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Hellenic Festival Under New Ministry

A draft law tabled in parliament last month transferred the supervision of the Hellenic Festival (Athens Festival, Epidaurus Festival of Ancient Drama and Music, July at the Little Theater of Epidaurus) from the tourism development to the culture ministry. The move is expected to solve a number of long-standing bureaucratic problems faced by country’s largest cultural event.

(The culture ministry is, among others, responsible for the Central Archaeological Council, which gives the green light for the festival to use its main venues: the Herod Atticus Theater and the two ancient theaters at Epidaurus.)

The change brings another breath of new life to the festival. The first wind of change came for the organization not long ago when Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis expressed his active support for Giorgos Loukos -who took over the helm at the festival last year- and his policies.

One of the problems that is expected to be solved quickly, with the help of Mr. Voulgarakis, is a long-standing debt to the Archaeological Fund.

Other changes expected with the transfer include the refurbishment of the former Tsaousoglou factory on Pireos Street, a venue that debuted with festival events last summer and which has been put under the supervision of Mr. Loukos, Dimitris Papaioannou and Giorgos Koumendakis.

The draft law also foresees an increase of 10 percent – from 30 to 40 percent – in the funds received by the festival from the Greek state’s share in profits from the casinos of Corfu and Parnitha.

As well, all festival financial matters, currently swimming among various bodies and organizations, will be brought together into the culture ministry’s budget, and thus put an end to the confusing state of funding procurement that has been the norm until now.

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