On the one hand Skopelos is keen to keep its reputation as a laid-back Greek island that has held back the ravages of mass tourism and maintained its natural character. On the other hand when your island plays host to a movie as popular as Mamma Mia, it’s hard not to make the most of the opportunities that come your way.
It was around five years ago that the likes of Meryl Steep, Piers Brosnan and Colin Firth sang and danced their way through the narrow lanes of Skopelos, belting out famous Abba tunes and getting the locals to play their part as extras in what is surely the ultimate feel-good movie. And now the island is about to ring with the sound of music once again – although this time the tunes may be closer to Ave Maria than Mamma Mia.
A music festival is planned to take place during the last week of May 2013, with the climax being a concert at Orfeas, an outdoor venue in Skopelos town. The setting was previously used as a cinema but is being renovated as a performance space for music and theatre. The festival is due to last for a full week, running from Monday 27th May to Sunday 2nd June 2013 (perfect for the spring half-term holidays).
Preparations are already well under way on Skopelos, with singing workshops culminating in performances during Christmas 2011, Easter and in the summer of 2012. These were conducted by Rod Iliffe, a well-known Musical Director, arranger, keyboard / piano player and chorus master in the Northampton/Leicestershire areas in the UK. He will be conducting the workshops and performances at the festival.
The performance venues will include the courtyard of the largest church in Skopelos town, Panagia Papameletiou, as well as the venue at Orfeas on 1st June 2013. Planned performances will include multi-talented musicians, instrumentalists and singers of all descriptions. At the moment the residents of Skopelos are busy preparing for this inaugural event and are rehearsing on a regular basis.
Other venues are likely to include Asklepion, the ancient site of healing on the island, as well as many tavernas and hotels along the promenade and in the main town.
Late May is considered one of the best times to visit Skopelos as the weather is warm but the crowds have not yet arrived in their summer numbers. While the sea temperatures are still on the chilly side, it’s a great time of the year for walking and exploring the island’s natural beauty.
For places to stay on Skopelos take a look at our selection of outstanding villas on the island.