Olympus Festival was established in 1972 – initially under the name “Feasts of the Muses” – and was transformed through time into a modern cultural institution. For more than five decades, Olympus Festival has been one of the leading cultural organizations for the Performing Arts in Greece, with international perspective. It brings (traditional) dance, theater, music and arts closer to modern reality, providing a unique experience. Taking place both in ancient sites and modern premises, the various events connect the past with the present. Olympus Festival remains a rare spectacle and at the same time a unique opportunity for the loyal fans of festivals who dream of mild weather, fresh air and a breathtaking landscape in combination with exciting performances. Since 2010, the establishment of the institution of the “honored country” turned the festival into an important agent of cultural diplomacy and led to cooperation with the largest cultural centers and museums of these countries (Louvre Museum, Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation, Cervantes Institute, Russian Cultural Center etc.).
The mission of Olympus Festival is to support and promote artistic expression, to make arts accessible to all, to reveal the Greek culture and heritage, to connect the local perspective with the global one and to contribute to the economic growth through the development of tourism.
Olympus Festival is a great celebration of the art and culture, of the past and present of the country. Every year, during the summer, for two consecutive months, the region experiences an explosion of creative energy from all over Greece and from different parts of the world, which is transmitted to the public in unusual outdoor spaces and areas in various locations. Recognized but also unknown artists, aiming at boosting their career, give their best. The festival caters for everyone and for every taste, promoting theater, ancient and modern, dance, children's performances, music, exhibitions and archeological events. Through a culture of live performing arts, the festival cultivates understanding, entertainment and education, an attitude of appreciation and respect for arts, as well as for local heritage and tradition.
Experiential and interactive activities
Three years ago, OR.FE.O established the Multimodal Activities Lab for children and adolescents aiming at the improvement of their cultural capital, their multimodal literacy, the promotion and strengthening of their creativity through their participation in actions that combine all forms of arts. The curriculum includes theoretical courses and practice in experiential and artistic practices.
In the future plans of OR.FE.O there are thoughts to further develop this kind of activities, especially in the framework of its own productions created and presented in collaboration with other organizations in Greece and abroad. For example, productions in theater and especially in Dion (there are two ancient theaters, the Hellenistic and the Roman), in music (in the Roman Conservatory of Dion), in archeology (in the Archaeological Park of Dion), in visual arts, mainly the mosaics (in the Mosaic Lab of the Mediterranean Mosaic Center in Dion).
Concerning artistic innovations, the last years, Olympus Festival has established the institution of Archaeological Walks, with the guided tour of visitors to one of the many archaeological sites of Pieria, during which there are many unexpected events that pleasantly surprise sightseers.
Recently, due to the pandemic, the use of digital systems for the broadcast of events has been introduced. Methods for measuring spectator impressions, profile and origin are also used by the International University of Greece, School of Management and Economics.
Main features and services that attract public
The reliability and the quality of the performances. The diversity of artistic and cultural expressions. The entertaining and at the same time educational content of the performances. The addition of new artistic movements and styles that create unique experiences and long-lasting memories. The venues of the events, the provision of high-quality services, the perfect organization, and the elaborate infrastructure.
Key partners and supporters
Olympus Festival Organization collaborates with two state theaters of Greece, that of Athens and Thessaloniki, and also with various regional theaters, with private artistic organizations and international cultural institutions.
Local art groups, music schools, cultural associations, volunteer groups and individual volunteers, mainly students, also participate in the activities.
Regarding sponsorship: The Olympus Festival Organization is a non-profit cultural entity. Without access to any state assistance and subsidy, the funding of the festival comes mainly from the tickets of each event and from sponsorships and donations of companies and individuals and occasionally from donation of the state. Local bodies, the Sub-regional Administration, Municipalities, and the Chamber of Pieria, also contribute financially.
Participants, local community and customer segment
Local community, inhabitants from all over Central Macedonia, West Macedonia and Thessaly regions and especially the neighboring regional units of Larissa, Kozani, Imathia and Thessaloniki, as well as visitors coming from abroad.
Communication and dissemination channels
Distribution of printed program, promotion in the media, presentation of the program in various Greek cities, Athens, Thessaloniki, Larissa, Kozani, Veria, etc., internet, press conferences, posting of posters and announcements in allowed places.
Specific elements and features
Managerial and organizational specifics
The body responsible for the implementation of the events is the "Olympus Festival Organization" (OR.FE.O), a non-profit culture organization, whose members are people of letters, art and representatives of all the bodies of Pieria and the Local Government. The highest body of OR.FE.O is the Board of directors which consists of 9 members who are elected every three years by the General Assembly of the partners of the organization, which amount to about 250 people.
The organizational structure of OR.FE.O is the following:
Infrastructure and Events Planning Office (technical staff), which is headed by a member of the Board, prepares the venues of the events, and generally has the responsibility in everything related to the organizational part of the activities.
Promotion and Public Relations Office (journalism and communication executives), which is headed by a member of the Board, coordinates the promotion, the reception, the collaborations, etc.
Sponsorship and Volunteering Office (people from society, the business sector and volunteer groups), which is headed by a member of the Board, is responsible for finding sponsors, donations and volunteers.
Artistic Committee (persons of the art world), in charge of which is the Artistic Director, is responsible for the development of the artistic program and everything related to the artistic part of the festival.
Legal Support Office (consists of two lawyers appointed by the Board).
Management Committee (mini-Board consisting of 5 members of the Board) has the authority by the Board to handle immediate and extraordinary issues during the festival.
Accessibility to the venues of the events is mainly made by car through the national and provincial network, as they are located near to the national road Athens - Thessaloniki (E75). The festival also provides city buses from Katerini especially for the activities. There is organized parking as well as parking for people with disabilities.
Liaison with other activities and events of the Black Sea Basin region
Within the framework of the institution of the “honored country”, Olympus Festival cooperated with Romania in 2016. Until 2020, the festival has also cooperated with the following countries: France, Spain, Russia, Norway, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Morocco, Cyprus and Israel. The aim of the institution is to deepen the friendship between Greece and the host country and to present its cultural peculiarities. Some of the events are exclusively for the artists of the honored country, and the film is increasingly used as a means to bring the public closer to its culture.
Image Sources: Olympus Festival, https://festivalolympou.gr/
Olympus Festival takes place in the Regional Unit of Pieria, located in the southwest part of the Region of Central Macedonia, in several sites at the foot of Mount Olympus, the mythical home of the Greek Gods, and the Olympus National Park. The various events and activities take place in important archeological sites dating from the Hellenistic and Byzantine eras, such as: the ancient theater and the Roman Odeion (Conservatory) in the archeological park of Dion, the Platamon Byzantine Castle, the Ancient Livithra, the Ancient Pydna, the Byzantine Church Panagia Kondariotissa in the northwest of Dion, and the Byzantine archeological site in Louloudies Kitrous. Also, several events and activities take place in modern premises in the area, such as: the Mediterranean Mosaic Center in Dion, the Park Theater of Katerini, the Municipal Theater of Kolindros, the Open Theater of Palios Panteleimonas, the Open Theater of Litochoro Park, the Museum of Natural History in Olympus National Park, and the Museum Warehouse of Makrigialos next to Ancient Pydna.
Olympus Festival takes place every summer in July and August.
Organizer and contact information
Olympus Festival Organization (OR.FE.O),
28th October str 40, Katerini.
Telephone number: 2351076041,