If you weren’t in Plovdiv this past weekend (June 1st-3rd) you missed out big time. Like the biggest outdoor art & craft street festival in Bulgaria! In its 3rd year, Kapana Fest was full of innovative vendors, graffiti, live music, literature and theater performances, open air movies, outdoor bars, featured cocktails, promotions, and food tastings. I tend to not overpromise and Kapana Fest definitely didn’t underdeliver ❤
In the USA official summer season starts with Memorial Day and ends with Labor Day. In Plovdiv summer starts with Kapana Fest Summer edition and ends with its Fall edition. What better way to spend the first weekend of June than strolling outside, under blooming linden trees, where it smells like summer and even the street cats feel the warmth and lust in the air. There were no accommodations left in Plovdiv for months for that specific weekend and if I were to rent my living room floor space, I bet the carpet would be filled with campers in sleeping bags packed tight like sardines 🙂
The streets of Kapana (means Trap in Bulgarian for its tight alleys and non-grid pattern) were equally packed with people from all over the world eager to take in all the music, art, and fun! Kapana Fest transforms Plovdiv’s arts and crafts neighborhood into a tiny festival town with an unique flair of old and new, forgotten and undiscovered where anything and everything goes and the party lasts well into the night!
First and foremost, some amazing graffiti were painted in real time by the masters themselves on huge facades! The best Bulgarian graffiti artist Nasimo as well as Plovdiv-based painter Stern worked on major projects. My mom even said she’d offer them one of our facades, I suggest we do it in teal and pink (favorite colors of a mermaid) ❤
Kapana Fest 2018 welcomed over 120 art and craft vendors, natural skin care, organic food, wine, and spirits producers, up and coming Bulgarian apparel and fashion designers, that I particularly enjoyed meeting and getting to know. After a day of trying and tasting samples, I went home with a big bag of goodies, “unexpectedly” of course ❤ Who said I don’t like shopping 🙂
Companies to look up online (and visit at the Fall edition of Kapana Fest): Baraka Naturals had developed an organic perfume scent especially for the fest, Baba’s Soapery offered vanilla scented red velvet cupcake soaps, Kiflab had delicious lip balms in macaron packaging, Zoya Goes Pretty brought a few new products such as Mint and Cocoa butter (not edible…but if only 🙂 and tanning butter, 3DGarden.Bg offered live 3D green installations, @loveplovdiv had a booth with beautiful gifts and cards, Shirtwise is where I got my pink flamingo shirt from, pLOVEdiv Gallery supplied another t-shirt for the fest, Gurmenitsa (www.superselsko.eu) had incredible products and even more incredible branding 🤗, Cyanoprom just look at those blue bags <3, Spot Cream, Microgreens BG, Tom Konserv, Illustration Artist Elena Vladinova, Hot Peppers Farm, and many others!
An independent film stage with a viewing “room” had complimentary beds, bean bags, pillows, and mattresses for guests to enjoy. “Lilly the Fish” was the selected Bulgarian movie for kids and “Bubble Gum” was the adults option. The documentary film schedule included stories about young Bulgarians with world-renowned achievements that aren’t so well known at home.
As part of Kapana Fest and Move Week and right in time for International Children’s Day, there was a pop-up park on Plovdiv’s main square. Table tennis, basketball, twister, balance board, hula hoops, and other games were available for all ages to try. In Kapana a human-sized foosball field was installed and rock climbing and bungee jumping installations “popped up” for the little ones.
Now let’s move our focus to two of my favorite things – food & drinks! For the early birds there was a coffee truck on the main square and a Nescafe “mocktails” booth at the entrance of Kapana Fest.
Afternoon “snacks” were courtesy of Trastena Wines who had prepared a special treat just in time for the fest – alcoholic icecream from organic raspberry wine – “Who said complete happiness doesn’t exist?!” ❤
Night owls could enjoy cocktails by Bulleit Bourbon who had brought their own Cocktail Camper, hammock included :-), Trastena Wines – your best bet was the “Happy Pig” concoction – I had 2, say no more, Aperol Spritz – my usual summer libation, Jack Honey – my preferred winter fire water, Tatratea – a spirit , and Finlandia.
Last but definitely not least, as it was the highlight of Kapana Fest, comes the music! 4 stages with different types of music were spread out around the “Trap” neighborhood and a few world-famous musicians were visiting Bulgaria for the first time. My favorite stage/corner was the one dedicated to young Bulgarian artists showing their exceptional talent and offering a modern take on classic Bulgarian pieces. On Saturday the literature and poetry corner was taken over by young Bulgarian authors, where I watched some great stand up comedy!
Some of the not-to-be-missed special guests were Gavlyn (USA), James & Black (USA), Bluba Lu (BG), P.I.F (BG), Hidden in the Basement (GR), Blues Traffic, Tin Men & the Telephone (NL), Σtella (GR), Marten & Rawland, We Singing Colors (RO).