Nikos Vertis wows the crowd at Melbourne’s Antipodes Festival

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Thousands of enthusiastic Melburnians packed the historic Greek heart of Melbourne for the first Antipodes Festival in nearly two years.

Headlining the Festival, Greek singer Nikos Vertis brought his full 15 piece band and stage show to the Bendigo Bank Main stage playing his hits to an adoring crowd. His 90 minute performance wowed the adoring crowd who came out in their thousands to see the Greek musical star.

On the #LoveLonsdale Stage, the program featured music, dance, a yoghurt face bonbbing competition and culminated in a special performance by Cretan musicians Giannis Tsourdalakis and Giorgos Psarakis who inspired the enthusiastic crowd to break out in Cretan dancing well into the night.

“It has been a huge effort to get the Festival up and running this year” said Festival chair Leonidas Vlahakis. “We don’t normally play at this time of the year but we have been keen to get our events up and running again so here we are in October closing down Lonsdale Street for a good old fashioned Glendi”.

Alongside the rides and 80 pop up market stalls, the Festival’s kids program featured traditional shadow puppetry called “Karagiozi”. The popular performances were staged by the Greek Community of Melbourne’s education team and featured puppeteers Dean Kalymniou and Jeremy Artis.

“Melbourne had a Greek heartbeat last night” said Spiridoula Demetriou, GCM Cultural Programs committee member who highlighted the newly unveiled Parthenon Frieze replica that now adorns the Greek Centre balcony and was unveiled by Premier Dan Andrews as a personal highlight. “Its been a great event and in amongst the fun and entertainment the unveiling of the stunning Parthenon Frieze replica on the Greek Centre balcony was particularly poignant for me.”

In his address to the large crowd at the official event opening, Premier Daniel Andrews who was joined on stage by the leader of the opposition Matthew Guy, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Andrew Giles, the Junior Minister for Home Defence of Greece, members of council, parliament and the Greek Orthodox church and the visiting Lord Mayor of Kalamata, the Premier both unveiled the $500,000 frieze and committed his Government to continuing to fund Antipodes to the tune of $200,000 per year for the next four years.

“The Festival has been great, and the announcement of the ongoing Government support by the Victorian Government allows us to continue to plan to make the next Festival even better” said Greek Community of Melbourne Vice President Dr Jim Bossinakis. 

The Festival will return on 25 and 26 February in 2023.

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