Sani Festival

The Festival


For almost 30 years now, Sani Festival’s main aspiration is to open up bridges of communication between tourism and the arts, between Greek and foreign tourists. There is one language we all share, that of the arts and of innovation, placing before the public important artists and performers who are either visiting Greece for the first time or offering us an exclusive opportunity to enjoy their latest creation. Our duty -in respect to the audience- is to defend high standards of quality in the arts and entertainment, to advance the cause of culture and communication between natives and foreign visitors.


Hank Jones, Ahmad Jamal, Ray Brown, Abbey Lincoln, Charlie Haden, Cassandra Wilson, Cesaria Evora, Lee Konitz, Paul Bley, Arturo Sandoval, Charles Lloyd, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Tord Gustavsen, Lizz Wright, Joss Stone, Daniel Hope, Yaron Herman, Youn Sun Nah, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Brad Mehldau, Esbjorn Svensson, Omar Sosa, Milton Nascimento, Peter Greenaway, Michel Legrand, Alison Moyet, Nikos Papazoglou, Dionysis Savvopoulos, Eleni Karaindrou, Alkisitis Protopsalti, Stavros Xarchakos, Thanos Mikroutsikos are just a few of the famous names that have left their mark by appearing at the Sani Festival, the only private-sector initiative international festival in Greece with such a significant presence both at home and abroad, a valued institution in our country’s cultural setting with its uninterrupted 29-year existence.

Rarely has a private-sector initiative cultural institution reached such a level of completeness, originality and innovation, with regard to the choice of artists, as at the Sani Festival. Its everfaithful public, outstanding participants, excellent organization, international impact, and ongoing renewal bear witness to this. The objective will be the same as ever: communication and interaction between artists and public within a broad social context – with the special features of the event allowing it to bring together under one roof people of many different backgrounds and cultures.



The first Jazz on the Hill – a three-day programme of jazz music - was staged at the Sani Resort back in 1992. At that point there was as yet no festival, just a handful of concerts born of the organizers’ passion for jazz.

Today Jazz on the Hill is the trademark event of the Sani Festival. The unique three-day tribute to ‘black’ music has played host to living legends of world jazz, often making their first ever appearance in Greece: Jan Garbarek in 1995, Cassandra Wilson in 1998 and 2013, Dee Dee Bridgewater in 2000, Chico Freeman in 2003, and Charlie Haden in 2005, Brad Mehldau, Lizz Wright, Betty Carter, Ray Brown, Abbey Lincoln, Paul Bley, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and many more.


This part of the festival, introduced in 2006, is dedicated to world music and demonstrates how the Sani Festival has evolved and enriched its programme, reaching out to different audiences and exposing them to the best of music from around the globe.

After numerous successful concerts and exclusive performances in the field of ethnic music – including appearances by Cesaria Evoria, Tito Puente, Dulce Pontes, Lila Downs, Teofilo Chandre, Petru Guelfucci and Eliades Ochoa – the organizers felt the need to establish a separate thematic unit to focus on this fascinating area of music, complementing the festival’s international programme. And so the three-day programme, Sounds of the World, became a regular fixture in the festival.


Since 1993 a long list of prominent Greek musicians have come to Sani, leaving something of their aura and charisma in the atmosphere of the place: Stavros Xarhakos, Eleni Karaindrou, Giorgos Dalaras, Alkistis Protopsalti, Haroula Alexiou, Loukianos Kelaidonis, Dimitra Galani, Dionysis Savvopoulos, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Yannis Kotsiras – to name just a few of the great names of Greek music who have brought their talent and inspiration to the Greek music programme of the Sani Festival. These Greek concerts have enjoyed enormous success, popular with the public, the media and the musicians themselves, who have been proud to honour with their presence what is now one of the best-established and most revered events in the Greek cultural calendar.


Following the success of Sani Classic, the programme dedicated to classical music, which for a number of years provided a showcase for talented young Greek musicians. In 2013, the Sani Classic section was reimagined as Classic Waves encompassing worldwide major orchestras, small ensembles and individual artists. The artists will often join forces for the occasion and present concerts of classical music to delighted audiences.