In Sani Resort, in 1992, when the first Sani Festival was staged on Sani Hill, there was excitement and unavoidable stress, expectations, the ambition to keep going, and concern regarding the size this cultural initiative – unique for Greek standards – would reach. And here we are: This year, Sani Festival, one of the first private initiatives in Greece at the time, is celebrating its 25 anniversary, an institution that is popular around the world with major fans, who can’t wait for it to begin every summer.
25 years later, the secret of its success was its dedication to creating its own personality, an identity, and artistic quality, the right foundation on which it was set up to begin with: selecting artists according to strict artistic merit and proper communication of the event, which made opening doors to international art circles easy. The response was enthusiastic. “25 years is not a short period of time, especially for a festival that started on an amateur basis, for the fun of it. It is an achievement, if I do say so myself, to still be standing in the cultural landscape of Greece after so many years, and to stand out in your own artistically unique way, bridging the two main pillars of Greek industry: tourism and culture”, stressed the festival’s artistic director, Olga Tabouris-Babalis.
Her goal was for the Festival to have a specific cultural mark, an artistic identity in the framework of a thematically structured programme. What started off as ‘Jazz on the Hill’ soon acquired “sisters” – ‘Sani Classic, Sounds of the World, Greek Variations, cinematic music, theatre and visual projects, and so on – which led to its growth, and recognition by an even broader audience. If its invitations being accepted by major artists showed its dynamism from the very beginning, the enthusiastic response from legendary international artists along the way, raised it to the top of such events. “This is how”, the artistic director continued, “at this 25 anniversary we have invited our favourite artists from the international and Greek stage, some of whom we first introduced live to the Greece audience, so that we may all celebrate together. We will also have first time guests, whose work we recognise and love”