About the Festival 

The festival will host up-tempo sounds from Greece, FYROM, Albania, Kosovo, Romania, and Bulgaria. This is music of the folk, rather than folk music - the music that people are playing and listening to now, at celebrations and in their daily lives. Aether's focus is on gathering musicians who have not yet gained renown beyond their own communities.

The festival will place these musicians in close contact with experimental sound artists and musicians, many of whom will come from the very same countries. Each afternoon there will be musician-led workshops dedicated to the exchange of techniques and ideas - and these events will culminate in genre-crossing collaborations.

The festival's resident sound artists will be present throughout - experiencing the sounds of the festival and the environment - while creating a new work. Their work will be exhibited alongside the final performances. 

The festival will be held over a long weekend in a former tomato paste factory with an exterior performance space and three large interior spaces for the afternoon gatherings. The factory is located on Santorini's coast, with direct access to the beach. Each evening there will be several hours of formal performances, followed by music into the wee hours

What's the Idea?

Aether Festival is an experiment in bridging gaps in culture and genre and was borne of a belief in the power of music to bridge these gaps - and to illuminate similarities rather than accentuate differences. 

Aether aims to approach festival 'staging' in a different way and draws its inspiration from live performances in rural Greece, where the distance between performers and audience members is collapsed.

"How we listen determines what we hear.” 

Santorini’s cultural life is heavily influenced by its seasonal tourist economy. Unfortunately, the lowest common denominator dictates what’s on offer in most areas – including music and entertainment. Both residents and visitors complain that there is little live music to be heard, and that what can be heard is of low quality. In the winter everything is shuttered. In the summer months businesses cater almost exclusively to the hundreds of thousands of temporary residents, and locals are still left out in the cold. Workshop strives to enrich the lives of both. 

The island's permanent population of 10,000 is not, as one might expect, majority Greek. For many years immigrants from other Balkan nations have lived and worked on Santorini. Workshop will also cater to these underrepresented communities, some of which are now three generations old.

About The Organisers

Ramona Stout - Founder and Director

Ramona learned to walk, talk and swim on the island of Santorini. She has since moved back and forth between the U.K., U.S.A, and Greece. 

Ramona studied Central Asian history and ethnomusicology and has travelled extensively in the Russian Federation and Central Asia. She got distracted by vintage vinyl on Chicago's south and west sides for a good many years. In 2011 she returned to Santorini where she now works as a photographer.

Her interests in acoustic ecology and sound art emerged from her training in ethnomusicology. She has a particular interest in anthrophony - or human sourced sound - and in capturing it in order to create alternative or unrecognised realities.

Alyssa Moxley - Art and Sound Producer

Alyssa Moxley is trained in ethnomusicology, audio engineering and sonic arts.  She has collaborated with Ramona Stout on a number of sound related projects.  In Greece they produced a radio documentary on the Tsabouna and an installation work exploring the soundscapes of Santorini (see link above).  Her interest in the use of sound for story lies in its potential for transportation and transformation. She brings a background as an artist, events organiser, audio engineer, and radio producer to facilitate creative exchanges amongst the participants and audiences. 

"Aether is an opportunity to bring skilled musicians playing traditional improvisatory musical forms into close proximity with artists creating alternative spaces for listening.  Music is a medium which connects us to our heritage and history while accentuating the spontaneous, alive and shared.  Visual artists working with sound can explore the boundaries of the medium and initiate new discussions.  Despite the borders drawn between countries and disciplines all of the musicians and artists invited to the festival share an enthusiasm for sonically activating social and physical space."



Summer 2014. From Tirana to Durrës and back. From Tirana to Pukë and points beyond. From Fushë Arrëz to Kukës and then to Krumë. We spoke to city folk, southerners and highlanders, we found people longing for birdsong and the hush of breaking waves, along with those who crave nothing but silence. We also found people who enjoy the sound of a machine in full operational flow, of the forest in the early morning, and of a chicken being caught and killed. These sounds will all form part of an installation that you can experience next year on Santorini in April, and in Athens in June. Check back here for more information, meanwhile you can go to Unbound Atlas for more images and sounds from Albania, F.Y.R.O.M., and Kosovo.

In the autumn of 2012 we left Santorini and headed out on our first trip to find musicians for Aether Festival. We travelled through northern Greece, back and forth through southern Albania, and the length and breadth of F.Y.R.O.M. Below are a few snippets of that trip as it happened in sound, word, and image.

Watch this space for information on traveling to the island, purchasing tickets, and finding a comfortable place to stay.

 Xristina Kiriakidou playing the Pontic Lira in Grevena

Xristina Kiriakidou playing the Pontic Lira in Grevena

Get In Touch

Please write to us with any comments or questions you may have. 

Workshop will also be offering a few internships, feel free to contact us if you're interested.

 Pan-Cycladic Tsabouna Festival, Santorini, 2011

Pan-Cycladic Tsabouna Festival, Santorini, 2011

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Workshop Festival Research and Programming Fund

Your donation goes directly towards the funding of research and programming costs. We also send our donors gifts related to the music and sounds we find during our research to show our appreciation.