Annual Windcraft Music Festival has put the sleepy village of Katydata on the map. ELENI PHILIPPOU speaks to its founder

A year before its 10th anniversary, Windcraft Music Fest returns to bring local musicians, internationally respected artists, villagers and fans to Katydata village. Two days of music, creativity, workshops and folklore culture will take place on July 22 and 23 offering foot-stomping beats and local traditions.

Katydata village was just a dot on the map before it became synonymous with the festival, a tiny spot in the Solea Valley of Nicosia. Every summer Katydata now comes to life. Local residents open up their homes and gardens to host workshops, village walls now include murals and street corners hold souvenirs from past festival editions.

“Katydata is the place of birth of both my parents,” says festival founder Elli Michael. “It is connected with memories of my childhood summers and of growing up in an analogue era. The festival has indeed put the village on the cultural map of Cyprus and has brought many visitors – both locals and tourists – to the area for the first time. We want to believe that the festival makes a positive impact on the community, and we are happy to see the residents of the village welcoming festival visitors with enthusiasm.”

The warm charm that Cypriot hospitality is known for is evident at Windcraft – attending a concert by world-acclaimed musicians and then joining a traditional workshop in a grandfather’s home is the appeal that makes Windcraft an attractive occasion.

The same format will be followed this month, with a few upgraded twists. Ten local and international bands will perform on two stages – the Inn and the Orchard – while a diverse programme of workshops unfolds across the two days. One of the festival’s highlights every year is the late-night jam session parties where musicians and visitors all become one and dance until the early morning.

“Visitors should be prepared to discover fascinating music from the finest bands,” says Elli, “to dance and have fun under the summer stars, to get involved in the making of music and arts, to taste a range of delicious street food options and enjoy refreshing drinks, to meet and interact with people and experience the Cypriot countryside through culture.”

For the first time this year, an artists’ residency will be held, titled Bridging the Sounds of the East and West where People of the Wind (James Wylie, Fausto Sierakowski and Alexandros Rizopoulos) will participate. This is part of the European Festivals Association co-funded by the EU, that allows festivals to support emerging artists on a European level.

feature2 2During their residency they will develop new compositions which will be presented at the festival, and they will offer a workshop to local musicians focusing on the adaptation and interpretation of traditional music with Western instruments.

Another highlight this year is the involvement of two organisers of important European festivals who will participate in the EFFEA residency as mentors to the artists: Nicolas Wieers, the organiser of Balkan Trafik! in Brussels, and Tomasz Lipski, artistic director of Window onto the World Festival in Gdansk.

“Both festivals are like-minded to Windcraft, in that they promote the interaction with cultures of the world and the blend of traditions. Through this programme, EFFEA enables the cooperation between festivals in supporting emerging artists on a cross-border level. This is of course a great opportunity for Windcraft to create liaisons with established European festivals and to learn from their practices.”

The main event of course is the two evenings of live music which will feature bands that experiment and fuse musical styles, both in a traditional and contemporary manner. Travelling from abroad, Elli is excited to welcome this year: “Stereoteismo (Italy/Lebanon) a band that seeks points of intersection between the classical Arabic repertoire, Balkan music, flamenco and other Mediterranean musical styles. La Pêche (France) combines Balkan music with swing and boogie, while People of the Wind (France/New Zealand/Greece) explore the musical traditions of the East with the use of saxophones and davul. Human Touch (Greece) has established its musical identity through its jazz/fusion/funk compositions, while Sustainable Resound (Germany, Cyprus) are unfolding their progressive sound by mixing jazz and classical music with techno and electronic elements.”

Local talent and sounds of Cyprus will once again make their appearance in a collaborative approach. Supporting local music projects and creating new synergies between artists is one of Windcraft’s priorities. As such, the Cypriot electronic jazz band Sonica will team up with one of the Baltic’s leading saxophone players, Toms Rudzinskis, while the local Gaba Project will add to the already special combination of handpan and Cretan lyra the flutes of Greek artist Achilleas Tigas. Vassilis Philippou’s project Colourful Emptiness will be presented for the first time as a quartet, while the established Cypriot singer Yiannis Dionysiou will join People of the Wind on stage.

In between the music concerts and jam sessions is a parallel programme of events including voice workshops, Balkan traditional flute presentations, flute-making workshops, collagraphy sessions, a journaling and a postcard-writing workshop, as well as an interactive walk in places of cultural interest in the Solea Valley. And all for free.

9th Windcraft Music Fest

Annual music festival with performances and workshops. July 22-23. Katydata village, Nicosia. Presale €17 / 1 day, €30 / 2 days. At door (upon availability) €22 / 1 day, €40 / 2 days. Children under 12: free admission. Participation at workshops is free.