A Country festival in Greece? Many of you might face this with disbelief but once you get the facts  you will see that it isn’t something strange. The hyperactive Greek Cowboys and Country Girls fan club, a team that supports the Country music and overall lifestyle, organizes the 2nd Moonshine festival in collaboration with The Ranch and Moonshine Radio.

What is The Ranch? Simply the ultimate place for recreation concerning the Country lifestyle, operation in Sofiko (near Corinth) since 1999! As for Moonshine web radio, it’s a point of reference concerning Jazz, Soul and Country music. SO it was a matter of time before these three pillars of the Country philosophy joined forces for the birth of the ultimate American experience on Greek soil. The first attempt took place in 2015 and its success led without hesitation to the second, considerably enhanced version. Its two days include antique cars rally, horseback riding, rodeo, archery range, dancing lessons, live concerts and many more, all of them using country and the American 50s and 60s as a joined reference.


The Ranch and its location stole my breath since I wasn’t prepared for such a site on the mountains of Corinth. Just an hour away from Athens, the Ranch is a recreation facility built with love and respect to the environment and the surrounding pine tree forest. Buildings made entirely out of wood, exact replicas to the ones located in the American Wild West. The first antique cars had already arrived, giving the chance to the visitors to admire and rate them. While the bands were getting ready to hit the stage, I wandered around trying most of the outdoor activities.


Around 6 o’clock, Nikos Xynos and his band started a set that was a tribute to legend Johnny Cash. Up next was Maria Kilaidoni, daughter of the Greek singer and composer Loukianos, following her father’s steps presenting covers and compositions of her own. The time came for the rally awards while the ultimate Country experience of Strawhats was getting ready to play its set. The band was a musical and visual tribute to the American Country music and style, delivering a delightful set while they had some vocal help from Big George, a Country icon hailing from another era. During many of songs there was also some original Country dancing led by the Greek Cowboys and Country Girls club president and dance instructor George Serentini.


The sun fell behind the mountains and the temperature dropped but the experienced George Gakis and his Troublemakers warmed the audience with cheerful Rock ‘n’ Roll. The night ended indoors with a dj set arranged by the Moonshine Radio producers. Unfortunately I couldn’t stay in The Ranch and be part of the second day activities. But next year I will definitely be there for the weekend!

Kostas Kounadinis