A small state of culture and volunteering, the EDON Festival, comes to life between 5-7th of July in the moat of the Famagusta Gate in Nicosia.
“Voice International” interviewed Seviros Koullas, the General Secretary of EDON, who talked about the content of this year’s festival and the broader significance of the event.
35th EDON Festival: What’s special about this year?
This year, the main stage opens with “Coverdoze” (Cypriot band) performing for the first time. On the second night, “Prospectus” will perform a musical tribute in memory of Nikolas Filetas, a dedicated companion of EDON and the Festival. The third night will feature a debut performance by the Cypriot band “Nofreno”. We will also have Greek hip-hop artists making their first appearance on the second stage and the main concerts will welcome the first-time participation of Matoulla Zamani, the return of Natasa Bofiliou after two years, and Vasilis Papakonstantinou is going to celebrate 50 years of musical presence. On the folk stage, we will have Cypriot bands with folk programmes on the first and third night, while on the second night, alongside Natasa Bofiliou’s concert, Dimitris Basis will perform a musical tribute to Nikos Kazantzidis and Dimitris Mitropanos. Moreover, the festival offers a rich programme with dance performances, artist presentations, and much more in thematic centres and venues, in addition to the concerts.
“Moving Forward! In today’s fights, for tomorrow’s world,” is inscribed in this year’s festival slogan. What does it aim to highlight?
Initially, let us mention that our festival has a slogan because it is not merely three concerts; it is a sociopolitical and cultural event. This year’s emblem aims to demonstrate how we fight for a better education system, university, and overall a better life in the present, while always keeping our eyes on building a better society—the vision we aspire to construct. We can say that in slogans, in general, we strive to convey the pulse, the sentiment, or the political necessity of the year. That is why each year we choose something new and relevant to accompany it.
How does the festival engage with multilingual and non-Greek communities living in Cyprus?
Beginning with the festival poster, it is translated into English and Turkish, as well as our programme, which is published online. It’s worth mentioning that we put up posters in both the southern and northern parts of the island. We distribute informational flyers in various youth centres to reach Turkish Cypriots, as the material is available in English and in our thematic centres where our positions are presented. One new addition this year is the use of QR codes, which direct interested individuals to a trilingual text (Greek, Turkish, English) when scanned. During the festival, there is a “bicommunal corner” dedicated to Cypriot culture and tradition with representations from Turkish Cypriot organisations and Turkish Cypriots in general, serving as a space for the exchange of ideas, opinions, and discussions among visitors, especially young Turkish Cypriots and those who feel young. We showcase common culture, shared customs, and engage in interactive language games and other activities. In previous festivals, we also had representations from migrants living in Cyprus from other communities. Additionally, we have the “International Corner,” a section with over 15-20 representations of foreign sister youth organisations of EDON because internationalism, as a whole, is a fundamental principle of the Left and EDON. I would say that we strive for an element of inclusivity. Although Turkish Cypriots’ case is not just about inclusivity but mainly a political priority for us. The “bicommunal corner” is the core of EDON’s actions, as well as our festival.