A 100% Limassolian Festival turned the streets into a way of life and revived the city!

23/04/2017
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Yiotis Kyriacou is a child of the old town center. That was where he grew up, where he took his first strolls, at a time when the area hadn’t yet become a beloved youth destination, and it was where he set up his business, which operates to this day. In 2007, he wanted to show people just how much the old town center meant to him, and so he created a celebration of the Limassol streets he loved so dearly.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Street Life Festival, which attracts hundreds of visitors to the area both on the day of the event and throughout the year, all eager to catch a glimpse of the unique street art gallery. Excited, emotional and ready to power on dynamically, Yiotis and Christos (aka EDMON 1419, the name behind some of Limassol’s most impressive graffiti art), and the 2C Design Box creative crew admit that this past decade has made them eager for more. eager for even more.

How did the Street Life Festival come to be 10 years ago?
Yiotis: The first Street Life Festival was organized on 5/5/2017 at Saripolou street, outside the Gifts and Gadgets shop and the second event took place on 6/10 of the same year, within the framework of events for the European Days of Architectural Heritage, and it expanded onto Athinon street.

The driving force behind the event was the fact that Saripolou Street, much like the rest of the city center, had been turned into a construction site due to the ongoing works for the creation of the CUT. As such, the protective panels of the “Ttofis Kyriakou” building became a blank canvas onto which an outpouring of art, creativity, music, and joy was unleashed.

The wish for our city center to recover, for the city streets to be revived and for the people to experience the beauty of the old, historic Limassol together... (Yiotis Kyriakou, organizer)

Is “street life” a good thing, after all?
Yiotis: I grew up in the streets of the Limassol city center. I enjoy every minute of every day, every season, the sounds, the commotion, the quiet, the smells, and I am happy that all the more people are choosing the city center and its shops for their shopping and daily strolls.

Christos: For us, street art is a way to see the world. The street is our canvas, where we externalize everything we want to share with people. Out there, everything is calmer, more relaxed, and more genuine. There is a good side to street life.

Did you ever expect that you would be celebrating 10 years of the Street Festival?
Yiotis: There is a great sense of satisfaction at the end of each Festival. I draw strength from visitors’ comments, and start preparing for the next one straight away. As long as I am in good health, I will continue to provide for my city through the organization of the Street Life Festival so why not celebrate 20 years?

Christos: Yes, in fact, we did expect it to go this far. We wanted to project a positive image through the way we interact with people, both young and old, and the way in which we work and demonstrate what the art of graffiti is all about. We want people to perceive us as professionals and I believe this has brought results.

International graffiti artists are become all the more interested in the Festival. We have had participants from Greece all the way to Malaysia… (EDMON 1419, organizer)

What is your strongest memory and why?
Yiotis: In 2007, during the second Street Life Festival, artist Paparazzi painted what was the largest graffiti art at the time on a tall building. He painted a magical setting with flowers, nature, and bare-breasted fairies. The Limassol Municipality then received complaints about the nudity, and he was asked to cover them up, so the fairies are now wearing bathing suits!

Christos: It was really important for us to be able to create freely and openly for the people of the city for the first time.me.

What does this Festival offer to the area and to Limassol in general?
Yiotis: Right from the start, the underlying philosophy behind the Festival was to rejuvenate the city center, bring life back to the streets, and allow people to experience the beauty of the old, historical Limassol. We managed to attract people to the area, particularly people who were not familiar with it or wouldn’t frequent there.

Christos: The graffiti on Athinon Street has become a landmark for the city. It’s an area that represents freedom.

Will there be anything different at the tenth event?
Yiotis: Even more groups and artists will participate, and the walls hosting artwork will expand to the nearby streets. There are also going to be more kiosks and workshops, surpassing all previous events. We will also set up better sound systems on the stage.

Christos: It is really great that the Festival is expanding further. This year we are going to be working on walls reaching all the way to the Genethliou Mitella pedestrian path, opposite Ayia Napa church. This means that the institution is growing. Someday I would really like to create a piece at the Limassol Marina and the tourist area, east of Limassol.

Do you have plans for the years to come?
Yiotis: The aim of the Festival is to keep growing and expanding, to add more activities and to convince the authorities to induct the festival into one of the European programs, so that it can be covered financially and we can exchange ideas with other cities in Europe.

Christos: International graffiti artists are becoming all the more interested in the Festival. We have had participants from Greece all the way to Malaysia, as well as companies who are willing to sponsor the spray paints for free. This shows that there is a great deal of potential.

The street is our canvas, where we externalize everything we want to share with people. Out there, everything is calmer, more relaxed, and more genuine. (EDMON 1419, organizer)

The Street Life Festival is not just an annual event. It is a date among all the people who love Limassol, both locals and visitors. It’s like a grand birthday party, where you know you will be celebrating with people you feel close to. After all, the Festival marks the rebirth of an area that was forgotten for years. And while its initial aim was to cover up the traces of construction by the CUT, for the past 10 years, both the University and the Festival make up the beating heart of the old town.

The event has already become a part of the history of Limassol, and was even the topic of discussion at the 5th Oral History Symposium at the Pattichion Municipal Museum in 2009. Most importantly however, is that this institution allows everyday people – the residents, the shop owners, the students, the tourists – to rewrite the history of the old town daily, forming bonds of collaboration and solidarity.  

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