Athens is the capital city of Greece as well as the center for all activities; the city serves as the country’s commercial, cultural and economic hub. Athens is also one of Europe’s most famous tourist destinations; an average of 6 million visitors come to experience what the Greek capital has to offer.
One of the main reasons why tourism is big in Athens is because of its amazing festivals; with clear skies and warm temperatures practically year round, the city is the perfect venue for outdoor festivals and other major events. If you are a fan of music, then you will surely appreciate the different concerts held in the city throughout the year.
Every year, Athens transforms into a stage for music festivals across a variety of genres. These exciting concerts bring together people from all walks of life, both locals and tourists, who are looking to join in on the fun and enjoy some live world-class performances.
To help you plan your trip to the Greek capital, we’ve compiled this list of the best music festivals in Athens in 2022. This selection contains everything from jazz concerts to electronic music raves and everything in between. Before you attend any of these events, be sure to stow your luggage at a Bounce storage locker in the city. Then, see our guide to getting around Athens and get ready to dance!
The best music festivals in Athens in 2022
Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival
Established in 2001, the Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival is a week-long summer festival that highlights jazz music and serves as an opportunity for all generations to appreciate and get to know more about the genre. Held in the Athens Technopolis Amphitheatre, the event is one of the highlights of the summer Athenian calendar. The best part is that admission to this major event is free of charge!
For its 21st edition this 2022, the festival will be held from the 23rd to 29th of May with a theme of “Women in Jazz”. This means that the festival will feature only female artists as well as jazz bands that are fronted by women, including names such as Christina Psycha, Lia Hide and Tania Giannouli Trio. Through this initiative, the festival aims to put a spotlight on women’s stories, give the artists the chance to inspire up-and-coming talents, and promote gender equality in the jazz music industry.
ADD Festival Athens
The ADD Festival is one of the biggest electronic music festivals in Athens that will be held from May 27th to 28th this 2022. Founded in 2018, its name ADD means “Athens Dance ‘til Dawn”, which is an apt choice as the music festival goes on until the wee hours of the morning. Tickets to the festival range from €49 to €149 and can be bought online through the festival’s official website.
This year, the festival will be held at an industrial complex located in Peiraios 260 and is hosted by the Athens Epidaurus Festival. The total duration of the event will be 32 hours and will feature over 40 different electronic artists, including big names in the industry such as Ancient Methods, Clubkid, Anetha, Egyptian Lover, DJ Shadow and more.
Athens and Epidaurus Festival
No doubt the biggest event in the Athenian calendar, the Athens and Epidaurus Festival is a major cultural event that takes place all summer long across various locations within the city. Founded in 1955, it is one of the oldest festivals in Europe and perhaps the highlight of the summer season in Athens.
In 2022, this epic festival will take place from June through to October and will feature a broad range of activities – from live music concerts to dance and theater performances. The two main venues of the festival are the ancient theatre of Epidaurus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and will feature some of the biggest names in music, such as Patti Smith, Ibrahim Maalouf, Diane Krall, Laurie Anderson and award-winning composer Max Richter.
Up the Hammers Festival
If you are a fan of metal music, then you shouldn’t miss the Up the Hammers Festival, an annual concert featuring some of the biggest bands in the genre. After some cancellations due to the pandemic, this festival is returning to the Greek capital in 2022 and will be held on June 9th to 11th at the Gagarin 205 music space. Some of the bands that will be playing in the event include Skyclad, Conception, Ostrogoth, Trespass and Atlantean Kodex; tickets to the Up the Hammers Festival range from €42 to €45.
Plisskën Festival held its inaugural event back in December 2010 and has since built a reputation as one of the most interesting and exciting music festivals in Athens. Since its inception, the festival has featured over 350 artists and bands, both local and international; some of the acts that have performed at Plisskën include Peaches, Wild Beasts, Shackleton and Ebo Taylor.
This year, the festival will be held from on 12th to 13th June and will be held at the Athens Technopolis. The 2022 lineup consists of major acts such as Caribou, Boy Pablo, Avalon Emerson, Bonobo and Slowthai. Aside from the world-class musicians performing, Plisskën Festival also hosts a range of mini events and exhibitions in the venue and tickets cost €39 for a one-day pass and €70 for two-day pass.
Athens Rocks Festival
If rock music is your cup of tea, you may want to buy a ticket to the annual Athens Rocks Festival. As its name suggests, this summer event showcases some of the biggest local and international talents in the rock genre. This year, the Athens Rocks Festival will be held on June 13th at the Athens Olympic Complex and will be featuring bands such as the Dropkick Murphys, Fundracar, The Rumjacks and Villagers of Ioannina City. Tickets to this one-day event costs €52.80.
Release Athens Festival
Starting in 2016, the Release Athens Festival is one of the summer’s biggest and most significant events not just in the city but in the whole of Greece. The festival was created in order to satisfy a broad audience with varying music preferences and has since attracted thousands of visitors from all over the globe every year.
Since its inception, Release has been held in Plateia Nerou (Water Square), located in the seaside district of Palaio Faliro. This 2022, the festival will be held from June 15th to July 23rd and will feature performances from heavyweight acts such as Judas Priest, Pet Shop Boys, Slipknot, Bauhaus, Liam Gallagher, London Grammar and much more. While ticket costs vary depending on the date, the prices range anywhere from €17 to €70.
Summer Nostos Festival
The Summer Nostos Festival is an outdoor festival that takes place every June and is hosted by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre (SNFCC). This multi-faceted event offers up an incredible mix of live music, sports, art, workshops, dance and other entertaining activities that takes place over a specific number of days.
This year, the Summer Nostos Festival will be held at SNFCC on the 23rd and 24th of June and will feature an amazing line-up of artists. Some of the acts scheduled to perform at SNF include Good Job Nicky, Locomondo, Jorja Smith and Masked Wolf. This music festival is completely free and welcomes attendees of all ages.
Colour Day Festival
Regarded as one of the most prominent festivals in Greece, Colour Day Festival is held every summer and welcomes over 40,000 attendees annually. Reminiscent of India’s Holi celebrations, the event features the tossing of colored powder as well as live music performances for the duration of the festival.
The 2022 Colour Day Festival is scheduled to be held on June 25th at the Olympic Athletic Center of Athens (O.A.K.A.); the event will feature performances from acts like DJ Paco and Natasha Kay. The price of regular tickets to the music festival cost range from €15 while the premium package ticket costs €25.
Another one of Athens’ top music festivals to look out for during summer is the Ejekt Festival, which is the city’s biggest event that brings together alternative and electronic music. This major festival was first held in 2005 at the Olympic Baseball Court and has since welcomed some heavy-hitters in the music industry, including artists like The Cure, Beastie Boys, Bad Religion, Moby, James Blake and The Killers.
Ejekt Festival 2022 will be held at the Olympic Athletic Center of Athens (O.A.K.A.) on the 29th of June and will be headlined by huge names such as Muse, Yungblud, Danai Nielsen and Nothing But Thieves. The cost of tickets varies according to the area, though the prices range from €55 to €175.
Primer Music Festival
The Primer Music Festival is Greece’s largest electronic and dance music event and is held in the coastal town of Palaio Faliro, just ten minutes outside of Athens. After over two years, this exciting music festival will return this 2022 at the Water Square; the event will take place over two days, from July 8th to 9th, and will feature a plethora of local and international acts. Day 1 will be headlined by world-famous hip-hop artist Tyga while day 2 will feature superstar DJ Tiesto alongside other acts like Jan Blomqvist and Sonny Fodera. Ticket prices to the event depend on which day you choose to go and can cost anywhere between €24 and €80.
Although it is not actually held in Athens, the Rockwave Festival is an event worth making the trip for, especially if you are a lover of rock music. Held every June at Malakasa, which is located approximately 25 miles north of Athens, the music festival is traditionally held over a span of three days (although this changes sometimes) and showcases an impressive lineup of local and international rock musicians and bands.
The first ever Rockwave Festival was held in 1996 and has since built a reputation as one of Greece’s largest music events; since it began, there have been more than 300 acts that have graced the Rockwave stage. The event has also become a meeting point for music lovers from different parts of the world. For this year, Rockwave Festival will take place on July 22nd at the Terra Vibe Park and will feature performers such as Placebo, Social Distortion and Amenra. Tickets to the event range from €49 to €150.
Megaron Concert Hall Garden Series
The Megaron Athens Concert Hall is a music venue found along Athens’ Vasilissis Sofias Avenue. As part of a yearly tradition during the summer months of June and July, the location is transformed into a concert venue that hosts a series of music events throughout the season.
During this period, both locals and tourists get to enjoy amazing live performances under the stars for free. The 2022 line-up for the Megaron Concert Hall Garden Series includes prominent acts such as Manolis Mitsias, Alkistis Protopsalti and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Demons Gate Festival
If you are looking to enjoy some heavy beats and loud music, then the Demons Gate Festival may just be the perfect concert for you. This event is dedicated to hard-hitting metal music and features local and international bands alike. This 2022, the event is set to take place from September 30th to October 1st and will be held at the KYTTARO live club.
Planning to spend some more days in Athens?
If you find yourself still in Athens even when the festival season has died down, don’t fret; there are plenty of fun things to do and places to see in the city to keep you occupied. The Greek capital boasts a long list of world-renowned museums and historical attractions that are worth visiting during your stay. If these cultural activities aren’t your thing, you may opt to do some shopping or sample some of the finest street food that Athens has to offer.
If you're planning to stay longer in Athens, take a look at our other Athens guides for other fun activities!