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Authorities hope this festival will become an annual event drawing crowds from Bulgaria and abroad

South West Festival brings world ethno music to small-town Bulgaria

South West Festival brings world ethno music to small-town Bulgaria

Blagoevgrad will host the festival in the city’s redeveloped barracks, also known as Macedonia Park, with world music queen Ishtar and Serbian icon Goran Bregovic headlining

Recently, the City of Blagoevgrad announced the upcoming South West Festival, the first edition of an initiative which the local administration hopes will be the start of a long-lasting tradition for the region. The festival will feature a blend of local, Bulgarian ethno-pop and ethno-rock artists along with more traditional pop stars. The South West Festival will take place on 25 and 26 June in the city’s Macedonia park.

The main headline acts are firmly within the cross-cultural genre, as the two-day event features Israeli world music powerhouse Ishtar and the man who brought Balkan music into the mainstream – Goran Bregovic.

Macedonia Park – recycling infrastructure into open spaces for culture

Macedonia Park is a very unique development to Blagoevgrad, taking advantage of the old and now defunct infrastructure and remaking it into something the whole city can use. In 2017, authorities unveiled the new facility that took a portion of the city’s military barracks.

The new park has green spaces, as well as two small halls that are supposed to operate as bars, exhibition spaces, theatre and performance spaces. It also features enough enclosed area, so controlling attendee flows will not be a problem.

Blagoevgrad’s Mayor, Ilko Stoyanov explained that he hopes South West Festival will be an initiative that will bring life to the city together with a lot of visitors. At the same time, Stoyanov has expressed his intent for the Festival to be one element of a larger event that will only grow in the future.

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