Mindya Rock Fest is Bulgaria’s best-loved annual free festival for rock and blues music, dating from 2009. It takes place at the end of August in the village of Mindya, Veliko Tarnovo municipality, on the northern slopes of the Balkan mountains. The initiator and main organizer is a nationally known professor of politics, residing locally, Evgenii Dainov, who also plays in one of the featured bands. Co-organizers are local citizens. The festival gathers music fans from all over Bulgaria, who come to hear Bulgarian rock and blues bands for free. For the first few years, funding was raised exclusively from local people and businesses. Since 2011, the municipality of Veliko Tarnovo has covered an increasing proportion of the expenses.
Originally, the idea of holding a free rock festival was first suggested in 2008 by a British couple, residing in the village, together with Bulgarian residents from the nearby town. The intention was – and is – to put the village on the cultural map of Bulgaria and attract a colourful mix of artists and music fans for a long week-end at the end of the summer. From the very first, local folk groups have been integrated into the cultural mix, together with visual artists and local crafts, much of it provided by the English residents in the area. “In an austere age, which pushes people apart, music and the arts bring them back together again”, say the organizers, who like to emphasize that the festival is a significant community-building tool.