Samothraki Dance Festival. 2003

Strength in Masses

Author: Yoyo
Date: Sep 30, 2003
Views: 5260

Sep 30, 2003 - Text: Yoyo - Photos: Sam

Every year for three years now Samothraki Island in the Thraki Sea off the coast of Greece has held an incredible trance gathering where participants from all around the globe unite and dance to an amazing line up of pure trance sound. The Island boasts some of the cleanest crystal water pebble beaches and spectacular waterfalls surrounded by a nature reserve filled with giant sycamore trees, goats, lizards and other small fauna; but that is not all the island has to offer. The Port Kamariotissa has an array of coffee shops and restaurants and the Island is speckled with cute hotels, campsites and guesthouses tucked into the landscape. In fact only three thousand locals inhabit Samothraki and the island has seen man 1085 years before Christ. It was told in Greek Mythology that Poseidon swam here and climbed the mountain to the second peak where he built his throne and watched the Trojan war from there.

One of the most spectacular parts of the Island is Mt. Fagari, meaning moon in Greek. The mountain is 1610 meters high and looms over the land like a God. Once volcanic and a strong energy vortex, Mt Fagari now rests and brings water to the entire island from deep lakes under the ocean. The water flows down solid rock faces creating quite an impressive show towards the ocean beneath.

For a trance party, the place is magical. It was believed that Plato and Pythagoras were once here performing secret rituals up on the mountain where they contacted the spiritual world. Not much has changed on the island since then. Still some ruins remain and its natural beauty is unchanged.

Then come Mike Athanassakis and Mike Simopoulos into the picture. They had met at Boom while traveling and had a vision to put on a huge festival in Samothraki. Bringing back the ancient culture that once took place in Greece. After a lot of hard work and investing all their time and money they finally partnered with the municipality on the island and brought us the first Samothraki party. It was a great success. People gathered here from around the world. The music was good and they proved they had what it takes to create a great ripple that turned into thundering wave. Samothraki back then was one of the most talked about parties in the world. The next year people came back, again the party rocked and the third festival came into being.

This year we had gotten here early. Camped on one of the serene beaches and waited for the festival to begin. More and more people trickled off the ferries from the mainland into the camp area. This place soon became full of colorful crowds, cars, campers, vans and decoration. The market area was really well organized all at one end of the festival and lit up by authentic Chinese lanterns creating a pleasant ambiance. Lots of colorful stores filled the area where one could buy quite a large assortment of goodies including clothes, decoration and accessories. Food was in abundance and one could get anything from vegetarian, sushi and traditional Greek food and deserts. Refreshments filled the bar areas around the camp. More than eighty percent of the people were international and twenty percent Greek. The line up was filled with top names like GMS, Dino Psaris, Hallucinogen, Koxbox, Tristan, Bamboo forest, Edwardo and many more. People were here for the music. That is sure.

Alex Bone was the main decorator and an extraordinary artist in the scene. He did the second years chill out area. He created some marvelous mushrooms on the main floor together with paintings set in a natural flow with the nature. No lasers and a more natural theme engulfed the central arena. Tribe of Frog did the Chill out under the guide of Arash Atman a major part of the Samothraki production. They came on site and built fifty butterflies, set them in the trees with other structures and a large backdrop behind the stage. There was a nice environment at both stages and from a far it looked like a little wonderland. All was prepared. The stage set up by two pro stage managers, John Chester from Dragonfly and Peter Digital. The people ready. The music was about to begin. With the sun setting when the first beat came in the crowd roared and the stomping began. Two days passed under the sun and stars while the music thundered at 150K sound straight into the sea.

Photo by Sam
A view from Samothraki's highest mountain Mt. Fagari on the Festival

Photo by Sam
Samothraki Main Floor

Photo by Sam

Photo by Sam
Hallucinogen live at Samothraki Festival

Photo by Sam

Photo by Sam

Photo by Sam
Medicine Dog

Photo by Sam

   

Photo by Sam
Chill Out at Samothraki

Photo by Sam

Photo by Sam
Chill Out at Samothraki

Photo by Sam
Nick Mindscapes doing visuals at Samothraki

Photo by Sam

Photo by Sam

Then the shock came. Police with dogs raided the camp. They had come with a court order under the reins of an Alexandropolis judge who has made it her mission to stop the festival. The organizers did everything in their power to stop them but could not. Holding their own lives on the line to keep the party going. There was no stopping the police. They arrested several people and took them off to the courts in Alexandropolis. Mike Simopoulos went there with a team of lawyers to help people with the trials and most came out with small bails.

People at the festival were shocked. Their freedom had been broken by the police. There was paranoia around the camp and lots of rumors went around but most people were unfazed and didn’t really care about the police. No one really knew what happened and the party amazingly went forward and on schedule. With no one sure of the police and the given that some under cover agents were still in the camp some mood in the festival dropped for a day but the dance floor was always full and rocking. The two Mikes did everything in their power to stop these raids. They contacted every connection they had in Greece, higher even than the authorities that were chasing them. Still they could not calm the storm. Still the festival went forward.

Two days later almost at the end of the party, the police came back. The intent to stop the party. They again arrested people and took them off for small amounts of nothing. They didn’t stop the party. The organizers made sure of that and in a way they won. The main stage never stopped and the music was brilliant and the crowd full of energy. Then a storm hit Samothraki Island while God cried and washed the dirt and grime away. People scattered into their tents and hid for the night and the rain settled in the morning. Most of the masses left that day. No one was sure of what was going to happen. Was there going to be an after party as promised? Were the police coming back? For a while the camp was silent.

Again the organization pulled through and the after party began. They set up a different theme around the chill out area with a modified system. The sound rocketed into the camp. Smiles grew on the faces in the night and the music continued. Two days of beautiful party atmosphere with around two thousand people. Good music and a strong bonding well needed. The music will continue. Samothraki will be back in 2005 and all the problems will be ironed out. The organization will take the judge and police that raided the camp and harassed people to the European Courts. The police never came back to the camp during the after party and freedom hung like a flag in the air while the people smiled and enjoyed this special place and the music they love.

If you were at the festival and want to do something about the police presence please go to action@samothrakidancefestival.com

Written by YOYO

   

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