Based on the success of the first Matala Reunion festival organized by author Arn Strohmeyer in 2011 to celebrate his book on Matala, local officials have decided to make the "Hippie Reunion" an annual event.
The first festival drew tens of thousands of visitors to Matala, many of them from countries around the world, but it was also surprisingly popular with local young Cretans and their families.
The Matala FestivalEach year of the festival is going to be somewhat different, but current plans include the following:
- Free parking, including buses and campers
- Free admission
- Family Day
- Music and concerts
- Art exhibits
- "Hippie" crafts sold by vendors
- Children's Area
- Some free camping for the weekend
Festival Dates and ScheduleIn 2012: June 4-6th.
Festival OrganizationThe annual festival is now under the authority of the Municipality of Phaestos, a new combined entity which pulls together several previously independent smaller towns. Several websites, including Visit Matala, also have up-to-date information on the festival and a nice video presentation showing images from the first Matala Festival in 2011. Visit Matala also operates a trio of webcams year-round from Matala, giving those far away a chance to take a peek at the festival while it is happening - great for those missing Matala.
AccommodationWhile many visitors to the Festival just come for the day, hotel rooms in and near Matala are likely to sell out, so make your reservations early. Even camping spaces may be impacted, so be prepared.
Parking LotsA number of fields are organized for extra parking during the Festival. Some of these are quite far from Matala; if you have never been to the beach town, its at the end of long and fairly narrow valley, so broad parking areas tend to be a distance from the event itself. Bear this in mind when choosing your footwear for the event. Parking is free.
Food and DrinkA recent addition to Matala is a small but fully-stocked supermarket adjacent to the beach parking lot and a smaller market up on the main street. While they may run short of some items over the course of the festival, you can count on getting basic supplies there.
Events and PresentationsThe main stage erected right on the beach will offer many musical acts. Ceramicist and "Modern Minoan" Vassilis Politakis of Spirit of Greece will also be presenting a pottery workshop where attendees can help "make a better world" in clay. Visit Matala has the Complete Program for the 2012 festival.
It pays to remember that this Festival started as a book launch for Arne Strohmeyer's book on Matala in 2011, and there are at least three book presentations slated - Marina Christodoulakis "One summer...", Mike Manson's "Road Trip to Matala", and Nellie Psarou's "Journey to Samothrace".
Matala offers about two dozen bars, food stands, and tavernas, so if you are looking for a sit-down meal, the is no shortage of options. Just expect a wait at peak times.Some excellent choices include:
Lions - Bar upstairs, restaurant downstairs (but you can get food in the upstairs bar as well, which has the better view)
Beyond the Sunset - Gorgeous location at the very end of the rocks on the southern side of the bay. Keep walking "through" what appears to be the last disco, pass some fishermen's caves, and then go up the stone steps. The fish soup is beautiful in a clear glass bowl, but it's all excellent Greek home cooking.
Zafiria Taverna - Varied food, including a memorably good schnitzel in cream sauce if you want a break from strictly Greek food.
To Kyma - The Waves - Location of the original 'Mermaid Cafe' immortalized in the Joni Mitchell song about Matala, "Carey". Nice calamari.
Syrtaki - Another excellent two-storied restaurant with great views and a bonus extra - computers to rent up on the second floor.
Information on the Matala FestivalMr. Ioannis Chartiotakis from the municipality of Mires/Phaestos is overseeing the festival in 2012.
Phone: (011 30) 693 2786131 or 289 2340203.
While original creator Arn Strohmeyer is not in charge of the continued festival, he still consults with it and can be contacted for information at email@example.com.