Nikos Sachpasidis (1952-1997)

To make it clear from the start, this is not going to be some sort of highly objective piece of analytical journalism. Nikos was a friend. In as much as business relationships can ever cross that barrier into emotional attachments, I loved him.  This wasn't hard - in a business full of chancers and hard-nosed bastards he was one of the most loveable people I have ever met. I also know that I am far from being alone in this opinion.

Nikos died during the evening of October 25th after a long and incredibly brave fight against cancer. He was only 45 years old. He left behind a wife, Evy, a daughter, Christina - and a loyal friend and assistant, Mary Telemachou. 

At the time of the last ILMC, he was in America on one of several trips he made there for treatment at a cancer clinic, and the conference was dedicated to him as a gesture of support.

In the cruel way that these things so often unfold, a few months ago it appeared that he had actually beaten the illness, but it soon became clear that the disease had in fact spread throughout his body and that the ending would be inevitable. News of this tragic turnabout brought an unprecedented wave of support and affection from friends and business colleagues all over the world - promoters, agents, managers and artists. Nikos was deeply moved by this, and asked me to convey his sincere thanks to everyone that he was too sick to reply to personally - but it was no more than he deserved.

He was an extraordinary man. In his business life he won the respect of everyone who dealt with him - and pretty much put Greece on the touring map as a market where there was at least one company that could deliver a service on a par with the highest standards of international concert promoting. He was fair and honest in his dealings, imaginative in his work, and passionate about his profession. For Nikos, business relationships and friendship were hardly distinguishable - he was a gentle and affectionate person who - as the saying goes - "wore his heart on his sleeve".

He cared deeply about the ILMC. He was one of the founder members and people closest to its heart. At the end of a weekend I could always get an instant impression of its success or failure by making a beeline for Nikos in the crowd - if he was smiling it had worked, if he was looking unhappy then I knew that we had serious work to do!

Because of his somewhat idiosyncratic command of the English language, his voice was not often heard in the conference sessions - with one notable exception: a brave and eloquent plea for unity and cooperation made in a nerve-wracking speech to a packed hall at the start of an ILMC at the Regent Hotel. Every year he was there - with a big hug and a bottle of Metaxas (one of which I'm digging into at the moment in order to get through this sad piece of prose).

They say that only the good die young. Nikos was a good guy and he has died way before his time with too much left to be done. He wanted everyone to learn from his own tragedy that though life is short - that every day is precious and not to be wasted on bullshit. He wanted to carry on promoting, he wanted to see Scotland, he wanted the time and health to be able to sit with his friends and enjoy a drink and a laugh. If I believed in a God who gave a damn I would pray that he's doing that now.

Rest in peace Nikos - we'll see you again soon.

(Words: Martin Hopewell)

A memorial service was held for Nikos Sachpasidis on Sunday, 30 November, 1997 at The Church Of Aghia Paraskevi
Mesogeion Avenue
, Aghia Paraskevi
Athens, Greece

Nikos Sachpasidis - Biography

June 28th 1952 - Born in Piraeus. Both parents were originally from Northern Greece.
1958 - 1970  Went to school in Piraeus.
1970 - 1973  Attended the School of Philosophy at Salonika University.
1973 - 1974  Went to Frankfurt for post graduate studies in Philosophy.
1974 - 1976  Did his National Service in the Greek Army
1977 - 1978  First club opens - Braxton Jazz Club - he sold his university books to buy chairs, and ended up with 142     different ones!
1978  Opened a bar, 'Transformer', on the island of Ios, for the summer season.
1978  Opened the Half Note Jazz Club, which he later sold to open Half Note Productions.
1979  Founded Half Note Productions. The first concert was by the trombone player, Albert Manglesdorf.
1980  Organised the first jazz festival in Greece featuring Dexter Gordon, Milt Jackson, Ray Brown, Jan Garbarek, Egberto Gismonti, Frank Foster, Charlie Haden. He then extended the range of concerts into a broader field of music, including rock concerts, ballets, and classical shows.
1983  Married Maria Mate. He organised the first tours with local artists - abroad with Mikis Theodorakis, Manos Hadjidakis, and George Dalaras. Concerts in Greece were extended to include organisation of festivals for Municipalities.
January 1984  His daughter, Christina was born - on the day that he was promoting Eric Clapton!
October 3rd 1988  Promoted the largest concert in the history of Half Note Productions, Amnesty International 'Human Rights Now!'
September 1990  Promoted the first performance by one of the three internationally acclaimed tenors in Greece, Jose Carreras at the Herod Atticus Theatre.
1992 Opened up the live stadium concert industry in Turkey, with Bryan Adams in Istanbul.
November 1995 Opened the high class restaurant 'Naftilia' combining beautiful aesthetics and mediterranean cuisine.
May 1996  Proposed to Evy Asvesti at the Sting concert at the Herod Atticus Theatre.
July 1996  Married Evy.
September 1996  Diagnosed with lung cancer.
Dec. 31st 1996  Organised the inauguration ceremony for the Cultural Capital of Europe 1997 in Salonika. During this time he was shuttling back and forth between Boston and Athens for medical treatments.
Oct. 25th 1997 Nikos passed away.