For the last 50 years the small Ionian island of Lefkas has been promoting the message of peace, friendship and brotherhood among nations through music and dance.

For one music-filled week in August the island’s activities are centred on the tiny capital of the island where the LEFKAS INTERNATIONAL FOLKLORE FESTIVAL takes place.

Folklore Museum Wine Cellar

Folklore Museum Wine Cellar

This year the festival will happen between the 19th and the 26th of August. It is a significant year as the festival is celebrating its’ 50th anniversary. Started in 1962, the celebration has drawn dancers and musicians from all over the world. Typically, over 800 people will participate with dancers coming from as far afield as Japan and Korea, although the bulk of the participants come from other parts of Europe.

Folklore Museum Wine Cellar

Folklore Museum Wine Cellar

The idea behind the festival is that sharing national traditions and folk forms brings people closer together and will promote greater understanding and international harmony. During the festival it is hoped that the dancers will reinforce, through their performances, the message of friendship, communication and cooperation.

The festival always starts with a parade through the main boulevard of Lefkas Town on the first Sunday night. The participants wear their national costumes and there is a short performance from each dance group before the crowds that line the streets. As the week goes on there are longer demonstrations of all the national dances and the event culminates in a final celebration on the last Sunday evening.

Folklore Museum Wine Cellar

Folklore Museum Wine Cellar

The parades and final event are generally filmed by Greek national TV and for a while, the eyes of the country are fixed on this small island …. For holiday- makers this is a unique opportunity to experience both local and international culture and traditions, while supporting the spirit of international peace and co-operation.

Janine Cording
GIC The Villa Collection