The show opened on the evening of August 25th, at the New Cactus Hilton. With not a hint of rain to alarm, it was rather the sweltering heat during the day that challenged each act as they turned up for their sound-checks. Lots of bottles of cold water were ferried from beneath the stage to keep the musicians hydrated. This year’s sound-check went ocay, but the sudden withdrawal of Blues Latitude from the line-up, owing to their singer being sent to hospital with a 40 temperature, caused a temporary reshuffle of set times. With Bill, Richard Wilson and Steve Dell in charge it was quickly sorted.
At 6.30 the gates opened and a steady line of people entered. Sally’s bar had a small marquee under which Rob and Vickie dispensed home-made hamburgers. A little further along Corfu Beer was taken in large quantities, the bar ably run by Karen and Rich Quilter. Next door wine and soft drinks were served by Peter and Kostas. T-shirts were sold by Cecilia and, as per normal, Lucy Steele and Jo Parker sold raffle tickets, the prizes were subsequently mostly snapped up. The gate was managed all night by Brenda (our Janet having to rush to England to look after her mum) and her sidekick Lionel, with help from Jan and Pat. The stage looked magnificent, the skeleton had been transformed by clever Karen, and Brenda had brought 7000 metres of bunting from Geordie-land.
First band on was the Multi Band, a group of musicians put together this year by Sonia Grammatikou. They did not disappoint, despite having not a lot of rehearsal time under their belts. Greek, English and French were sung by the elegant Sonia in front of a very appreciative and growing crowd. Russian dancers Jungle and Alexandra were up next, gyrating to sounds from DJ Spyros Hytiris, taking a break from his City groove. We had a young lady (13) Aliki Hewett on next, singing a couple of songs to tracks. This poised young girl is a real talent, and seemed totally un-phased before an audience which eventually topped 300.
The rock bands came up as the sun went down. Omega5 were on for their third appearance at Agiotfest. The common feedback was it was their best so far. They were superb, with a replacement drummer from over the water and an exciting lead guitarist Richard. Where does Barry find these great lead guitarists? Nemesis came on with their unique Anglo/Greco sound and showed what an accomplished set they are.
Then, finally it was the Steve Gibbons Band, who had been our guests since the previous Wednesday. You don’t get to play in front of appreciative audiences as long as they have without being good. And of course, they were. I’ve grown to really like this band, and towards the end they wound up a gear and welcomed would-be performers, er, and others onto the stage.
When the lights went down and the throng departed, many band members and fans mingled up at Kostas taverna in the plateia. The mood was very chilled and I was quite surprised to notice it was 6.00 am as Steve Gibbons, Ian Ramage and I wound our tottery way down the lane arm in arm.
Agiotfest 2012 saw its biggest audience to date, I hope an indication that it has finally arrived as a musical force in Corfu, and should now go from strength to strength. Thanks to all Friends of the Agiotfest and newcomers for making this another great night. And thanks of course to the bands, who all gave their services at very reasonable cost to make Agiotfest happen.