With the Ayia Napa Youth Festival starting on Friday, The Cyprus Weekly spoke to Marilena Saoulli, the Secretary of Ayia Napa Youth Council, to find out more about the region’s biggest celebration of youth and culture.
Cyprus Weekly: The annual Ayia Napa Youth Festival takes place on August 25 and 26 this year; what does it include?
Marilena Saoulli: The festival – which is free entry – has been significantly upgraded this year, and this is the first time that we are organising a multi-themed event.
This means that we will bring together different kinds of music from local and international singers and bands, such as rock, pop, traditional, folk, heavy metal etc. At the same time, we will also include different elements of our culture and traditions.
Additionally, the festival includes and promotes different fine art forms this year, such as painting, sculpture, graffiti and photography. This is done by inviting young people who are involved in the arts, either professionally or non-professionally to participate in the festival.
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Aside from the activities and events at the festival itself, we also ran a photography competition in the lead-up to the event, with the theme ‘Youth Love Ayia Napa’.
We invited the public to submit their images of Ayia Napa, with the criteria that the images should motivate youth to visit Ayia Napa. The three images that generate the most ‘likes’ on social media will win prizes that have been generously donated by our sponsors, including hotel stays, restaurant meals, water park and circus tickets, and other great prizes.
The images will all be exhibited at the festival.
CW: When and how was Ayia Napa Youth Council set up?
MS: The youth council was established back in 2010 by a group of youth who love Ayia Napa, inspired by our Youth Council President Yiannis Karousos – who is now Ayia Napa’s mayor.
The reason for this initiative was to bring the youth of Ayia Napa, and the wider region, together, and to create an impartial group without political or religious ideologies, leading to the development of team spirit and cooperation.
CW: How has the festival evolved throughout the years?
MS: The first festival took place in 2010 at the harbour, with the idea of emulating the big music and arts festivals of other European countries. It was a great success, with over 10,000 people visiting the festival across the three days of the event.
The festivals that followed also took the form of a big concert (mainly at the harbour), featuring well-known singers, as well as other activities and attractions.
This year, we want to be more inclusive and feature a range of musical styles to promote music in general, as well as other cultural and artistic forms that involve young people of the region. The venue has also changed this year to the square of the monastery.
We are looking forward to making the multi-theme an annual one and will continue to find ways to make the festival more exciting and enriched each time.
The Ayia Napa Youth Festival will take place at Ayia Napa Monastery square from 7.15pm. Further information on the programme can be found on the event Facebook page.