The ultimate melodic summer:
The best music festivals in Bulgaria!
No matter what your taste in music is, there is undoubtedly a music festival in Bulgaria for you. From festivals with a cause, to artistic gatherings, to week-long parties, we’ve gathered the most comprehensive list of ongoing music festivals in Bulgaria. Many of the music festivals in this list are during the spring and summer months. This tends to be the season when people travel, take vacations, and attend events. Luckily, this tends to be the high season for tourism, so if you’re in Bulgaria in the summer, you can catch more than one of these music festivals.
A big plus of Bulgarian music festivals is the pricing. Many of them go on for multiple days and tickets start at about 50 EUR, or 100 BGN, which is pretty affordable for a two or three-day event. At the bottom of this list, we’ve even included some free music festivals you can attend if you’re on a tight budget, but still want to enjoy the music scene in Bulgaria.
Whether you’re an avid festival-goer or are looking for more activities during your stay, there’s sure to be a music festival on our list for you!
City of Varna
June through September
Price varies for each performance.
It’s only right that we start this list off with the oldest known official music festival in Bulgaria.
Founded in Varna in 1926, this music festival has been going strong for almost 100 years. IMF Varna Summer is a celebration of the craft of music, featuring a variety of classical, symphonic and chamber music from various countries.
Throughout the four months of the ongoing program, you can enjoy concerts and symposiums at different locations at the marine capital of Bulgaria, Varna. There are also multiple events that feature 3D projects and sound sculptures accompanying the musical program.
Part of the music festival program is a series of master classes by Bulgarian renowned musicians. These consist of lectures, seminars, and classes where young musicians under 35 can perfect their performance skills and musical craft.
City of Velingrad
End of August
Three-day tickets start at 140 BGN.
Arte Festival in Velingrad is one of the newer music festivals in Bulgaria, but it’s actually more than that. The three-day festival program caters to all age groups and combines music, food and comedy.
In the yearly line-up, you can expect to find European sensations like Goran Bregovic, Zaz, and Faithless alongside Bulgarian favorites like Kontrol and Desi Dobreva. For the foodies, there is a chef’s stage with cooking challenges and games hosted by some of the best Bulgarian culinary artists who share recipes and secrets in the Balkan cuisine. At the comedy and cinema section, Bulgarian artists and actors lead cinema talks featuring a stand-up comedy stage. There is even entertainment for the youngest festival-goers, like interactive science classes, games, bounce houses, and even a circus!
While Arte Festival is still fresh on the scene, it is quickly becoming a favorite music festival in Bulgaria for both local families and international visitors.
Golyam Beglik Reservoir
End of August
Eight-day tickets start at 50 BGN.
If you are looking for more of a grounding and spiritual gathering, then Beglika Fest is the music festival for you.
Beglika Fest is built around community. Environmentalists and nature-lovers come together for a full eight days experience on the shores of the Golyam Beglik reservoir. Unwind and recharge surrounded by the lush lake oasis and the forests of the Rhodope region.
The festival packs a diverse program of practices and discussions centred around spirituality, ecology and well-being. Take your first steps in herbalism, get your body flowing at one of the yoga, tai chi, and dance classes, or get your hands dirty in a pottery class. If you want to completely revel in nature, you can rent a kayak and cruise through the small islands of the reservoir.
Middle of June
Four-day tickets are 45 EUR.
Aymon tribal festival is a cosmic gathering, bringing together lovers of psychedelic music and spiritual rituals. The four-day festival is tucked away in the small village of Bosnek, away from the busy city life and soak in the serene landscape of the Pernik region.
If you feel like dancing among the trees, at the music stage of the festival you will find a colorful variety of psychedelic genres like glitch & bass, progressive, IDM, dub techno and Psybient. For a relaxing and introspective experience, you can also join in on sound meditations, spirituality lectures and ancient rituals.
Aymon tribal festival is exactly what the name suggests – a gathering of a tribe of like-minded people who come together to dance and feel the magic of the Bulgarian forests.
Beginning of June
Four-day tickets start at 200 BGN.
The Meadows in the Mountains festival was one of Bulgaria’s best-kept secret festivals for a couple of years. Now that the secret is out, we can confirm that this music festival is a unique atmospheric experience that comes close to the Burning Man of Europe.
Meadows in the Mountains is practically a together from all over the globe over a shared love for music, sustainability and community. The festival’s principles of regenerative culture, creativity and nature are reflected in the diverse four-day experience, including art installations, spiritual practices and ecology workshops. Surrounded by alternative music from dusk till dawn, you might even discover your new favorite niche artist at Meadows.
Set in the misty hills above the small village of Polkovnik Serafimovo, Meadows in the Mountains is a divine and festive escape from busy urban life.
Wake-up Beach, Varvara Village
Middle of August
Drum and bass music took over Bulgaria in the early 2000s and hasn’t left ever since. One of the biggest formations and pioneers in the drum and bass movement in Bulgaria is Hard Music and Sounds United, or HMSU for short.
For the seventh year in a row in 2022, HMSU is hosting Bass Sea festival with the help of the British label, Formation Records. The four-day music festival is a summer jungle party on the beach with over 20 international and local artists. Not only can you expect to party and dance from sunset to sunrise on the beach, but you can take the vibe into the water and hop on one of the private boat parties, as well.
You can camp on the beach itself, or choose to stay at one of the towns nearby, like Ahtopol, Tsarevo, or Sinemorets.
Check out these tips for attending
music festivals in Bulgaria
We’ve outlined some of the essential items to bring with you to Bulgarian music festivals. Most of the events are in the summer, so sun protection and hydration are a must. Also, for festivals that offer camping, you might want to consider buying a tent, or renting one from the organizers, if that’s listed as an option.
As with any crowded space, be aware of your belongings! Bring a small bag that you can carry with you with your ID, phone, and other valuables. Some festivals take cards, but be sure to bring cash, just in case. You also might want to consider bringing a portable charger so you can keep your phone charged.
Depending on the festival, you might be allowed to bring cameras, so if you want to document the experience in HD, pack your camera, too!
City of Plovdiv
Beginning of July
Three-day tickets are 80 BGN.
Wrong fest is nothing less than the right place to be.
Combining punk and “wrong” culture with alternative music for three days, this music festival is not like the others on this list. Don’t expect to find an amusement park here, or any lectures and workshops. The musical program is a mixture of local and international artists and is diverse enough that you won’t need anything else. There are few music festivals with this concept around the Balkans, so this is one you won’t want to miss.
Wrong Fest has been on the Bulgarian music festivals scene since 2013 with the support of The Wrong Bar, an unique, underground day-time restaurant and night-time bar. As you can probably guess, this is where the festival got its name.
Wrong Fest takes place on the rowing canal in Plovdiv. There are no options for camping, so be sure to find accommodation in Plovdiv early, as the city is quite popular during the summer and rooms fill up around the festival dates. If you want to find out more about Plovdiv, check out our city guidе.
Open Buzludzha Festival
End of August
Three-day tickets are 49 BGN.
A festival with a cause, Open Buzludzha is a Bulgarian music festival and fundraiser aimed at the restoration of the endangered Buzludzha monument.
Chances are, you’ve probably heard of this abandoned former soviet monument in Bulgaria. Its impressive brutalist build and controversial history attract visitors and history buffs from around the world. In 2021 alone, over 50,000 people visited Buzludzha, but were denied access due to the high risks that the crumbling interior of the structure poses.
The Buzludzha Project Foundation is working to change that. The non-profit organization has been actively engaged in restoring and protecting this cultural heritage site from turning into ruin since 2015.
At Open Buzludzha, you can spend three days near the Rose Valley of Bulgaria, discovering the region through cultural workshops, lectures and tours all while listening to a diverse line-up of Bulgarian artists. Catch an outdoor play, or submit your best festival shots to the annual photography contest. By far, the best part is that you will be supporting the preservation of a Bulgarian heritage site while you have fun!
Sofia and Plovdiv
Beginning and end of July
Prices vary based on location.
Originally native to Plovdiv, the interest in this music festival has outgrown a single city and now Hills of Rock is held in both Sofia and Plovdiv. This event is for lovers of rock and metal, hosting 50+ bands each year from around the world. The Bulgarian metal and rock fan base is substantial, so expect a big event with fans of all ages. Headliners in 2022 for the Sofia festival are Placebo and Five Finger Death Punch and for Plovdiv, Slipknot.
If you choose to attend Hills of Rock in Plovdiv and want to take in the full experience, you have the option to camp out at the festival. That way, you can meet fellow fans, keep the party going and the beer flowing through the night.
The Sofia edition of the festival takes place over two days, while the Plovdiv edition continues for three days. You can also buy daily passes for each location, if you prefer. It’s worth noting that parking and camping tickets are sold separately from the festival, but you can easily buy all of these on the festival website.
Middle of July
Four-day tickets are 160 BGN.
If you are a fan of rock and are in Bulgaria during the month of July – you’re in luck!
Midalidare Rock is another rock festival in the middle of summer and what can be even better than a music festival held at a winery? On the program for 2022, you can find the rock legends Whitesnake and Judas Priest along with about 30 other rock bands.
Of course, there will be wine at this festival. You can try the local wines of the Midalidare Estate winery, as well as many other libations at the festival Gastro Pub. If you need some time to unwind and recharge during the festival, you can also go fishing at the nearby reservoir, or even enjoy a spa procedure at the Midalidare hotel. In terms of accommodation, you have two options – to reserve a hotel room or camp out near the festival.
There are multiple camping spots and you can choose whether you want to be close to the stage, or 2 kilometres away at the serene Mogilovo lake. If you don’t have a tent, but want to camp out at the festival, the organizers will have tents for sale at the event that are yours to keep once the festival is over. Keep in mind you need to make a reservation for the camping area through the number listed on the event website, regardless if you are bringing or purchasing a tent.
If you prefer to sleep in a hotel, you can book your accommodation in the city of Stara Zagora. Festival-goers who book a hotel in the city can also take advantage of the free transport to and from the festival on all the days.
July through September
Price varies for each performance.
For patrons of classical music, opera, and ballet, Stage of the Ages is a landmark event. This months-long music festival is held in the old capital of Bulgaria, Veliko Tarnovo. Rather than having the traditional structure of a music festival over multiple days, Stage of the Ages runs all summer long with multiple performances each month.
Each performance takes place in the historic, open-air Tsarevets Fortress, a cultural heritage site fit for exquisite musical performances. In the 2022 program, you can find 8 summer performances, including symphonies, operas, dance spectacles, ballet, and operettas.
Revel in the marvellous melodies and take in the historic wonder of the city at Stage of the Ages. You won’t regret it. If you want to find out more about Veliko Tarnovo, check out our city guidе.
Remote location, 18km from Plovdiv
Beginning of July
Six-day tickets are 110 BGN
While Wake Up is not explicitly a music festival, the whole experience is guided by music, mostly from Bulgarian acoustic artists.
The organizers of Wake Up refer to each edition of the festival as an “experiment” and the main pillars that drive this event are self-growth, connection to nature, creativity and community.
At Wake Up, you can find over 600 activities spanning over 6 days. Take part in gardening, meditations, DIY workshops, community talks, yoga, reiki, interactive games, and much more. There are so many individual events and workshops that it’d be impossible to list them all here, but you can surely find something for your taste if the philosophy of the festival resonates with you.
Located far from city life and stress, Wake Up is a chance to immerse yourself in nature and take part in some self-care rituals along with like-minded people from around the world.
and here is our pick for
Free music festivals in Bulgaria
International Bagpipe Festival
Beginning of August
If big parties and concerts are not your thing and you prefer a more modest and instrumental music setting – the International Bagpipe Contest and Festival is for you.
One of Bulgaria’s most significant and treasured instrument is the bagpipe. Different from the Scottish bagpipes, the bagpipes of the Balkans create a more resonant sound that evokes a truly mystical emotion. As the name suggests, bagpipe players from Bulgaria and beyond come together to play and compete in the contest.
Local legends suggest that the small village of Gela is the birthplace of Orpheus, the famous Greek mythology figure. This charming village offers 300 days of sunshine in the year, lush meadows and unique traditions.
Held in the Ilinden Meadows of the picturesque Rhodope mountain region, the goal of the International Bagpipe Contest and Festival is to preserve Rhodope folklore and tradition.
The magical sound of the Bulgarian bagpipe echoing through the mountains will leave you speechless.
Beginning of July
No summer in Sofia is complete without the A to JazZ festival.
The July sunshine and this wonderful open air festival brings out all jazz lovers to one of Sofia’s most underrated parks – the field behind the Park Center shopping mall, or as locals call it “the small South Park.”
The A to JazZ festival gathers local, as well as international talents to share their love for brass. The festival begins in the early evening and goes into the night when the magic truly comes to life as the park buzzes with people, music, and dance.
Of course, to keep the party going, there are multiple drink vendors. You can choose from chilled wine, beer, or a craft cocktail to complement the lively mood of the festival. There are also multiple food vendors to keep you going after hours of dancing.
If you want to find out more about Sofia, check out our city guidе.
Black sea coast
1st of July
As an honorable mention, we cannot fail to include the unique to Bulgaria festival of July morning. While this festival doesn’t have a strict meeting point, it’s a tradition that takes every year at the same time.
The day before July 1st, people from around the country flock to the Black Sea coast to welcome the first rays of the July sunshine. As the tradition goes, the first day of July is welcomed by the song by Uriah Heep, “July Morning.”
Rumor has it this tradition began in the 1980s when the song became wildly popular in Bulgaria. The gathering is believed to have began as an informal protest to the communist regime of Bulgaria at the time, an act of freedom, a new beginning and a warm salute to the beginning of summer.
Even though there is no official gathering point for this festival, if you are at the Black Sea coast in the beginning of July: go out to the seaside and feel the magic of the July sunrise for yourself.
A final word
You see, we told you there’s a festival on this list for everyone!
We did our best to capture the diversity of music festivals in Bulgaria in the hopes that you will find at least one that draws you in. While in the past, Bulgarians’ consumption of Western music and art was banned, it is now a bustling sonic scene with dozens of music festivals around the country. From city festivals to remote locations, there are festivities taking place in each corner of Bulgaria – as long as you know where to look. Lucky for you, you did know where to look!
It’s worth noting that during our research, we found a couple of festival websites that are either outdated, or don’t offer accessible information in English. If this is the case with a fest you want to attend, please reach out to us – we’ll help you out!
Festival location map