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What’s in a Name? How Dabrava Became The Brava

На The Brava свирят и рок легендиIn 1891, Bulgarian historian Georgi Strezov provided the following description of the village of Dabrava: “It is located at the foot of Arisvanitsa, stretching to Bistritsa, a quarter of an hour to the border [with Macedonia]. Mito, a 125-year-old shepherd and self-taught doctor and surgeon who heals with chants and charms, lives here. The soil is satisfactory. The villagers breed cattle. Houses: 80 total.”

Today, the houses in Dabrava are 300, few residents work the land and fewer have livestock, and people receive medical care in modern clinics in nearby Blagoevgrad. One thing hasn’t changed: Dabrava still boasts a self-taught wellness promoter—its mayor, Rosen Georgiev—but this one takes a more holistic approach to healing, usually prescribing music and focusing his efforts on transforming the village into a paradise for tourism and recreation. His 41 years are quite modest compared with Mito’s 125, but he has already made history as the founder of The Brava Fest, a rock music festival. Its fourth edition will take place on September 21 and 22 this year.

The Brava Fest е за почитатели на музиката на всякаква възрастAcclaimed rock musicians from all over the world will take the stage at The Brava Fest 2018, including former Whitesnake bass guitarist Marco Mendoza and rock bands like Saints 'N' Sinners (Turkey), Hadzi Prodane Duse (Serbia), Last Expedition (Macedonia), and The Bullets (Greece). Bulgarian rock newcomers LiqueScent and Leever will also be performing. For the second consecutive year, RockSchool Sofia musicians will teach the youngest audience to rock like the stars at the Children's Rock Academy. Blagoevgrad’s Mountain Biking Club will also offer demos and training to visitors.

To accommodate the record number of visitors expected at the festival this year, Rosen plans to enlarge the camping area and improve the facilities needed to ensure visitors’ comfort. The festival’s scope is expanding this year too: the addition of “Balkan” to its name reveals the festival organizers’ ambition to turn The Brava into an event of regional importance.

Rosen is a diehard rock fan, but his vision for the festival goes beyond creating a platform for rock music. From the very beginning, his idea was to transform Dabrava and the region into an attractive place for tourists from all over the world. The tongue-twister names of some of Dabrava's neighborhoods (Shtrabevtsi, Kalupsaztsi, Telakiovo) and the lack of guest accommodations in the village are no obstacles to the ambitious mayor. What is more, the rock festival is not the only event attracting tourists. Dabrava's motocross tracks, mountain biking trails, and horseriding facilities are swiftly gaining popularity. The village also hosts a wine festival in winter. A qualifying round for the World Mountain Biking Championship will take place in Dabrava this year as well.

Село ДъбраваThe village has changed dramatically in just a few years. Until recently, it only attracted people with special interests such as historians like Professor Strezov and mountain bikers. Today, Dabrava is becoming a household name throughout the country. According to official data, its population was 100 in 2015. Just three years later, more than 300 people have made this village their permanent home (on weekends, the number increases to 600), and property prices have doubled, Rosen says.

Dabrava, Rosen, and The Brava Balkan Fest 2018 await you on September 21 and 22 in front of town hall. Bring a tent, the kids, and a great mood!

The Brava Balkan Fest 2018 is supported by the America for Bulgaria Foundation.

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