Another Izmir International Festival approaches this year, offering an interesting and varied program. Once again Ephesus will provide a superb venue for pieces familiar to the Izmir audience and some that may be new. Ephesus at night is perhaps more evocative than during the blinding light of the summer sun and lends a special ambience to the performance of classical music.
There are a number of other performances at Ephesus, for which the details in English can be seen on the IKSEV website
While the price of 250 TL for the best seats may be out of the reach of many there are tickets available for a more modest 30TL. In past years the concerts have been reasonably well attended but unfortunately because of ticketing arrangements local people may not find it as easy to obtain them. Tickets are available online from www.biletix.com/etkinlik-grup/83101112/IZMIR/
and having spoken to a representative from IKSEV the organisers of the event, it would appear that tickets purchased can be collected at the gate from 7:30pm on the day of the event. This information does not appear to be provided on the IKSEV website nor on the Biletix website. It is not helpful to be informed by IKSEV that the responsibility for ticketing lies with Biletix. It should be IKSEV themselves who ensure that clear and correct information is provided.
I found arrangements regarding ticketing confusing when I have attended the festival previously. The lack of information regarding ticketing especially for the local community is unsatisfactory. It is noted that there is a ticket outlet in Manisa nearby to Izmir, yet Selçuk whose community affords hospitality to concertgoers not only have to face the challenge of obtaining tickets but are not even regarded as being sufficiently worthy of IKSEV’s attention since there is no promotion of the festival in the local area. It verges on an insult to use the venue in the local community but not support that community to either participate in a cultural activity or benefit through the promotion of the event.
While the venues at Ephesus may offer a wonderful enhancement to the performance of fine music the audience sometimes may detract from the experience. The last occasion I attended a concert at Ephesus the conductor of a world-famous orchestra did not feel obliged to give an encore. And who can blame him when a noticeable segment of the audience who appeared to hail from the ‘better’ suburbs of Izmir seemed more intent on playing with their mobile phones than enjoying the music. I had to refrain from an altercation with a young festival organiser who thought it might be a good idea to perch himself next to me on the opening bars of the first piece to take a photo. At my protest he indicated his official status by pointing to his festival ID dangling around his neck. My ferocious glance at his rather expensive camera must have given him cause for second thoughts but only inasmuch as he relocated to bother some other concertgoer with his ‘official duties’. Perhaps it is for his guidance that Biletix has reminded concertgoers on their website that;
“Children under age 7 are not allowed. 7 Year olds and over are required to have a ticket.”
“No cameras or any type of recording devices are allowed into the event area.”
If you do attend the concerts and encounter such behaviour act early and decisively to ensure your and everyone else’s enjoyment.
Despite the obstacles for local people and visitors to Selçuk in obtaining tickets and clear information the festival is well worth attending. The festival is an important event in the cultural life of the area and should be accessible to all music lovers. Selçuk is well positioned for concertgoers who want a short taxi ride or leisurely stroll to the venue and offers a range of excellent accommodation. ‘‘Brian Crocker”