For 22 continuous years the successful institution of the Sydney Greek Festival has been supporting and promoting the unique Greek-Australian culture in Australia and more specifically in New South Wales, achieving a renowned cultural status in the State, the country and abroad. The Sydney Greek Festival is the well acknowledged immense contribution of the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW, one of the oldest organizations in Australia, to the numerous Greek Australian community as well as to the wider multicultural mosaic of the Australian society, contributing largely to its harmonious coexistence.
The 22nd Sydney Greek Festival is of special importance, as it is held in the Athens-2004 Olympic year, an event that will revive the spirit of human existence, a common goal with our festival in the antipodes. I wish to congratulate all previous committees for successfully bring the Sydney Greek Festival to this point and the current committee for building on this successes to present this year's spectacular events, with the valuable help of our sponsors, all of whom I heartily thank very much. Wishing a Happy Festival and a Successful Olympiad.
The Athens Olympics are creating a sense of pride and passion in the Greek Diaspora that has never been felt before. For the last 22 years the The Greek Festival has been a vehicle to promote Hellenism in and around Sydney. The combination of these two factors is sure to make the 2004 Greek Festival the most significant and exciting in it's history.
This year we move our 'street fair' to Darling Harbour so that we can offer you a truly magnificent day of Hellenic festivities. We are honoured at Darling Harbour with the presence of Athens 2004 - a great endorsement of the standards that the festival has attained and the regard in which it is held by those in the homeland.
It would be remiss of me not to recognise the incredible efforts of the staff and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to pull it all together. Likewise, I want to thank the Hellenic Government and the NSW State and Local Governments for their support and of course, our artists and sponsors (in particular Thomas Hotels) without whom, there would be no festival. Special thanks also to The Greek Orthodox Community of NSW which continues, after 104 years, to embrace and showcase Hellenic cultural and artistic values for all of us to enjoy. On behalf of the Greek Festival of Sydney's Organising Committee: "Kalos Yrthate".
2004 is such a special year for all things Greek. The Athens Olympic bandwagon is picking up speed fast and the link between Athens and Sydney as 'past' and 'present' hosts means that 'Greek fever' will run wild in Sydney! Last year The Festival broke new ground and reached a larger and more diverse audience than ever before. This year it comes of age and I believe that, with the strong program and heightened Greek awareness, it will consolidate it's rightful place in Sydney's rich cultural calendar. The fact that this coincides with the year of the Athens Olympics is particularly appropriate. No other community in Sydney holds such an eclectic celebration of it's culture. This year we have covered all of the usual 'genres' - song, music, dance, celebration, theatre and literature -but have added or welcomed back others to the mix. One of our key aims is to highlight and showcase how deeply Greek Culture has influenced all of our 'worlds' and there is also a stronger emphasis on youth and on presenting home grown talent.
Some old festival favourites are back with bigger and better shows - of note are Maria Yiakoulis and 'Philosophy of Love' at the Opera House. We also have a moving tribute to poet Nikos Kavvadias and are delighted that photographer Effy Alexakis makes a welcome return with 'In Her Own Image'. Darling Harbour also plays host to the festival in one of the most exciting developments in recent years and the stunning 'Abcension' byCharles Billich captures perfectly the spirit of the Olympics.
The festival extends well beyond March and there are a myriad of events planned in the lead up to the opening ceremony in Athens on 13 August. The festival team and all of the artists, participants and sponsors have done an amazing job in bringing their passions to fruition and it is with a great sense of pride that we present to you the 2004 Greek Festival of Sydney.
Hon. John Howard MP
I wish all those attending the 22nd Greek Festival of Sydney the very best for an enjoyable event and every success in the coming year.
Hon. Mark Latham MP
On behalf of the Australian Labor Party I extend my best wishes to the 22nd Greek Festival of Sydney. I am sure it will be another successful and memorable festival in the great traditions of Greek culture.
Hon. Bob Carr MP
I would like to convey my best wishes on the occasion of the 22nd GFOS 2004. For the past two decades the Festival has provided an opportunity to showcase contemporary Greek culture. This year the Festival proves to be more exciting as Athens prepares for the 2004 Olympic Games. On behalf of the NSW Government, I convey best wishes to organisers and participants of the 22nd Greek Festival of Sydney 2004.
Hon. Gough Whitlam
The Festival encompasses 25 March, the anniversary of the day on which Archbishop Germanos of Patra raised the flag of freedom near Kalavryta in 1821.
The Greek Orthodox Community NSW is consistent in promoting both Greece's cultural traditions as well as its modern face. I would like to congratulate the organisers of this event.
Excellency Fotios-Jean Xydas
Best wishes for a successful 22nd Greek Festival of Sydney 2004, as organized by the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW, in promoting Hellenism in Australia.