Organisers are putting the finishing touches to this year’s Kayaköy Festival, which will take place over the weekend on Saturday, October 5, and Sunday, October 6.

There was some disappointment earlier this year when the usual May dates came and went without any definitive plan for a programme of events to celebrate the village’s unique history or current attractions.

However, a loose committee was formed back in June and, since then, members have been working on a new theme put together to promote peace and unity between both Turks and the ancestors of families who used to live in the “ghost village”, many of whom were resettled in Greece as part of the population exchange agreed by the two nations almost a hundred years ago.

The performers booked for the Kayaköy Festival on October 5 and October 6 this year

Festival first

It’s hoped this year’s event will be the first of many in years to come, each helping to build better links between the village today and the families of its former inhabitants and to help promote Kayaköy to a global audience.

“This year it is a two-day festival but we hope, in years to come, it will be bigger – perhaps over three, four or even five days,” said spokesman and festival chairman Erdal Eroğlu.

Once again, some of the main thoroughfares through the centre of the village will be closed to traffic to allow space for stalls, open to all who wish to sell local handicrafts or produce.

Restaurant Bay Efetto will be a centre for children’s entertainment but land adjacent to the central mosque and behind the village’s Can Market will be the hub for the main entertainment programme.

Performances are promised by a host of both locally and nationally renowned singers, including a closing show by Grup Gündoğarken from 10pm on Sunday evening.

Folk dancers from both Greece and Turkey will also take centre stage on Sunday while the international programme includes poetry readings from visiting artists from Azerbaijan and audio-visual shows detailing the village’s rich history.

In photos: Kayaköy Festival (Şenliği) - music, dance and much more
Colour and a little Turkish style at the 2018 festival. Photo Credit: Steve Parsley

Building bridges

“We are expecting official representatives from Greece to attend and hope it will be the first step towards a long-lasting relationship between our communities,” said Erdal.

As well as the official programme and the numerous stalls, businesses throughout the village will be taking part. Bars and restaurants will remain open for business with some planning events and special festival offers of their own.

“Having the festival in October means we can all look forward to something towards the end of the season rather than having it at the start,” said Eser Gursoy from the village’s Casper’s.

“There is more produce to share at this time of year but it also means we have the chance to invite everyone to our community so they can see it for themselves.”

In photos: Kayaköy Festival (Şenliği) - music, dance and much more
Yet again, organisers are hoping dozens will man stalls selling local produce and handicrafts. Photo Credit: Steve Parsley