THE SECRETS OF THE MOUNTAINS
We walked deep into the mountains searching for the Meadows in the Mountains festival:
‘Where the land touches the sky and the sun cuddles nature’
Words: Emily Georgieva
03 August 2019
The mountains are an enchanted place. They have been a home to tribes since ancient times and continue to steal the hearts of many today. Those massifs have a lot of outspoken stories that they will never tell, secrets, which have been shared with them by travellers, who have come a long way to hike the trials in peace and quiet. They are definitely a place to distance yourself from everything else and find a peace of mind. The Rhodopes Mountains in Bulgaria have their own secrets to share with everyone who is curious enough to find out what wonders are hidden in there.
There is a festival held in the heart of the Rhodopes, where it feels as if the mountain itself is hugging the area. The festival, held each year in June, lasts for four days. Nomads from many places all around the world travel to Bulgaria over the summer to experience Meadows in the Mountains. If you are anything like us, once you get there, you will want to come back for the years to come. You will feel a kind of healing energy that will set your mind free and happiness, which will come from the spirituality of the land. An event like no other, Meadows in the Mountains reflects the locals' history, culture and identity and this is what makes the festival even more special.
The area in the Rhodopes Mountains, which leads to the festival, is often referred to as 'the valley of death'. It is a place so beautiful, some head there to die as they know they will be surrounded by pure beauty and tranquillity.
‘‘Where the land touches the sky and the sun cuddles nature.’’
The festival itself is held for people, who can see beauty in the details and who don't need a lot to feel happy. It is rather a connection to the mountains and oneself. The Meadows in the Mountains is very much situated around wellness and this has become one of the main stages. Yoga classes and talks about tarot and plant-based medicine involve everybody to participate in several workshops. Music is celebrated vividly. Musicians play instruments, performing in front of everyone and people are encouraged to feel at one with every aspect of the festival at any time.
Guests of the Meadows in the Mountains are hosted in the tiny village of Polkovnik, which reflects the charm and humbleness of this area in Bulgaria. People sometimes have a choice and if they are lucky enough, they might be invited to sleep in the homes of the locals. Accommodation is provided in the camp areas or travellers can even sleep in tents in the forests under the night-sky to experience the festival in its full authenticity.
The local 'babas' sing songs, which reflect the culture, passed from older to younger generations. The babas wearing traditional dresses that are typical for the country and are made with attention to each detail. Kukeri dancers perform their traditional routines, which is a very special thing to witness as they usually only perform once a year in the month of January and are believed to send the evil spirits away and protect the people from illnesses. This is the reason why attending the festival gives travellers the opportunity to get close to the past of the country, projected through the spectrum of the present. It is like participating in a special event that manages to capture the essence of the whole country in one place and it's what gets travellers to keep coming back.
At night time the festival transforms completely. DJs play electric tracks loud to get everybody in the mood. From all stages you can hear different kind of sounds and all around you there are likely-minded people. This is the time and place to dance and leave all your worries behind. It is a place to feel free and let the music guide your body. People stay up all night long, talking to the new friends they made, dancing the night away and gathering in the two-tiered tree house with a candled rooftop to experience somewhat of a private DJ party.
When the sun begins to rise the whole place changes as if by magic. All the people, who came to experience the Meadows in the Mountains welcome the rising of the morning together, like a tribe that came together to connect to nature. It is as if you are standing on the edge of the world, witnessing the down of something new. People, who were just strangers a few days ago end up sharing a moment in time, which they are not likely to experience in the same way ever again. It is a feeling of energy, a delicate kind of euphoria to which no words can do justice. It is a moment that simply needs to be experienced.
Follow Meadows in the Mountains on their social media to stay updated to what's new about the festival. Gather your friends, book a week off work and grab your tickets for one of the most bohemian festivals you will have the privilege to experience.
Have you been to Meadows in the Mountains yet? We would love to hear how it went! Write to us to share your experiences with our team!
NOMADSofORIGIN is an independent annual publication with a focus on sustainable travelling and global cultural values. Each issue features interviews, engaging articles and photo guides, which take our nomadic readers through different destinations and introduce them to local people's perspectives.
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