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Bulgaria’s biggest rock festival cancelled for 2023

Bulgaria’s biggest rock festival will not take place in 2023 after organisers struggled to book “a quality music programme in the current economic climate”.

Hills of Rock (cap. 15,000) has been held since 2017 at the Rowing Base in Plovdiv, inviting 150 domestic and international rock and metal acts to perform each year.

Slipknot, Iron Maiden, Evanescence, Sabaton, Judas Priest and Disturbed are among the biggest names that have previously played at the three-day summer festival.

Promoter FEST Team announced the cancellation yesterday (15 March), weeks after it confirmed that the Sofia edition of Hills of Rock would not be held this year.

“It has proven to be a real challenge to provide a quality music programme in the current economic climate and we at the Fest Team are not prepared to sacrifice the quality of our festival,” reads a statement from the promoter.

“Therefore, we have come to the conclusion that it is best to focus our efforts on providing the necessary foundation for a stable continuity of the festival next year instead of offering you a compromise line-up this year.

“Over the last few years, together with our partners, we have dedicated all our efforts and resources to providing a first-class music festival with high-quality of programme and production and accompanying entertainment that our audiences deserve and look forward to.

“Fest Team are not prepared to sacrifice the quality of our festival”

“We have the ambition in 2024 to organise the strongest Hills of Rock Plovdiv to date. The bands that you wanted and for which we are already in negotiations are huge names – a dream of every devoted rock and metal fan, and we will share the dates with you as soon as possible.”

Hills of Rock ticketholders can request a refund or hold onto their passes for the 2024 instalment.

FEST Team have also cancelled Bulgaria’s only family music and art festival, ARTE Feastival. The three-day festival has been held since 2021 in Velingrad, welcoming 12,000 visitors each year.

“Unfortunately, despite numerous public discussions in the last two years and the support of the municipality of Velingrad and the hosts from the ARTE Hotel, the organisers do not find the necessary local and communal support for its holding. Although local businesses have direct economic and image benefits to support the long-term occurrence of such events in their territory,” reads a statement from FEST Team.

“The sharp increase in prices of hotel and other tourist services on the territory of Velingrad during the period of the festival does not help its holding, on the contrary, it makes it difficult for the audience of the festival.”

FEST Team says ticketholders should request a refund, and that it will announce a new location for the family festival soon.

In addition to Hills of Rock and ARTE Feastival, the Sofia-based full-service promoter organises Solar Summer and SPICE Music festival.


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