The Greek Festival of Sydney is one of Australia's largest and longest running annual cultural events and is the most attended Greek-Australian community event in NSW.
Over the last 35 years The Festival has played a key role in providing a forum for showcasing a multitude of Greek and multi-cultural expressions by featuring the finest Greek-Australian talent alongside the most acclaimed Greek artists in the world today.
In February 2017 the Greek Festival of Sydney will celebrate its 35th year as one of Sydney's premier cultural events.
The Festival is a cultural celebration of Greek-Australian lifestyle, culture and heritage however its appeal is much broader reflecting the rich and diverse multicultural nature of Australia and it has evolved into the most prestigious and important Greek-Australian community event in NSW.
The Festival, traditionally a three or four week celebration, combines high caliber ticketed events with popular free events such as the festival's flagship event, the Street Fair, which attracts over 30,000 people annually.
The Greek Festival of Sydney was established in 1980 by the Greek Community Council, a body representing all the major Greek organisations of the time. In a climate sympathetic to multiculturalism, it arose out of the Greek Community's need to express and to maintain cultural and artistic practices. The festival sought to do this through a variety of cultural events such as theatrical performances, concerts, lectures, film screenings etc, aiming to promote Greek culture not just within the Greek Community but also within the broader context of the Australian community.
The Festival is funded by The Greek Orthodox Community of NSW (GOC). One of the primary aims of the GOC is to not only meet its members' cultural and artistic aspirations but to showcase the very best of Greek and Greek-Australian Culture to a wide audience.
about pic1Greece has been stamping its cultural identity on the world for centuries and its culture is becoming more and more entrenched in contemporary and mainstream Australia (Sydney has one of the largest Greek populations of any city in any country in the world - including Greece!). This is largely due to Greece's remarkably rich cultural diversity, artistic energy and passion for entertainment as well as the emergence and influence of Greek-Australians within the Australian artistic and cultural scene.
Cultural diversity is an intrinsic part of Australian society. Celebrating this diversity in the form of an arts festival further legitimises it and provides an enormous boost to the collective self-esteem of the Greek community.
With the emergence of these second and third generation Greek/Australians has come the need to create hybrid cultural expressions, which draw their inspiration not only from the shared migrant experience of previous generations but also from a sense of identity which incorporates Greek roots with contemporary Australian experiences. Increasingly, Greek-Australians are looking outward rather than inward - confidently, if self-consciously acknowledging that they are part of the Diaspora while attempting to distil the essence of their Greekness in an Australian context. As the prestige of the event grows, it is also attracting more and more the attention of mainstream academics and artists.
The Greek Festival has played a key role in providing a forum for showcasing these cultural expressions and aspirations. Over the years, the Festival has seen a vast increase in the diversity of the program of events. This has been matched by a growth in attendance estimated at around 50,000 participants annually - representing a four-fold increase in the last four years.
The long-term aim of the Festival and the Greek Orthodox Community is to establish a permanent cultural centre to ensure continuity in the artistic life of future generations of Greek Australians and their fellow citizens. Many realities for migrant communities have started as dreams. Let us hope this is no exception!