Twelve years on ...
Posted by Christos on Thursday, March 08, 2007

I have been looking again at some of the videos I have recorded in the thirteen years that I have had a camcorder.

I am struck by the difference between my pictures of the Sardine Festival in Skala Kallonis in 1994, and the Festival in the last few years.

In 1994, the Square was full of people dancing - mostly local people, but a few visitors too.

In 2006, the Square was full of tables, with people eating and drinking (and paying of course) and half-watching a performance by a trained dancing group. Very few of the people in the Square are actually dancing.

The other big difference is in the music. In 1994, most of the music was traditional music, much of it songs from old Smyrna. In 2006, most of the music is modern 'pop', songs that come from the recordings made by the big recording companies in Athens.
The reason for the change is of course commercial. Putting on the Festival is very expensive, especially when the performers come from Athens and further afield. The cost is borne by the Municipality, who are keen to draw in people from all over Greece, from all over Europe and indeed from all over the world to visit the village as paying tourists. The bars and tavernas in the village are expected to contribute to the cost, and not unreasonably they expect some return on their investment. People who are eating and drinking pay bills; people who are dancing do not. And so the Square is now full of people sitting at tables, rather than people dancing. Nowadays there is not much room for dancing!

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