On the 18th of January 1978, a crowd of 350 people packed the Australian Music Centre at The Rocks, Sydney for a concert featuring Greek Musician Timotheos Arvanitakis, David Gulpilil, the Italian Group Bella Ciao and a Spanish classical guitarist. It was the first concert of The Boîte, formed by three university friends Peter Carantinos, Athena Touriki and Takis Constantopedos.
They were inspired to host the event following the success of a concert organised by Peter as part of the Carnivale ’77 program, featuring then unknown composer Arvanitakis. The three had originally planned to host the concert for friends in their own backyard, but soon found themselves scouting for a larger venue as it became clear there was significant interest. A series of fortnightly Boîte concerts at the Australian Music Centre followed, featuring music from around the globe, attracting healthy crowds of mostly second-generation migrants.
The Boîte began making an impact very quickly. The program for a March ’78 Boîte concert boasted the following quote from Al Grassby the former Minister for Immigration under the Whitlam Government, credited with introducing the policy of multiculturalism to Australia:
‘The Boîte is the best manifestation of Australia’s cultural revolution. It holds promise of helping to make Australia a more live, vibrant community.‘Al Grassby, 1978