6th Low Bap Festival 27 - 31 of December 2002
First Day (27 December) The sixth Low Bap Festival started exactly at 18:15. One more circle meets the beginning of a new one. Ston Aera Music Stage is filling up with people coming from every corner of the city and country. The excitement of the team and the desire of everything to work just fine is visible. The great thing is that every person present is quite aware of the reasons that leaded him to the festival. First day and as usual a day of review and planning of the year to come. Maybe, in a more appropriate way I should name it as a day of understanding...B.D.Foxmoor took the word and after welcoming the people, said that this 6th festival is a good chance of making out, above all, the misunderstandings that are found inside us. ''It's necessary to do that. I want, for the first time during this conversation, to conclude at some decisions that we will meet all of us the year to come...I need things to be done which are prepared by all of us and we are all responsible for their result. Not because I've got tired but the situation has changed course. Is it becoming wider? More spread? Name it as you like. But all people have to participate.'' We talked about the record releases of 2002, the foundation and work of Praxia alternative cultural space, the low bap fanzine called Praxia and about Chronorogmi (=Time Crack), the bookshop that has opened recently. We also discussed a bit about Xray's leaving from Active Member. The people posed some questions and B.D.Foxmoor accepted the responsibility of answering. ''All this thing that happened with Nikitas was one good chop. But in order to kill you, one must be intended to or do it by mistake. Nikitas' shot didn't kill us, didn't want to. He just chose to stop. And you know what I know. You can of course imagine other things than me, but it doesn't matter. Maybe this decision of his can turn out to be the reason of knowing you better, to meet each other in a better way. Anyway, I don't see any wrong to that. Except of the fact of course that we miss this person...''
After the conversation, it was time for screening the live Jam shot last May where all the Freestyle Production's groups took place. The projection screen was already set up and everyone took its place. And as no one (not even F. Productions) has seen this DVD before, we all watched it with a great interest. After an hour or so, the team responsible for the place, started gathering up the chairs and disassembling the screen (a little bit careless we must say! A thing that troubled them later on that night...!) The time for the live set had come. Stichiomenes Skies, Pirines Iaches, Dark Soul, Stedorian, Mikres Fones, Oria, Yerma, 843, Kako Sinapantima and Social Waste got up on stage. All the guys looked changed. The way they behaved upon the scene and towards each other was very different from other times. The festival as a tradition and as a situation has surely affected everybody, maybe without noticing it directly. A complete respect, collaboration and pride that the voice of all of us found a hospitable home within the Low Bap Festival. As all the groups had very much warmed up the scene, B.D.Foxmoor had taken the microphone to welcome and thank the people once more...But at that same time, dj Stigma (a.k.a Angelos!) set on playback The wind blows against. It couldn't be left without being made use of! When the song was over, and B.D.Foxmoor was about to leave the stage, more favourite songs followed in great numbers; At the world's corner, Listen, mother, Guardian Angel, Blame it on the fire...The people had taken off, becoming one with the stage. The festival had touched in a magical way all those present at the place.
There were guys from all over Greece while some others had come from abroad...but the company could welcome one more person who, in ignorance of what expected him, entered the venue at the time...Winston Irie is of course the one in question! Just arrived from London, but in other aspects completely unexpected, he appeared at the most appropriate and magical time at a music stage full of people greeting him, welcoming him and leading him towards the stage. ''I broke all the records tonight'' he said via the microphone. ''I just entered and you put me forth on singing! Love ya! Every time!'' As the people were asking for a Guantanamo performance, we couldn't leave them unsatisfied! Whoever lost this moment, I really don't have the words to describe it. After being treated a little sense of Camden and Winston's open hearted vibe, Optimas Prime was ready to besiege the stage.
You will certainly remember them from the European Festival...Optimas Prime is an awarded dj team from Cardiff of Wales and will be with us during all the days of the festival. Firstly, they performed some scratches upon some instrumentals and afterwards they programmed some ones in order for the people to freestyle upon them. Some people tried. We even heard the Carols by Koraki of Vavilona. But when they started playing some old school tracks, it was time for dancing. Break dance or whatever each one can do anyway! As you can see, the evolution of the situation was a cheerful party which lasted till dropping. Nevertheless, it's of course clear that after the physical tiredness, the mind function is also reduced...because it can't be otherwise explained the fact that 22 persons were struggling to reset the projection screen for 36 and a half minutes. Then it was (finally) time for the screening of the film...The ones who lasted that first evening till the end with us, departed for home or wherever they would stay, around five o'clock in the morning.
Second Day(28 December) Like every year, one of the discussions unfolded at the festival is dedicated at some technical issues, such as presentations and working manual of hardware devices as well as of software programmes. Although the expertise of the topic, I noticed a lot of people being there since early; indicating that more and more people are engaged at the music production procedure. And without any doubt, where there are interest and disposition for creation is certainly a good sign. The speakers were B.D.F, dj Booker and Fotis Kikiras who was besides the most valuable helper of the festival being charged with the sound diffusion. Around eight o'clock, Optimas Prime took their place behind the decks and keyboards. At full composition, Monkey, Stagga and Touchy Muff warmed up their hands for presenting us their set. The scratches were succeeding the keyboards and the bass of Touchy Muff, while the flute, played also by Muff against the generators of Stagga and the long beat instrumentals, was certainly a special and different sound. We were all watching carefully as it was something rare to experience. Let alone that B.D.F was jamming along them with the Theremin. (He even moved it whole in front of Optimas Prime!!!) I hope there is a recording of this somewhere. Piñata was next to follow. With the mics on hands and Kyriacos playing his Latin melodies on the guitar, they offered us one of their best performances. They give their place to Relika but at that time we almost had an accident as Ksenistis, exhausted from the tension of all the days, started phasing out in front of his microphone. Nevertheless, as he was supported to continue by the people's voices, the party had taken off for good. A little after, the stage was occupied by the crazy company of Vavilona. We heard songs such as Non-Volunteer, The tribe of the fire, Police Mania, and so many others; either with the microphone on hand or not, they just brought the upside down. By the end of the live sets, Winston Irie settled along with his records behind the decks for some reggae, roots, dub and hip hop tunes while at times he was grabbing his microphone to perform a freestyle. All the people were dancing and hugging! Every now and then he was ready of telling various staff towards us as well. During all his show, he was fully ruled by a neat professionalism and deserves many congratulations. After all this dance, it was time for us to lay back and watch Portishead live set at the projection screen...and for some rest afterwards to gather up forces for the day to come.
Third Day (29 December) A lot of people were present as some of them were also to participate at the mcing, music production, djing and lyrics writing contests. Consequently, the contest of the lyric writing was to take place first as it was the most time-consuming one. A four-member committee was formed, and after having the lyrics in question distributed, they took responsibility of bring out their ''mission'' as objectively as possible. The lyrics are, however, of great importance within low bap and I believe that just the effort of the participants is appraisable. At the meantime, the music production contest had started during which the contested tracks were listened to and a new committee chose the most dominants ones. Let's note here that it was the most popular contest as it counted around 40 participations!! Later, the time had come for the mc/performance contest. The jury committee, Winston Irie among them, had distinguished the best contestant according to their opinion. We also had some bonus participations but I wouldn't expand further at the matter! We kept for last the djing contest where we also had a lot of pleasant surprises. Two guys from Thessalonica won the first place while the third was won by a guy who started learning the ''art'' when he watched the equivalent contest of the previous festival! More specifically the winners of all the contests were configured as follow: Lyrics Contest: 1st prize The most beautiful song of mine - Leonidas Economakis, 2nd prize: We kill for a thing, we die for another - Ksenistis, Red Dawn - Totem (equality of votes), 3rd prize: Imprints - Fotini Kapi (Stedorian). Music Production Contest: 1st prize: Manos Tsantirakis (Parias), 2nd prize: Chtikio, 3rd prize: Kyriacos Kazakos. Mc/Performance Contest: 1st prize: Apostolis Papayiannis, 2nd prize: Panos (Relika), 3rd prize: Totem (Brigada). DJing Contest: 1st prize: DJ Booker, 2nd prize: Laz, 3rd prize: Ilias Vasiliou.
Many small back staged stories are found behind each contestant and whichever you choose narrating you will discover love and desire to participate in these contests. Nice things! The feeling after the contests is always a positive one! At least, that's the way of being at the Low Bap Festivals. The perfect time, whatsoever, for a live set by Sadahzinia. Just before her, Flamma entered the stage to perform three songs reaching slowly at the Silver End...Along with Sadahzinia we could find B.D.Foxmoor and dj Booker. A nice company above the scene as well as a little further, in the audience. When the live set was over, it was time for Winston himself to present us some songs of his and he subsequently accompanied B.D.Foxmoor during Guantanamo(along with Caribu and Sadahzinia) and Pull off the plug performances. Furthermore, he managed to leave us all speechless when he tried to rap with Greek accent the refrain verses of The wind blows against! Later on, Optimas Prime had got on stage once more for a jam while dj Booker succeded them on the decks for a low bap discography retrospect...As I've learned the evening had finished, as usual, just before dawn!
Day Fourth (30 December) The political conversation was on today's schedule. But of course, whoever had ever been at political conversations before he could understand that they didn't come close to the dialogue of arguments and ideas taken place at the festival. There wasn't a specific panel nor a predefined topic of conversation, even though we all had a lot of relevant subjects in mind to discuss. It was a rather freestyled talking. Just before its beginning, around six o'clock, we had concluded that, Stergios Katsaros, a fighter of life and an unspoiled man, writer of the book Me, the provocateur, the terrorist''(Mavri Lista Editions), Michalis Papamakarios of N.A.R (New Left Current), Leonidas Cariyiannis and B.D.Foxmoor would be together with us. Nevertheless, representatives of many leftist unions, the academic Antonis Liagkos, representatives of the anarchist movement as well as of the Simata Kapnou (=Smoke Signs) magazine also attended the place. The conversation had a duration of almost four hours. There were moments full of tension and times which just stimulated nice things to be told.
Stergios Katsaros is an exceptionally modest speaker and when asked to make an introduction he mentioned the following: ''I have the feeling that I belong to an ended world. While I notice that you belong to something else, which I don't know where it is directed, it lays upon you to decide its direction, but I honestly can't say anything.[...] The only thing that I can leave as a heritage is exactly this one: a sentimental attitude of dignity against every violence, every arrogance and every statehood.'' And after a while, when the conversation was up for good and various opinions expressed, he took over by guiding a bit the ''mess'' created which is however very healthy at situations like this. He said: ''I believe that theory is of grey colour and the tree of life is of green one. That is, the people insisting on theories-the anarchists included-and stay put on stereotypes, are just out of life. This thing evolving in Genova is life itself, as it is also all the big or small actions during our daily life. Whoever has the guts to follow the course of life, well, it's just fine. The rest will stay behind fighting in a glass of water looking to find who is right and who is wrong.''
Leonidas Cariyiannis referred both to his meeting with Stergios Katsaros and the fights of the past and of the present. Concluding his speech he said among others a few words about low bap: ''The right thing to do is for one to offer, by listening or singing, at this phase of revolt, of overthrow, of doubt, not just a few free hours but a great piece of his life. Under this concept, I am two times happy that I found myself within this room because I can meet again, and not in an abstract aspect, at this specific time people who inspired me to think or percieve all those that I tried or learned during my course as a way of living, as a life behaviour. At the same time, I met a movement which started as a mutiny into a frozen reality where we are all imposed in de-reasoning, proving that there are still people who can think and are able of reaction and conflict.''
B.D.Foxmoor felt the need at one point to say to his co-speakers and to the people who came for the first time at the place, what is happening these last days of every year: ''These days we are gathering up to celebrate that we still endure being here and thinking. We celebrate with the people present as well as with those who care for the people present. And what I say it's an important thing indeed because we finally managed, through our own procedures, to close the door -as gently as we could- to all the stupidity which surrounded us and thus, achieved to reach a point where we can sit, like now, and talk and truly come to a conclusion in a way that after every festival great things could manifest to us. We are consciously aware that we are small voices in a long journey, but this situation is worked now with huge persistence. The people watching it, can now live it too, forcing all of us who are found at both the inconvenient and beautiful place-most of times-to look like Low Bap, like Active Member or like anything else, not to stop collecting beautiful things. I myself, I am truly merry living such moments. You could have lived much more tense situations, but may you be sure that I can imagine much more intense things than the ones you have experienced and probably, a lot of people here can imagine the same. Therefore, if we manage to surpass some problems we all have, not only we could imagine them but surely, to reach a state where we could live them. Do not forget that the times are more difficult now...We don't know what is the enemy.[...] At any case, this thing works and we decided to communicate with situations which we didn't dare confronting in the past, feared that the others who didn't dare communicating along with us would be in fear too. We are not, whatsoever, the only responsible that people don't know about us. This thing that happens is truly important and works as a motive for us to do creative things, keeping pace of course with this special way of street that we are accustomed to...''
After all these, the time had come for the representatives of the Simata Kapnou (=Smoke Signs) magazine to talk; an edition which relates to the development in the life of the other America, of the Zapatistas in Mexico. They briefly explained to us about the situation evolving in Mexico through all the 20th century and up until nowadays, about the revolt of those people, about the ideas and the everyday struggle for surviving and freedom. Furthermore, they let us know about the educational centre constructed at the Zapatistas' community and invited us all both to learn as much as we can about Zapatistas' fight and spread their voices everywhere. All things mentioned were of huge importance, but maybe, this last part of the conversation could be the greatest of all, as it is the one that we owe to take into account a little bit more, to consider it by leaving the festival in order to find out what we have to do. Following the conversation, the live set was about to begin. Red Armada entered the stage at full composition to present some songs from their latest EP as well as from their previous one. The people turned into a wave. Oh what a wave, a wave, a wave! Red wave...Brigada was next to follow; Totem and Stab. And as sharp as their names are, that 's how sharp and bluntly they rapped to us. All the feeling created within us during the conversation of the afternoon and the worked up live sets, burst out when B.D.F stood behind the decks playing music from his 45rpms! Through the microphone, the dedications were being thrown continuously as the ones who had drunk a little bit more were collapsing! We were all dancing and singing. We didn't put aside even a sample of strength and let's see what happened the last day...
Fifth Day (31 December) Since nine o'clock a French documentary about graffiti was showed at the projection screen followed by a video recording of a Ziggy Marley and the Wailers live concert. As we were concerned, we were all trying to gather up some strength with orange juice and tea on hand in order to last till the morning hour of the live set...Unfortunately, B.D.Foxmoor's voice was gone and would be impossible for him to bring out the six-hour live set. However, around 11 o'clock, dj Booker took his place behind the decks and started a short low bap music retrospect. Every now and then, B.D.Foxmoor was commenting the year gone and the one to come. A camera was travelling in the place and among the people to gather wishes and comments concerning the festival. All were much talkative[...]! When the countdown was about to begin, they all grabbed beers, friends, cigarettes on hand and circled the stage. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. The new year found us, may it will be turned out to be a good one! After all the kisses, the hugs and the handshakes the live had to take place. As B.D.Foxmoor's voice wouldn't last for long, we started by singing The wind blows against and other favourite songs. After almost half an hour, the live set was paused so the cake of vasilopita to be cut. One piece went for low bap, a huge one for the people and the rest was split for each group. The winning coin landed on the piece of Time Crack and Praxia (sometimes, luck is not blind, it knows very well its actions.) Afterwards, B.D.Foxmoor stood behind the decks and continued playing the tracks from there. Of course, we had opened microphones and whoever wanted could get on stage rapping the song. The first hours of 2003 flew away fast with some nice music and warm company.
Around six o'clock in the morning we roost around the scene. There were still many people in the place. Booker on turntables, Jamoan on the guitar and B.D.F on the mic. We sang The Wizards of the Fire and May nobody care. An end like this is always as a ceremony. Each one inside the venue and up on the stage takes his place as all are somehow directed. In slow motion the picture would seem like a burning fire where every now and then the fists -the flames that is- are raised up in the air. This last ''Fare well'' always hides a thousand thank you, much love and deep truth. We owe an end like that each time at low bap. It must be done. Quite simply, so many years have passed and I am truly glad that we make it even better each year. The magic is always found at the end...
While the festival was evolving at Ston Aera Music Stage, a photography and sketch exhibition was organised at Praxia space. More precisely, from 26th of December till 5th of January, Praxia cultural association was filled by photojournalist images shot by professionals and friends photographers-reporters during several missions of them in various places in the world. Moreover, there were a lot of pictures taken from music videos shootings, from Twin Peaks Studio in Wales, portrait photography, humour sections, rare photographs of people and places. Freestyle Production's original record artwork was exposed as well as a big painting with all the Freestyle Production's faces drawn upon it, sketches and paintings of themes related to low bap, a collection of old posters etc. Slide projections were often taken place also. Among other things, the work of the following people was exposed: Xavier Hallauer, Pepi Loulakakes, Spyros Tsakires, Daphne Rokkou, Caribu, Versa, Tichodioktes (Panos & Vasilis), Penny Tsitlaides, Marios Papadopoulos, Yiannis Papademetriou, Sadahzinia, B.D.Foxmoor, Xray, Adele Nozedar, Natasha Sheery as well as many others who honoured the exhibition with their sketches.