With many UK festivals now costing the equivalent of a decent holiday abroad, it’s not surprising that those smart Eastern Europeans are offering the option of a holiday and festival rolled into one. Hungary’s Sziget has been building up a devoted following for years, while Croatia’s festival scene is burgeoning with the likes of Echo. For the third year running, the east is bringing Bulgaria’s Meadows in the Mountains – part music festival, part hippy bliss-out, it’s set to be the perfect love-in of music, art and outdoor pursuits.
The brainchild of modern-day revolutionaries, brothers Benjamin and Damain Sasse, MM takes place over the 7th-9th June in the Rhodope Mountains. If promises of horse drawn carriages and downhill grass bobsleighing aren’t enough to make you fork out a very reasonable £95, MM offers a veritable smorgasbord of musical delights, including disco, electronica, chill, funk, folk and jazz. Probably uniquely among its kin, festival go-ers can goof around in waterfalls, thermal springs, and on that most essential piece of festival kit, a zip wire. Most importantly, you won’t need to pack your dad’s cagoule and industrial wellies - Bulgaria, unlike Britain and the North Pole, actually has a summer.
When you’re not zip-lining down a Rhodopian mountain at the speed of light, the boys from Bulgaria have assembled a pretty crafty line up for your listening pleasure. From our own shores are suitably ethereal dream-popsters, Mt. Wolf, presumably taking a break after the release of well-received second EP, 'Hypolight'. Fans of Alpines, Glasser and Husky Rescue should make the trip for them alone. They’re joined by Brighton five-piece, The Common Tongues, who combine English-rooted instrumentals with a country and Americana aesthetic.
Particularly strong is this year’s crop of DJs and club divas, with turns from acid techno house devil Sebastian Voigt and the brilliantly – or terribly – named Moomin for some introspective, it’s-5am-and-I-don’t-know-where-the-fuck-I-am-but-I-know-I-love-this-track house. Also on this year’s ever-growing line-up are Baby Prince, Soul-Clap alumnus Nick Monaco, Bristol club legends Just Jack and head honcho at London’s Night Moves, Jane Fitz.
For those still waking up screaming from the memory of The Great Isle of Wight Festival Disaster of 2012, or who approached the Glastonbury ticketing system with the type of devotion normally reserved for the wackier religious sects - it’s time we festival goers found our own inner revolutionary. Say no to standing knee-deep in mud for four days in torrential rain whilst cultivating interesting strains of trench foot; say goodbye to endless queues for the car park and over-flowing portaloos. Say hello Bulgaria – take us to the mountains.
Words by Theresa Heath