The International bagpipe contest is held every year at the beginning of August local families have gathered on the Ilinden Meadows near Gela Village in the Rhodopes to chat and rejoice. The tradition has been kept alive until this very day and it has preserved the songs of the Rhodope Mountains.
The history of this amazing bagpipe contest dates back to 2002. The Bulgarian country dates back to 681 and a lot of the traditions have been preserved during the past almost fourteen centuries. The bagpipe is one of the many traditional instruments that present the Bulgarian culture to the world even nowadays.
The goal of the bagpipe festival is to promote the authentic Rhodope folklore, history and traditions. The Bulgarian contestants must play the pieces on low-voiced bagpipes.
The contestants are divided into three age groups and have to meet the following requirements:
The performances are rated by a competent panel of judges. There are cash prizes and material awards, and each contestant receives an honorary diploma. The festival has become so popular for the past 14 years so that it has become an international festival. Bagpipers from Japan, Holland, Hungary, France, and Great Britain have participated in the contest. The number of contestants varies between 40 and 60 every year. The youngest bagpiper who participated in the contest was 5 years old, while the oldest was 85 which is pretty amazing, isn't it? People from all parts of Bulgaria gather together on the Ilinden Meadows and have a lot of fun while playing on bagpipes. The number of people who come to see the bagpipe contest varies every year between 8, 000 and 13,000 every year.
Are you visiting Bulgaria any time soon and you like festivals? We have structured the festivals happening in Bulgaria in several categories and we hope you find them useful for your trip to Bulgaria.