A real feel good hippy vibe will be on the agenda at the Matala Beach Festival (21, 22 & 23 June 2019). This year will be the ninth year of an event that continues to delight regulars and newbies to the island of Crete.
Image Matala Beach Festival Facebook page
This gorgeous little getaway destination attracted the likes of Joni Mitchell back in the 60s and she even wrote a song about Matala called “Carey” which featured on her album Blue. The 60s and 70s was the era which saw hippie travellers live on the beach and in the nearby caves of Matala.
The following extract is from an interview with Joni Mitchell by Rolling Stone in early 1971.
“The caves were on high sedimentary cliffs, sandstone, a lot of seashells in it. The caves were carved out by the Minoans hundreds of years ago. Then they were used later on for leper caves. Then after that the Romans came, and they used them for burial crypts. Then some of them were filled in and sealed up for a long time. People began living there, beatniks, in the fifties. Kids gradually dug out more rooms. There were some people there who were wearing human teeth necklaces around their necks,” she said with a slight frown.
“We all put on a lot of weight. We were eating a lot of apple pies, good bacon. We were eating really well, good wholesome food.
“The village pretty well survived from the tourist trade, which was the kids that lived in the caves. I don’t know what their business was before people came. There were a couple of fishing boats that went out, that got enough fish to supply the two restaurants there.
“The bakery lady who had the grocery store there had fresh bread, fresh rice pudding, made nice yogurt every day, did a thriving business; and ended up just before I left, she installed a refrigerator. She had the only cold drinks in town. It was all chrome and glass. It was a symbol of her success.
“Then the cops came and kicked everyone out of the caves, but it was getting a little crazy there. Everybody was getting a little crazy there. Everybody was getting more and more into open nudity. They were really going back to the caveman. They were wearing little loincloths. The Greeks couldn’t understand what was happening.”
A number of years ago in the summer of 2011 the Mayor of the region threw a festival on the beach to celebrate the launch of the ‘Myth of Matala’ book featuring photos of the hippie cave residents during the 60s & 70s. It was a hippie reunion. 35,000 people heard about it and flocked to Matala beach. In 2012 over 58,000 people visited the festival weekend.
With a great beach location, free music and art events for all ages throughout the week and a big hippie love-in vibe the Matala Beach Festival should continue to delight visitors to Crete.
In 1986 two friends Larry Harvey and Jerry James decided on a spontaneous gathering while kicking back on San Francisco’s Baker Beach. Having invited a handful of friends they built a primitive wooden effigy and burned it. A guitar strummed, onlookers joined in, danced and created one of those unplanned shared moments of connectivity.