Greek Live Music Biz In Limbo

While Greece appears to be facing far worse austerity than that it voted against a week ago and with restrictions on the banks still in place, the country’s live music promoters have no idea what the future holds.

Photo: AP Photo / Kostas Tsironis
 Protestors clash with Greek riot police following the stabbing of 34-year-old musician and anti-fascist acvitst Pavlos Fyssas Sept. 18.

So far they have shown a determination to press ahead but crowds appear to be down and there must be a limit to how long it can go on.

Local sources suggest the annual Rockwave Festival, which is more a series of shows spread across the summer, had 17,000 for Black Keys, 14,000 for Robbie Williams and 10,000 for The Prodigy. “Besides ‘the nobody knows what will happen’ feeling, it seems that the Greeks have the wish to continue and move on with their lives – as much as the current situation allows of course,” explained Noula Gkioumousgkiertani of Charmenko’s Athens office, which acts as an intermediary for many of the international acts visiting the country. “Banks are underworking, such as daily withdrawal limit from ATMs at euro 50 per day and euro 120 at the cash desks.

“There are no transactions with abroad so the conclusion is a general cash flow problem which affects all aspects of daily life – personal or professional.

“Considering that Greece is at the beginning of the first wave of summer holidays, I believe the real effects and results will be obvious at the end of August and mainly in September when we will have a clearer picture.

“Even if the world goes upside down, the Greeks won’t postpone their holidays.”

Giannis Paltoglou of Ejekt Festival, who was intending to go ahead with the event July 15, the next major attraction involving international acts, says shows are going ahead because it’s not possible to cancel them.

“Even if we cancelled a show, how will we be able to give the people their money back when the banks are closed?” he explained. The acts scheduled to play Ejekt included Parov Stelar Band, The Mojo Radio Gang, and Booty Swing.