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Help Vitalize Nine Bulgarian Villages

by Devetaki Plateau Association
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Help Vitalize Nine Bulgarian Villages
Help Vitalize Nine Bulgarian Villages
Help Vitalize Nine Bulgarian Villages
Help Vitalize Nine Bulgarian Villages
Help Vitalize Nine Bulgarian Villages
Help Vitalize Nine Bulgarian Villages
Help Vitalize Nine Bulgarian Villages
Help Vitalize Nine Bulgarian Villages
Help Vitalize Nine Bulgarian Villages
Help Vitalize Nine Bulgarian Villages
Help Vitalize Nine Bulgarian Villages
This too shall pass
This too shall pass

The COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the link between public health outcomes and social life, economics, culture and governance. Immediate national and international responses are focusing on medical and humanitarian assistance, but these alone will be insufficient to meet needs and respond to this crisis. A holistic response is required to protect communities, especially those who are far from the capitals, the big towns and the decision-makers. It is now more necessary than ever to protect democratic principles, build citizen trust and defend the rights of all members of the society.

Not health alone, culture, tourism and economics are in critical situation, also in our villages in the Devetaki Plateau. Due to the crisis, the sixth edition of our Jazz under the Stars Fest might not take place this year. This is a hard decision to take because the fest has already become a major event in the social and cultural life of the region and local people are looking forward to it. But we need to be responsible and we will follow the regulations and obstructions caused by the pandemic situation.

In the meantime, we have started working intensively with the communities in our villages to help people stay informed and to lift their spirits in times of social isolation. We initiated a rubric in the Devetaki Plateau Website and FB page under the name “This too shall pass”, an old saying indicating that all material conditions, positive or negative, are temporary. Every day we collect and post useful information about the situation and its repercussions for the villages’ everyday life. We also post interesting stories and cheer-up pictures, music and other online cultural events. We gave an outreach growth to 1053 only for the last week. Each publication is read by over 100 people and we have hundreds of new followers. So, we hope this is another way to respond to the crisis and keep the life in these villages going despite the difficulties.

If we do not detect any serious needs caused by the crisis that can be helped with the donations made generously by all of you in GlobalGiving, we will still use the money for the next edition of the fest, be it in 2020 or next year.

Until then, we hope you will stay healthy, stay with us and help others join our noble cause – revive nine Bulgarian villages.

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The majestic old Mill
The majestic old Mill

After all the emotions from the jazz fest, there was another good news for our association - the municipality of Letnitsa and the City Council decided to let us manage the old village mill in Karpachevo. A wonderful old building made of stone which was left for decay for years.

The old Mill is just on the ridge of the Devetaki Plateau and at the entrance of our small village. From its windows an amazing view opens to the eyes of the visitor - meadows and trees, birds and rocks in a variety of colours and sounds. Far on the horizon the magnificent Danube river plain lays out - tender and green, reaching out as far as Romania.

The story of the Mill is not the less impressive: once build in the neighbouring village of Krushuna, right next to the beautiful waterfalls, it was used as a water-mill for the two villages. After years of serving the local people, the mill got old and was replaced by a new, modern one. Luckily, the people of Karpachevo did not bother with its age: they needed it for their village. So, they dismantled the Mill carefully, transported it stone by stone and set it up again to serve two more generations! 

The revival of the Mill is really symbolic: for the village, for the people, and for the whole Devetaki Plateau. It will display respect to the past and its links to our days. It will provide a place for exhibiting the richness of traditional skills in growing and grinding grain, in bread-making and at the same time it will tell about vernacular construction techniques and use of local natural materials. It will as well become the "Gate" to the Devetaki Plateau - both physically, standing at its very rim, and contentwise, becoming a modern information and training centre.

The restored Mill will also serve as a place for cultural and music events, an out-of-the-box stage in a natural set up combining the beauty of landscape with the authentic charm of the solid stone building.

We believe the Old Mill will become a symbol of rural revival, a model of combining traditional and modern, and a hope for the nine villages in the Devetaki Plateau. It will be the place for the Jazz fest and for many other purposes for the local community and for a growing number of tourists and visitors from all over the world.

Thanks to you and many people like you we hope to be able to revive the Old Mill as a part of the revival of our nine villages in the Devetaki Plateau You will hear about our extended project soon! Stay with us! Your donations will help show this incredible place to the world!

The Horizon Is The Limit
The Horizon Is The Limit
Stone, clay, and wood
Stone, clay, and wood
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The Invitation
The Invitation

There were heavy rains in the first weeks of June all over Bulgaria... There were critics and pessimists saying it will not work... They were, however, much less than the ones that chose to believe in the idea that a jazz concert can attract tourists and guests to the small villages of the Devetaki Plateau.

Participants first: Convinced that the Jazz Under The Stars festival will help revive the villages in the Devetaki Plateau our team started the preparation. Together with our music director, Ventsi Blagoev, we gathered a total of 23 Bulgarian musicians! The list contained established, popular jazz singers and musicians, modern jazz performers as well as young talented boys and girls. This was a way to attract a broad range of audiences to come to our villages.

Media and advertising - crusial for the cause: we attracted two national media partners: Jazz FM radio and Darik radio who really helped us reach out to potential guests from across the country. We had an audio advert that was played several times a day for two weeks before the event. We were invited for several interviews - with the team of our association and with some of the popular musicians from the event list. We made a FB event and reached over 10 000 people.

Preparation of the stage: The organization on the spot followed - posters, signs, directions to the fest stage, which was actually... the meadow between two of the villages! Several wooden pallets, 100 straw bales - that was all necessary for the magic experience. And... 3 electricity generators - for the sound and the lights!

And the miracle happened: when the day came, June 15th, there was no cloud in the sky! It was neither hot not too cold, and the people started to come: in cars, campers, bicycles, even, on foot from the near villages - more and more people until we thought the meadow will not be able to take it. But luckily, the meadow is big enough and so were the hearts of all of us there - musicians, guests, organizers. We enjoyed well-known musicians like Kamelia Todorova, Vili Stoyanov, proffessor Vladimir Radulov, and Neviliyan Gemizhev. The new generation of jazz singers and players were there, too - a collection of incredible younger professionals showing different formats and jazz styles. And three very young and tallented musicians had the chance to learn, to step on the same stage and sing and play with their idols! Even more: the ladies from the local Cultural club, nicely clad in their folclore costumes stepped on the stage, too, with three unforgetable songs to remind us of our roots and show the beauty of linking music styles.

The audience: there were people of all ages - from little kids to elderly locals who enjoyed this incredible event taking place "in the middle of nowhere"! Smiling faces, dances, handshakes and hugs - it is not easy to describe all the emotions the fest provoked in them! Seeing their favourit singer, or saxophone, or piano player right here, under the stars made them experience something really special. The musicians also felt this energy, opened their souls and would not stop playing and singing long after midnight!

The results: during our 3 month Global Giving campaign we collected a total of USD 2 928 from 38 individual donors!!! This was a great success for us for it is the first time we go for crowdfunding. The donations helped us organize the biggest event that ever took place in our villages. It added a lot to the modest funding we secured from other sources - America for Bulgaria Foundation, Lagermax Ltd., Animo Software Ltd. Seeing the potential of our cause for the whole region, the Municipality of Letnitsa and the City council also supported our efforts - financially and in-kind. During the fest there were over 2000 people and 23 musicians. Before and after the event we had over 10 media interviews and publications in national media. We had numerous positive reviews and feedback in the social media - from the visitors and also from the musicians. All of them enjoyed it and, most important, they loved the place! They all discovered the nine villages in the Devetaki Plateau and now they tell their friends and colleagues about it. The small guest-houses are already fully booked for the summer and we are glad to say the region is more popular than it has ever been before. Even the pessimists from the first pagragraph started to believe it is possible to turn a small rural area into a Jazz capital... at least for one day in the year! And those who could not make it but heard abour it are already convinced they should come - very soon or for the festival next year!

Dear funders, this beautiful story would not have happened without you! Thank you for your generousity and understanding and we believe you will stay with us and also tell our story to others! We will not stop helping our nine villages; we already have plans for the next year and hope to have you not only as supporters; we would love to welcome you as guests in the Devetaki Plateau!

Sound check and preparation
Sound check and preparation
Ready to start
Ready to start
An inspiring "stage" on the meadow
An inspiring "stage" on the meadow
The audience
The audience
Freedom, music, pure joy
Freedom, music, pure joy
Stage fright
Stage fright
Jazz for the kids
Jazz for the kids
Youth meets experience
Youth meets experience
Tired but not finished
Tired but not finished
No one wants to sleep
No one wants to sleep
Music meets nature
Music meets nature

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Organization Information

Devetaki Plateau Association

Location: 5570 Letnitsa - Bulgaria
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Iva Taralezhkova
5570 Letnitsa, Bulgaria

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