MELBOURNE | In two weeks Melbourne’s largest Greek street party will paint the city blue and white with a bumper weekend of food, music, dancing and culture. This year’s Festival will be larger than ever, extending further down Lonsdale Street from Swanston Street right through to Exhibition Street.
The event takes over the Melbourne’s historic Greek Precinct with free entertainment across three stages, mountains of Greek street food, pop-up bars, cooking demonstrations, competitions (new and old favourites), kids activities and much more, and attracts more than 100.000 people every year.
“We are very proud of the shape the Greek Community of Melbourne’s Lonsdale Street Greek Festival has taken in recent years, and we encourage all Melburnians to experience some of the best Greek-inspired flavours our community has to offer’, Bill Papastergiadis, President of the Greek Community of Melbourne.
Kids activities and the Procal Greek Kitchen will be given dedicated spaces along Lonsdale Street (close to Exhibition Street), the Festival Bar at the corner of Lonsdale & Russell Street will have direct viewing access of the Delphi Bank Stage and the AA Holdings Stage will bookend the Festival at Swanston Street.
As previously announced, the event will be headlined by international folk musician Giannis Haroulis. A Cretan native, Haroulis is currently one of the most successful artists in Greece. Psychedelic rock and folk musician Konstantis Pistiolis (Villagers of Ioannina City) will be joining Haroulis, guaranteeing a show packed with frenetic energy.
Before Giannis Haroulis hits the stage on Saturday night, experience the UNESCO recognised tradition of Momoregi (presented by Pontiaki Estia) performed by international dancers from Kozani together with dance groups from Pontiaki Estia.
The Argonauts of the Pacific aims to uncover the cultural links between the Maori people and the Pontic Greeks through the richness of their shared seafaring histories.
Other visiting groups include dancers from the Greek Community of South Australia and the Greek Traditional Dance Group of Darwin.
It’s no secret that Greek music in Melbourne has had a revival in recent years, with a spate of new bands popping up at venues across the city. This year’s Festival is the perfect place to check out who’s who. Past favourites and newbies this year will include: The Habibis, Agapi + Friends, Anagennisi, Antheas Rubies, Beautiful People Events Melbourne, Cats and the Canary, Dio Dio and Friends, Family Drama, Glendi Band – Greek Band Melbourne Australia, Magna Grecia, Melbourne Rebetiko Ensemble, Μικρή Κομπανία / Mikri Kompania, Pascal Latra + The Philhellenes, Ravaisi – Ραβαϊσι, Santa Taranta, Stavros Matzeridis & Despina Bastas, Flying Taxi, The Silk Roads Collective, The Taxithi Project and Totally Kicking Brass.
Bands to note:
Totally Kicking Brass
Silk Roads Collective
Cats and the Canary
Drama in the Family
Pascal Latra & The Philhellenes
FESTIVAL OF FOOD
When it comes to food, Greeks don’t do things in halves. So leave your hunger at the door and bring an Olympic-sized appetite to the Festival because Lonsdale Street will be lined with some of Melbourne’s best street food providers, dishing up well-loved classics and sweet treats with a twist all weekend. Festival favourites The Cypriot Kitchen, St. Gerry’s, Ilias The Greek, Greek Trojan Yiros, Cypriot Street Grill, To Nostimo and Honey Dee Loukoumades will all return with their signature creations, as well as dozens more!
Lonsdale Street Greek Precinct stewards Stalactites, Tsindos and International Cakes will extend their trading out onto the street and others joining in the party atmosphere include Boilermaker House, Emerald Peacock, Pomodoro Sardo and Seamstress.
This year’s Festival Bar set up across from the Delphi Bank Stage on Lonsdale Street offers ideal viewing combined with a menu of tasty treats from the team at Elyros along with Greek beer, wine and spirits. Be sure to try the new Athenian Spritz made with Ottos Athens Vermouth, or a chilled Mythos beer.
PROCAL AUTHENTIC GREEK YOGURT KITCHEN
When you’re not devouring something from one of the many food stalls, take up a spot at the Procal Greek Kitchen and learn some cooking tips from some of Melbourne’s favourite chefs and cooks including Kathy Tsaples (My Sweet Greek) Phil Vakos (Bahari + Gringlish), Angela Nicolettou (Angela’s Kitchen), Mary Valle (Mary’s Kitchen) and Spiri Tsintziras (My Ikaria (out April 2018) and Afternoons in Ithaka. We welcome Festival newcomer Ella Mittas, from Gertrude Street Enoteca, who’s been running a month long event of Greek style feasts. Bar tender extraordinaire Jack Sotti of Boilermaker House gets back to his Greek roots, mixing some pretty special Greek inspired cocktails. You can also learn how to brew the perfect Greek coffee from our friends at Oasis and Vikki Moursellas (My Kitchen Rules) returns to host the weekend.
Come dusk, the Greek Kitchen will be transformed into a ‘taverna’, with many styles of Greek music being played and plenty of dancing on the street encouraged.
FOR LITTLE ONES
Keep the little ones entertained with a weekend-long program of entertainment and activities. In the Kids Zoneour youngest Festival goers can enjoy face painting, craft activities, balloon twisting, magic shows and rides.
The Lonsdale St Greek Festival has become synonymous with the Zorba ’til You Drop dancing competition, where participants dance the traditional ‘Hasaposerviko’ non-stop-til-they-literally-drop for a chance to win a a return trip to Greece thanks to Touchdown Tours. Aspiring performers can enter the Magic Mic singing competition held on the AA Holdings Stage and this year we introduce the My Baklava is Better than Yours where we invite the public to impress our judges with their Baklava recipe. Registrations are still open for all competitions from greekcentre.com.au
LARGEST ZORBA DANCE ATTEMPT
Taking advantage of the thousands that flood Lonsdale Street during the weekend, the Festival will attempt to stage the Largest Zorba Dance. At 4pm on Sunday 11 February all stages will pause and we invite anyone keen to set a world record to link arms and unite to form the largest Zorba Dance. Be part of the fun and make some history.
WATCH + LISTEN
Three performance stages will be positioned from Swanston street through to Exhibition Street where local and international acts keep audiences entertained all weekend. The AA Holdings Stage will host the Magic Mic singing competition as well as a number of local and interstate dancing groups reflecting the many regions of Greece plus an outside broadcast from SBS Radio and DJs from Rythmos Digital radio.
PLAN YOUR JOURNEY TO THE FESTIVAL
Show us your bike! Cycle to the Festival and we’ll shout you a coffee. Come past the Accreditation Tent at the corner of Russell & Lonsdale Streets and we’ll give you a voucher to use at the Festival.
Leave the car at home, and take any city bound train, tram or bus towards the CBD and head towards the historic Greek precinct (between Swanston & Russell Street).
The 31st Lonsdale St Greek Festival is a Greek Community of Melbourne event. It is held in Lonsdale Street Melbourne on Saturday 10 + 11 February 2018.