[Go green] Thessalian Poetry Festival 

12 Dec 2023

Thessalian Poetry Festival

21 Aug 2023 - 25 Aug 2023

Larisa, Stagiates, Trikala, Greece

Thessalian Poetry Festival is a 7-days-long event with international participation held in Greek region of Thessaly. The festival usually presents the work of around 100 poets, artists, and musicians, and is visited by around 500 audience members each year.

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Greece is a very beautiful country, especially during the summer. When the time comes for the Thessalian Poetry Festival to take place, we are not looking forward only to the wonderful poetry readings, art exhibitions, musical performances, and the people we meet, but also to the scenic Thessalian locations that are more than just the backgrounds for the festival programme. Thessaly is a region that is known for its fertile soil and abundant water, which led to the flourishing of agriculture. Not primarily touristic, Thessaly is a region of endless, subtle, often untouched beauty. Thus, it was very easy, and at the same time very hard, to choose the locations that will become the regular venues for the Thessalian Poetry Festival. Very easy, because everywhere you look, there is a beautiful harmony of scenic historic sites and everyday life, of human activities and untouched nature. Very hard, because all that beauty cannot be shown in 5 days, which is the duration of the festival. After eleven years the festival has grown to include over 100 participants per edition. The opening night is held in Larissa, the capital of Thessaly and one of the greenest cities in Greece. Then the festival entourage moves to Makrinitsa, a traditional stone village with an unbelievable view of the whole city of Volos and the sea. On the third day, the festival goes to Filakti, a mountain village above the city of Karditsa, where poets and musicians perform surrounded by an endless sight of pine trees and a clear, starry sky above them. Then the festival continues to Trikala – where the river reading takes place. For its close, the festival goes back to Larissa, a city where it started. These locations have themselves become the participants in the festival – every year, they speak to us with the beauty of the sun setting above the sea in Volos, Makrinitsa, the calming sounds of wind that is combing the leaves of mountain trees in Filakti, Karditsa, or the reflections of light in the river under the festival’s stage on Trikala’s river Lithaios. It has become unimaginable to think of the Thessalian Poetry Festival and not to think of Thessalian nature. Thessaly, for us, is not a mere location where a festival programme of the takes place – but we see this festival as an ecosystem where the spaces, humans, and animals are all a part of a circle of life, and all are equally valuable. Our philosophy has been, throughout this decade, to explore without appropriating, to show and celebrate without consumption or waste, to transform the scenes only temporarily, but to try to leave a trace permanently in the hearts of our community. For us, these are the manifestations of sustainability, for which we are grateful: to have over 500 audience members, and to still feel like you are participating in a family gathering because everyone seems to feel at home; to have local teachers, musicians, schools, organisations, etc. approaching you with their ideas, feeling interested and welcome, with desire to contribute to the festival; the audience and the participants not leaving one piece of rubbish in any of the venues after a well-visited even, because they respect the nature they are in; to have a mayor and a shepherd in the same audience; the people of the region calling the festival not by name, but as “our festival”. For us, there is no ecology without community and no community without ecology. And poetry is a link between the two – the roots and the leaves of the tree of life.

More info: Thessalian Poetry Festival

(General Editor: Simon Mundy)