History

1960

To International Folklore Festival of Lefkada started in 1962 as an event belonging to the Speech and Art Events which are already organized in Lefkada town since 1955 .

Inspirer and creator of the festival was the late Anthonis Tzevelekis who from his position as President of the Association of Lefkadians in Athens with the help of the Company of Lefkadian Studies and with support from agents of Lefkada and Orpheas Group , realized his dream of making little Lefkada Centre for Language and Speech , Art and Culture .
The festival events were always immediately after Speech and Art Events , the second week of August . Space, the city’s main square. The participation of the world unprecedented and poignant . The festival began with a parade along the market , all of the assemblies. Right and left, a crowd watched and cheered . The parade ended at Beach Park where all the bands making a huge circle were setting “great dance ” Dance of Peace and brotherhood of nations.

To 1962 organized the 1st International Festival of Folk Dances and Songs involving three countries: Yugoslavia , Italy and Greece . The bands from these countries are: Popular Ballets Belgrade ” Zizika Jovanovic Spanats ” the Popular Ballets Catanzaro ” de le Setta Porte” and Lefkada Orpheas .
In 1963 the 2nd International Festival of Folk Dances and Songs of Lefkada has become an international event. It is the only Greek festival which brings together groups from the socialist countries. All of  Lefkada concentrated in the paved central square to see dancing , listening to songs, claps , and be excited to vibrate . The crowd stands for hours from afternoon till after midnight, most upright , attending festival events.
In 1964, the 3rd International Festival of Folk Dances and Songs of Lefkada is from 23 to 31 August. A memorable event of the season is the presence of Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis on 27 and 30 August in the crowded central city square. Words cannot describe what happened when Maria Callas in the second visit to the Festival on August 30, sang in the loft scene full of enthusiasm the aria Cavalleria Rusticana accompanied on the piano by the young musician Kyriakos Sfetsas . The island became the focus of national and international projection and global interest.

In 1965 Anthonis Tzevelekis as president of the Association of Lefkadian in Attica and the Organizing Committee of the Festival sends invitations to 25 dance groups from the Philippines and Uganda to Finland and Portugal.
In 1966  Anthonis Tzevelekis achieves something very important : organizing the 7th International Congress of Amicale Folklorique Internationale, an international organization of folklorists in Lefkada measuring only 4 editions of the Folklore Festival . In the period from 20 to 26 May , 50 participants and folk groups from 12 countries are in Lefkada for the conference , which is held under the auspices of the Ministry of the Presidency and Press.
From 1966 until 1967 the organization of the International Folklore Festival is taken over by EOT through the local tourism committee . Anthonis Tzevelekis is active in Athens in his own “Center for Cultural Relations .”

1970

The International Folklore Festival of Lefkada continued uninterrupted during the dictatorship despite the absence of Anthonis Tzevelekis . Responsible for booking of foreign folkloric groups is John Athiniotis, excellent knowledge of the French language , who cooperates with the Mayor of Koravilie France and President of the International Federation of Folklore , Mr Clement . At that time Lefkadians felt that this was a last resort and a temporary case and that the issue of continuing the Festival was much more important even if it should be a compromise .

In 1971 Lefkada is now known as the International Folk Art Center and Hearth of peace among people . The week of Folklore festival attracts many people from the periphery of Athens and abroad . All the groups receive warm welcome and hospitality and written notes from their side said : nowhere in the world have we found the care, love, concern and warmth of Lefkada and generally beauty and brio of Lefkada.

In 1972 Lefkada is full of people  during the International Folklore Festival . The small town with its quaint alleyways filled with a colorful crowd huddled all days and hours of the night in a collective uprising of joy and mirth in the central square of the city. The festival already counts a decade.

In 1973 the Lefkadian August has now firmly established in the cultural life of the country as the week of Greek and foreign folkloric groups.

In the summer of 1974 due to the tragic events in Cyprus and the general situation in Greece the International Folklore Festival was not held . In solidarity with the people of Cyprus cultural associations of Lefkada town organized an event in honor of the fallen Cypriots in the struggle against the Turkish invasion, to which were invited and attended Cypriot patriots and members of the Steering Committee Justice for Cyprus

In 1975 the Island of Lefkada welcomes the peaceful message of love of the 13th International Folklore Festival with the song and dance from 12 European countries . Anthonis Tzevelekis returns as manager of the festival and the organization is taken over by the Municipality of Lefkada.
In 1976 the scene of the 14th International Festival of Popular Culture hosts 16 artistic groups. It is the year that the group of the Congo Central African Republic  is making a huge impression.

In 1977 at the 15th International Folklore Festival take part groups from 9 countries .

Since 1979 the organization of the festival is a responsibility of  the Cultural Center of the Municipality of Lefkada which was established by the mayor Apostolos Fatouros and ran during the mayorship of Theodore Zoitas . The Cultural Center collaborated on the invitation of foreign folkloric groups with the Center for International Relations of Anthonis Tzevelekis until his death in 1989 . Since then through foreign embassies, cultural institutions and homologous mechanisms of international festivals.

1980

In 1980 the International Folklore Festival completes 18 years of life . The youth of the world in dance bands , brought from the five continents, flood with the locals , the squares and streets of Lefkas. They show art and grace. Lefkada offers hospitality and applause . Lefkada opens the way for spiritual events, artistic and tourist . It is the year that the municipality of Lefkada awards Antonis Tzevelekis with official award brevet .

1983 is the year when Alexis Kostalas comes in Lefkada and presents the program of the 21th International Folklore Festival. From then until now he is still the presenter and his distinctive voice . The 22nd International Folklore Festival now takes place in the square of Marka and not in the main town square .

In 1985 the wonderful dance bands , the great popular participation , hard work and enthusiasm of the organizers contributed to the success of the Festival . Benchmark that year is the performance of the Soviet group from Belarus whose appearance causes excitement of the audience.

In the 25th Folklore Festival in 1987 from the streets of Lefkas , the stage of Markas and the village squares the message of peace and brotherhood of nations and the desire to forget any old enmity is heard again . This can be seen from the invitation  from the children of Poland to the children of Israel .

In 1989 the 27th International Folklore Festival of Lefkada commemorates the inspirer and leader Antonis Tzeveleki who died that year .

1990

During the 1990s the International Folklore Festival takes place in the Venetian Castle of Agia Mavra at the entrance of the island. The removal from the city and conduction inside the castle is being done with the aim of highlighting the historical monument.

To 1992 the International Folklore Festival completes 30 year . On the opening day the ceremony of  Twinning of Lefkada with the city of Nahariya of Israel takes place. It is the first twinning with Greek city made by Israel . The Friendship of People shows the way to World Peace .

The 1993 the Festival takes place with participation of groups from across the length and breadth of the earth . While in various parts of the world there are outbreaks of war, the motto of the festival for peace and friendship and brotherhood of nations shows the path to be followed by the people of the earth .

In 1994 the Festival  interests as a cultural event not only residents of Lefkada but many visitors who flock to watch .

In 1995 the President of the Greek Parliament, Apostolos Kaklamanis attends the 33rd International Folklore Festival of Lefkada, praises the institution of the festival and asks for support for its continuation .
Since 1999, the composer Kyriakos Sfetsas is the Artistic Director of the Cultural Centre of the Municipality of Lefkada and responsible for the Folklore Festival .

2000

The new millennium carries the International Folklore Festival back in town at the site of the newly built Cultural Hall next to the lagoon . The festival is still for older and younger  Lefkadians, a mince of the soul and the heart . A part of the tradition and culture that made the little town known in Greece and abroad undeniable benefit on multiple levels .
In 2001 the International Folklore Festival loses a legendary figure : it is Thrasyvoulos (Voulis) Vrettos . He was a close associate of Anthonis Tzevelekis , member of the Council of the Cultural Centre of the Municipality of Lefkada for many years and an honorary member. He  gave his best for the continuation and enhancement of the Festival which was his first love .

The record of the 39th International Folklore Festival is in many ways a bright and successful. This finding is supported by the  facts:  40.000 spectators of the parade on the first Sunday until the closing ceremony 650,000 viewers from the direct transmission of ET1 ( not counting the huge number of viewers around the world by satellite coverage and again the ET1 ) , 780 artists ( dancers , musicians , singers , etc. ) who participated in the 15 disjoint sets , massive influx of local and foreign audiences admittedly fills every night for eight whole days in the open air theater of the Cultural Center enthusiastically applauding and cheering in admiration the groups and art of the performers .
The constant presence especially of  Lefkadian  public to festival events gives everyone the chance to continue working for the big event and the challenge of the 40th Festival that takes place in the year 2002. The Lefkadian  people celebrate, hug and wholeheartedly support their own festival.

From 2003 to 2010 the festival moved again in an outdoor courtyard. Vassilis Thermos  Cooler , for many years general curator and member of the Cultural Center , is responsible for the Festival .
In 2004 , a landmark year for Greece because of the Olympic Games, the International Folklore Festival of Lefkada is not just a celebration with traditional dances  of the five continents . It is an institution that transforms the Olympic ideals of friendship among people and world peace . It is a link between nations and cultures. It is an international cultural landmark.
In 2005 the International Folklore Festival comes under the auspices of the UN Secretary General Mr Kofi Annan . The INTERNATIONAL FOLKLORE FESTIVAL of Lefkada continues its great contribution to Lefkada and Culture. Its principles and  messages are identical to the principles of the United Nations .

From 2006 until today Lefkada  is led to new paths through the International Folklore Festival . Great performances , a large number of folk groups from all over the world , diffusion of the  festival around the island are some features of the new era .

In 1980 the International Folklore Festival completes 18 years of life . The youth of the world in dance bands , brought from the five continents, flood with the locals , the squares and streets of Lefkas. They show art and grace. Lefkada offers hospitality and applause . Lefkada opens the way for spiritual events, artistic and tourist . It is the year that the municipality of Lefkada awards Antonis Tzevelekis with official award brevet .

2010

The year 2012 marks the 50 years of continuous operation of this internationally renowned cultural institution , and the people of Lefkada , the spiritual leaders of the era but also those successors,  can feel proud that very early , since 1962 , in hard times , were able  to conceive and transmit the cultural message of Lefkada in every direction . Message with additional social and global importance extensions , since today, 50 years later , the slogan of peace , friendship , cooperation and communication between the people of the whole world remains imperative and timely.

So we celebrate in 2012 to commemorate the Lefkadian people who embraced and supported wholeheartedly their own ” Festival ” original nationwide , and thousands of foreign friends  artists, dancers , musicians and other collaborators who have offered to us but also to the thousands of foreign visitors their fine art by bringing the message of peace , friendship and cooperation to the ends of the earth.

In 2012 the International Folklore Festival celebrates its  jubilee , reminisces the past, lives the present and hopes for the future .

In 2013 the 51st Lefkas International Folklore Festival is more than ready to continue its route in the years to come.

During the 1990s the International Folklore Festival takes place in the Venetian Castle of Agia Mavra at the entrance of the island. The removal from the city and conduction inside the castle is being done with the aim of highlighting the historical monument.