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What to expect in Plovdiv in 2019 when the city is going to be European Capital of Culture?
Like all cities, carrying the proud title of European Capital of Culture for a full year, the lovely city of Plovdiv is going to have a lot of events, festivals and concerts to offer to its visitors.
Plovdiv has always been a focal point for arts in the country even before the title was won, mainly due to the city’s vibe and artists, who have lived and still live in it.
Being one of the oldest living cities in Europe, it comprises of countless cultural layers that create its complex soul. That is a long and exciting story, which you can learn by visiting our tour.
So for now, let’s see what this intriguing and obscure city has to offer in 2019!
The “Plovdiv 2019” foundation was established to manage the efforts for the whole European Capital of Culture year and beyond. So far they have announced more than 500 events, festivals, exhibitions and performances, which are going to take place in 2019.
Of course, we will not be able to cover all of them in this article, but we will focus on the top highlights. If you want to learn about all of the major events, you can check out this link:
So here are our 10 favorite events of the upcoming year:
An event to remember, We Are All Colors is going to take place on 12 January. A giant stage built on one of the city’s main boulevards, a high tower hanging over it and a thousand artists should be enough to draw your attention to the opening event. Of course, the whole weekend will be crammed with exhibitions and performances as well.
We skip the many events at closed venues through the chilly months to get straight to the beginning of May and the one-of-a-kind Ayliak Parade. Parade culture is still not well established in the city, but with the help of the organizers and the energy of the people, the first (trial) edition took place in October 2018. On 4 May we expect the most colourful and exciting parade Plovdiv has ever seen to go through the central parts of the city. Check out more information about it on its Facebook page.
Plovdiv will send a message: cultural links in Europe remain strong, even after Brexit. The European Capital of Culture will do its part to show this. Sometime in May (still to be announced) the Brexit Blues music festival will light up all of the central districts of the city of the seven hills: from Kapana to the Tsar Simeon Garden jazz, blues, classical and folklore concerts will entertain the public on various stages.
The beginning of June will be hot. Although we are just guessing about the weather, we know for sure that 13 artistic companies from all corners of Europe will join us for the celebrations. Coming from France, Switzerland, Italy and Belgium, they will set off to Plovdiv by horses, bicycles and even by foot and will gather in the city from 1 to 10 June. The artists will establish three temporary campsites: near the Rowing Canal (Regatta Venue), in the Trakia district and in Stolipinovo, the largest Roma district on the Balkans. Over 200 people will engage the locals with dance, music, theater, street art, circus, shows, games, poetry, workshops and, of course, parades. It will all culminate in the Farewell Parade through Plovdiv on 10 June 2019.
Hard rock fans will find their “Mecca” in Plovdiv at the end of June 2019, when the annual massive rock festival is taking place. This year’s lineup is as good as ever, headlined by the likes of Disturbed, Whitesnake and Garbage. The fields adjacent to the Rowing Canal will also host shows by bands like Amaranthe, Mushroomhead and Royal Republic.
You can find more information about the festival here.
The annual international Opera festival is going to return for another season in 2019. Traditionally it takes place on the spectacular venue of the Plovdiv Ancient Theater. In this special year it is going to bring a lot of top quality world performances. The festival will open with Gluck’s ‘Orfeo ed Euridice’, a large-scale co-production with Teatro Regio di Parma directed by the world famous Stefano Poda. Ten other performances, specially directed by guest directors from Europe, USA and Asia, as well as performances by the Bolshoi Theatre from Moscow, are going to form the exquisite program of the festival, which you can check out on their website.
As the summer vacation season starts, the attention of the city will be shift to the Maritsa river. Multiple events will take place at its banks, among which a city picnic, parade and a large night show with sound and lights projected on one of the Plovdiv bridges.
Over 100 participants, 70 locations, more than a decade of history and tens of thousands of visitors, the NIGHT/Plovdiv is one of the most prominent festivals in the city. The 2019 edition is going to be the biggest so far! NIGHT/Plovdiv will collaborate with a record number of international contemporary artists, who are going to transform Plovdiv and its public spaces together with the cultural institutions of the city, the club stages, and the artistic studios. It will be a weekend to remember!
You can find out more here.
Every year a jazz festival with over 10 years of history is welcoming the most influential jazz artists in the world. In November 2019 the heart will be mellowed with jazz once again. The organizers promise the best contemporary names of the genre will show up and perform. Check out this page for further information.
Sooner or later, everything good has to end. We will say “goodbye” to 2019 and our title of European Capital of Culture with a ceremony and a concert in the Tobacco City (Sklad space), thus officially handing over the baton to next year’s capitals Rijeka and Galway.
So, these have been our top 10 picks out of the more than 500 different events, which are going to take place throughout 2019. Be sure to check out the program to learn what else is going to happen this year in Plovdiv.
And if you want to focus on what the museums and galleries in Plovdiv have to offer, you can also get Plovdiv City Card.
That’s all from us, enjoy your time in the European Capital of Culture!