But we are reminded of this number one dependency every single time we make it back to the magical Rhodope mountains, which is home to bears, wolves, fireflies and untouched meadows bristling with wildflowers and butterflies.
Our bodies and minds take strength from nature and the fruits of these lands. We must protect our natural sanctuary and leave it in a better state than we found it. That’s not only because the festival now legally owns it. In every corner of the planet we should make nature thrive, for we need it more than anything in this world. Yes, we do need more than love. Sorry, John…
We need to breathe clean mountain air, to drink fresh mountain spring water, and to walk barefoot on our way to watch the sunrise over misty mountains with pine trees piercing through them. It’s the essential peak experience at our festival. May it inspire us to advocate for a new, more future-proof life back home.
The way that society currently treats our increasingly broken planet is a dead end.
We are way past the point where we can just hang on to sustainability. We need to shift the approach from ‘sustainable’ to ‘regenerative’, leaving a positive footprint behind — and a healthier land below our best barefoot forward.
To this happier end, our festival is in “business” to educate and inspire behavioural and systemic change. At first, the remote Bulgarian mountains seemed an unlikely testing ground for such regenerative ambitions, as sustainable suppliers are hard to find around here. It meant we had to build our regenerative culture ourselves, from the ground up.
We went beyond our own solar power, water treatment and zero waste schemes, to building rainwater retention landscapes, a compost-to-biogas converter and manure-heated shit-hot showers. Our food forest keeps growing and so do our reforestation plans, in collaboration with our Bulgarian partners.
By 2030 we’ll replace the biofuel generators with low-tech renewable options such as solar, biogas and hydro power. When change has to be this radical, the beautiful middle of our natural nowhere proved to be a good place to start.
Fortunately, that goes for happy accidents as well. The Sasse family and their close friends couldn’t have fathomed what their tiny music celebration in remote Bulgaria would morph into: the global community that Meadows in the Mountains is today.
From the very first Meadowers to the Meadowers of the future, our festival community grows by little more than word of mouth. Probably, you can trace our flourishing family tree back through friends — and friends of friends — to the very first group who made the pilgrimage in 2011.
Polkovnik Serafimovo and its local villagers have always been an integral part of our community vision. After all, it was their home first. Thankfully, they welcomed our vision with open arms and open doors. We helped them renovate their derelict buildings, while they helped us build an extended festival community that feels like family. And like home. You’re welcome, too.
We cherish the intimacy that many other festivals lose when they grow beyond a certain size, partly due to their business models. Yet it is this intimacy that allows us to delve into a deeper understanding of each other and to build bonds that last a lifetime. We believe that’s what a festival should be about: human connections that just say click.
Of course, it’s a big plus being able to find back our close friends in the middle of the night. But what really sets an intimate festival apart is a natural setting for making new friends — and for bumping into them again and again over the course of the festival. The value of this intimacy in our community is priceless.
Your creed or your class, your colour, sex or age doesn’t matter. We are all siblings with human essence, souls that have a desire to express ourselves and shine like crazy diamonds. We need a safe space to do so. If that space just so happens to be in Meadow’s mind-blowing mountains, then that’s a pretty natural fit, no?
We have always made a big deal out of booking artists without big deals under their belts. In doing so, unsigned talent gets a chance to develop and our audience gets more moments of serendipity.
We all know how it feels when art immerses us. It has the potential to trigger peak experiences, bringing pure pleasure and ecstasy to our souls. When we unleash this creativity on a natural canvas such as our magnificent mountain, its potential is enhanced enormously, making even the staunchest art critics dance on air.
This beauty is not just in the eye of the beholder. Nature also feeds the imagination of the artist, pushing the art itself to new heights. That’s why dead art in a sterile museum never comes even close to experiencing live art in natural surroundings. Context is everything. And a text like this can never do justice to such a glorious symbiosis of art and nature. Stop reading, now. Just come out and play.
We believe that climbing the mountain is a pilgrimage of sorts, leaving our often-too-fast daily lives behind to slowly reflect upon it from a higher point of view, together with like-minded souls. If we arrive with our minds full, may we leave in full-hearted mindfulness.
More than just a rave, our festival is a ceremony. We seek to offer tools for collective self-discovery and to hold space for the healing of trauma, whether that’s through yoga, cacao rituals, sharing circles or other sacred yet not holier-than-thou practices. Here you may find wise women, elders, shamans and facilitators, leading you to places you never knew existed.
Contrary to what the self-help industry so often propagates, you are not alone in your journey towards inner peace and contentment. It is in the connection and symbiosis with our fellow human beings that we find our way forward. And it is only with open minds, hearts and souls that we can heal not only ourselves, but hopefully the society we choose to live in back home. Shall we make our peak experiences last?