of Athens Airport.
The government cited safety grounds and doubts about the police’s ability to handle the event.
When the Terra Vibe site was expanded, DiDi Music president Nik Loris told Pollstar the extra space would help the venue’s operational expansion, enabling it to stage a wider range of live shows, sports meetings and corporate events. It also gave the company a chance to increase the capacity of Rockwave.
Greece’s major promoter has had mixed fortunes through the first two years of developing Terra Vibe Park.
In a 2007 poll carried out by Rocking.gr online music magazine, four of the six shows that fans voted as best of the year were staged there.
In the same year the new Terra Vibe Festival that Big Star was promoting on the site was canceled at three days notice because fires sweeping the region had already cost 65 lives and left more than 16,000 people homeless.
The new theatre-style arena, which opens with an Elvis Costello & Sugarcanes show July 3, gives Big Star the chance to create a series of summer shows featuring international acts in beautiful surroundings. Krall plays the following day and Jethro Tull a couple of weeks later.
It’s also promising contemporary eco-friendly architecture with all the modern practical comforts.
Confident of having use of 45 acres of the park for the longer term, Loris and business partner Nana Trandou have developed the area’s infrastructure to include parking spaces and permanent, fully equipped toilet facilities.
“It’s the most beautiful open space that’s so near to Athens and it’s become a place where people like to escape,” Trandou said.
Earlier improvements include the installation of a permanent stage with a 130-ton steel stage roof that’s capable of flying even the largest touring productions. It was chosen as the site where Sonisphere Festival will make its Greek debut this summer.
The new theatre has a VIP ticket area with a buffet bar that has an excellent view of the stage.