Wall Street Journal in an extensive article made a special tribute to acclaimed 58-year-old Agathon Iakovidis and the Greek band Koza Mostra.
At the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 which took place in the Swedish city Malmo, the Greek entrant finished a respectable sixth.
However, according to WSJ the success of the newly formed band’s Balkan-inspired pop tune Alcohol is Free, didn’t actually mean that they had the money to celebrate. The implications of the crisis-stricken Greek economy were felt even for newly minted stars at Europe’s wildest annual music party.
Led by a famous folk singer, mustachioed Agathon, the Greek band was reportedly kept to a street musician’s budget. Greek television network Mega reported the band members shared hotel rooms and were limited to a daily stipend of a mere €15 ($19.33). Therefore, as highlighted by the newspaper, the injustices continued even after the band returned to a hero’s welcome back in Athens.
“We had to take a long distance bus to go back to Thessaloniki,” band member Ilias Kozas told Mega on May 21, referring to his hometown.
Led by Iakovidis, the six-member band lured European audiences with the song about a drunken evening, a collaboration with Iakovidis and Kozas’ ska band, named Koza Mostra.
Despite the enthusiastic welcome by fans and journalists, in a TV interview, Kozas made it clear that there was no financial reward for the Greek team before or after their Eurovision participation. “We traveled to Sweden with €5 in our pockets,” he stated.
Given that no flight had been booked for Koza Mostra to return home to Thessaloniki, a city 500 kilometers north of Athens, they took the bus.
Moreover, Mega TV reported that the band’s promotional video shown before their Eurovision performance was self-made, not studio produced.
In fact, Greece’s participation in the popular song contest was uncertain given the economic crisis the country has been dealing with during the past few years.
But despite all, Alcohol is free, and Koza Mostra along with Agathon, have managed to win the impressions not only in Greece, but throughout Europe as well.