Sunday, 26 August 2012

Mindya Rock Fest 2012

This has been a busy weekend musically, in Veliko Turnovo there was another Moto Rock Fest, but at the same time in Mindya there was also their Rock Fest. As we are possibly the same distance from the two the choice was ours. We decided on Mindya, mainly for the reason that we went there last year, and we both thought that it was brilliant. This year didn't disappoint either, but we went on the Friday this time and not the Saturday. Maybe next year we will take in both days, but it was the thought of driving there in this heat that was a bit off putting this year.

For those that have never been to Mindya, it is a village that lies to the South East of Veliko Turnovo. The times that I have been there it has always struck me that it is quite a bustling village. There certainly seems to be a certain amount of civic pride in this village. The kerb stones are painted, as are the bases of the lamp posts, and I couldn't see any sign of litter. Even at the start of the Rock Fest the Kmet made a speech welcoming everyone to the village and hoping that everyone would enjoy themselves. We were then treated to the ladies village choir. For some it might not be rock and roll, but they deserve as much time on the stage as anyone else, besides which they had probably all been busy getting the village ready in the lead up to the festival, it also shows that it really is for everyone. Even though there is a Police presence there at the festival they don't actually have anything to really do.

 As I have previously mentioned the Rock Fest is enjoyed by everyone, and age is certainly not a barrier to any enjoyment. There were certainly plenty of young children, some in pushchairs, enjoying the music. There were also plenty of ageing men with their hair tied back in a pony tail. Hopefully that will be one look that I never try and imitate, despite someone trying to convince me otherwise. We had arranged to meet people there, but with one thing or another Barb and Dave were the only ones who actually made it. Considering they had never been before they must have been following some excellent directions, as even though they arrived well over an hour after us they had managed to park directly behind us.
The bands were what everyone had come to see, and on Friday they didn't disappoint. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, and should anyone wonder if the next one would be worth going to I would say that judging by the two times that we have been most definitely. As foreigners, the groups might not be exactly household names for us, but they are enthusiastic about their music and this is a great venue for them to perform in front of sizeable crowds. that is one thing about the Mindya Rock Fest, you don't actually notice the numbers swelling. One minute it seems quite empty and the next someone has just bumped into you, at least we were not all wedged in like sardines.

You also don't seem to notice the time either. At one point we were convinced that it must have been about 9pm, in actual fact it turned out to be about 7.30. It did start to feel less sticky once a slight breeze had sprung up, and at least it did waft some of the cooking smells away from us. I am convinced that someone, somewhere there was cooking fish, not that I looked too keenly for it.

There was an interesting mix of music, the majority of the UK/US music being familiar, but there was also some Bulgarian and what sounded like German music being performed as well. The sound engineers certainly had their work cut out for themselves with so many different bands performing, and they would each have had different levels. Even the music that was being played between the bands was enjoyable, I even heard The Knack's "My Sharonna" at one point. One thing that I did notice was that members from different bands were also enjoying what the performing band were doing. So there didn't seem to be any petty jealousies, which certainly makes a pleasant change to the UK and stupid rivalries. I'm not sure who it was, but I think that it was Nana and the Gang who covered part of Pink Floyd's The Wall, for me that was one of the highlights of the evening.

 It would be wrong to try and say which was the best band of the evening, as music is all about individual taste. You either like something or you don't. What can be safely said is that all that went to the festival on Friday, be they members of a band, or Joe Public, enjoyed themselves. Some people in the UK might find it hard to believe but this Festival was free. There was no trouble that we saw, and yes there were people drinking. 
Maybe this is something that the UK can learn from? One thing we did notice as we drove home was the Police were starting to set up a breathalyser stop just as you left the village to join the main road. The young policeman who flagged us down did seem a bit confused as we were in a right hand drive. We were asked if we had been drinking alcohol, to which we replied no and we were just waved on. just goes to prove that sometimes you can have a great night out without drinking anything stronger than Pepsi Twist.

If the Rock Fest is on again next year we intend going, and who knows we might even end up taking in both days. We would like to say a very big thank you to the organisers, the bands, the Kmet and the villagers of Mindya, that was an excellent Friday night.


August Has Been A Bit Warm

With any luck today should be the last day of these scorching temperatures. This might sound a bit strange for those reading this blog in the UK. However, for those of us out here in Bulgaria it makes perfect sense. It seems as though we have been battling these temperatures for about three months now, but in reality it will prove to be shorter. We have had the occasional respite from this weather, but not many. As with a lot of Southern Europe there have been various brush fires cropping up, and once these get hold are very difficult to put out. They have even halted HGVs from using the roads during the heat of the day, as they have just been trashing them. Maybe it is something to do with the way that roads are constructed here. Talking of which there is a big road repair programme going on at the moment, we have noticed that the road between Strelets and us has been repaired, also the road through Strelets itself has been patched. Here in Paisii we are still waiting, they might have got round to us by the winter but I am not holding out too much hope. The garden is quite knackered now, as plants and vegetables have succumbed to the heat. You can only water it so much, maybe the ground has heated up so much that the roots have ended up being partially boiled when I have watered. We are still surviving without air conditioning, we have some ceiling fans and some oscillating fans, but our main area of comfort is our cellar lounge. As this is largely underground it does stay nice and cool.

The idea of long sunny days might sound wonderful, but it can get a little bit repetitive. The ground is so dry and cracked that it will take more than a couple of days rain rain to sort out. I do enjoy the sunshine and it doesn't really cause too many problems if you are sensible. We are trying to do the same as the rest of the village when tackling outside jobs, they either get done first thing in the morning or as the heat is going out of the day in the late afternoon. Even if we have to go and get some shopping we are now going into town later in the day. If you do venture in during the day you will quite often find that it resembles a ghost town from an old western. Even the stray dogs disappear as they try to find some shade, the good news for them is that with the number of public drinking fountains there is always enough water for them to drink.

Mentioning which we have also noticed that the water level in one of our local lakes has nearly got down to last year's low level already. It is not unusual to see a whole herd of cows wallowing in the waters there, the only down side to that is we have a sneaking suspicion that this lake forms the bulk of the two village's water supplies. I hope that Nikolai has enough chemicals to see us through the rest of the summer. People are already preparing for the winter weather though, as they get their stocks of winter firewood in. Even my chain saw is in having an annual service done on it, and then in slow time I will be cutting up the logs ready.

The dogs have taken to digging small hollows to snuggle down in, and then when it gets a bit warmer they move up under the barns and into the shade. About half an hour after we have gone in and down to the cellar we will hear the click click click of dog claws on wooden floors. That will be Fenny as he has taught himself to open the gates and door. If he hasn't been put back outside after about half an hour Sirius will also come and join us. The only ones who don't seem overly concerned about the heat are the cats, but they will have found somewhere nice and cool to rest up in during the day. Sometimes it is a bit of a worry with the cats being so independent, as just recently the hunters have been out trying to get a Wolf that has appeared round the village. You know that you are out in the middle of nowhere when you get to see a lot of the local wildlife, our highlight so far has been a pair of wild boar, typically neither of us had a camera handy.

Sometimes you can't help but go out, and on these times you try and get as much done as possible. We have now sourced a different venue for next year's It's A Knockout games. Well we did say that it wasn't going to be a one off event, but an ongoing project. We have also been to the printers to see about getting a calendar made for next year, all proceeds are going to BinkyAid. While I remember next year's fund raising is going to be used to help the Yambol area. If anyone would like their area considered then please get in touch with a committee member on the BinkyAid website.

Looking at the stats for this blog I notice that it has been accessed over 5000 times, so I would like to say a very big thank you to all who have taken the time and trouble to read our ramblings.