Another Great Summer: Bulgaria's 2011 Music Calendar (Pt. 1)
As the long and exhausting winter is heading towards its end with (hopefully) last snowfalls for the season, Bulgaria starts preparing for another great summer of music.
Last year was marked by the unforgettable concerts of legends Bob Dylan, Elton John, Julio Iglesias, Natalie Cole, Scorpions, AC/DC, Deep Purple's Jon Lord, and Paco de Lucia, to name a few.
This summer will be just as exciting, if not more. Even though not all gigs have been announced yet, what we know so far is enough to make us schedule our summer vacation, turn the volume up and warm up for the great music summer that is ahead of us.
The first to rock Bulgaria will be the Seattle-based multi-cultural punk rock band Kultur Shock, which have already staged three concerts in the country. (We'd like to think that it's not only because the band's guitarist is the Bulgarian Val Kiossovski.) This year's gig will be staged on April 6 at Sofia's Party Center – 4 km. It will be part of the band's European tour, promoting their new album "Ministry of Kultur".
American hardcore band Sick of It All will come to Bulgaria for the second time after their first gig in 2006, which was sold-out. This year, they will rock Sofia's Party Center – 4 km on April 7.
The German alternative rock band Guano Apes will delight its Bulgarian fans for the third time on April 9 in Sofia's Hristo Botev Hall. The previous performances of Sandra Nasic, Henning Rumenapp, Stefan Ude and Dennis Poschwatta in the country were in 2004 and 2009.
Lovers of Italian pop music from the 80s and 90s will be happy to know that Toto Cutugno, best-known for his worldwide hit song "L'Italiano (Lasciatemi Cantare)", will have a concert in Bulgaria on April 10 at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia. The 67-year-old musician will also perform the classics "L'ete Indien", "Et Si Tu N'existais Pas" and "Le Jardin du Luxembourg", which he had written for popular French-American singer Joe Dassin.
On April 14 at Sofia's Festivalna Hall, world-famous singer Manu Chao will have his second show in Sofia and will delight Bulgarian fans with his hits "Me Gustas Tu", Bongo Bong", "Me Llaman Calle" and other songs, which are influenced from rock, punk, French chanson, salsa, reggae and ska.
The heavy metal wave will sweep over Bulgaria again with the shows of the two Finnish bands Children of Bodom and Ensiferum. They will perform for the first time in the country on April 19 in Universiada Hall in Sofia as part of "The Ugly World Tour 2011" of the bands.
The German synthpop band that gained worldwide popularity in the 1980s, Alphaville, will perform its greatest hits, including "Forever Young" and "Big in Japan", at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia on April 20.
Metal fans will be delighted again in May by the Greek black metal band Rotting Christ, who will perform in Sofia's Rbf Club on May 5. The gig will be part of their European tour.
However, on May 7 Bulgaria will have 80s flashback again thanks to English pop singer Kim Wilde. Her fans will hear her emblematic cover of The Supremes; hit "You Keep Me Hangin' On" and other songs from her 30-year music career.
Progressive rock music will once again make its way in Bulgaria's music summer calendar for 2011 with Poland's Riverside, who have included the country in their Anniversary Tour and will stage a gig on May 9 in Bulgaria Hall in Sofia.
A distraction from the dark heavy metal concerts will be the performance of sunny Portugal's Sara Tavares on May 14. Her second show in Sofia will be part of her tour "Xinti", presenting her latest album with the same name.
Things will turn even darker with the Canadian death metal band Kataklysm, who will shake Bulgaria on May 22 together with the Brazilian death metal band Krisiun. The concert is part of the Spread the Venom Tour, which will also include shows in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Africa.
The end of May marks the beginning of a series of major music events in Bulgaria in the summer of 2011. On May 28, legend Joe Cocker will have his first concert in the country at Sofia's Festivalna Hall. It will be part of his Hard Knocks Tour, in which the 66-year-old English rock musician will present the songs from his new album with the same name, but will also perform his most popular hits, like "You Can Leave Your Hat On" and "Unchain My Heart".
Legendary and much beloved in Bulgaria Swedish duo Roxette will have their first long-anticipated show in the country as well. It will be part of their world tour, which begins in March. On May 29, Bulgarian fans will hear Marie Fredriksonn and Per Gessle's songs from their new album, which is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2011.
The real summer will begin with the third Bulgarian concert of Israeli-born ethno-pop singer Ishtar. She will perform in Varna (June 3), Sofia (June 5) and Plovdiv (June 6). The organizers have promised not only a rich repertoire, but also a grand show with attractive costumes and stage decors.
English rock legend Sting will also have his third concert in Bulgaria. He will arrive with a symphony orchestra and band because the gig is part of his Symphonicity World Tour, which features Sting's greatest hits with symphonic arrangement. The show will be at Sofia's Georgi Asparuhov Stadium on June 7.
The next big event in June will be the first edition of the brand new Bulgarian pop rock music festival Elevation. Even though not all of the bands have been announced yet, the organized confirmed the participation of 30 Seconds to Mars, Hurts, Parov Stelar, Dog Eat Dog, Gentleman and the Evolution, Cyanna. The Bulgarian bands Odd Crew, Sepuko 6 and Monyx will also take part in the festival that will be held June 24-25 in the Bulgarian town of Razlog.
Attention will once again be paid to heavy metal fans on July 8 with the concert of legendary Judas Priest, which will be part of the band's final EPITAPH World Tour. The gig will be staged at Sofia's Akademik Stadium.
Another legendary English band, Whitesnake, is expected to have its fifth concert in Bulgaria on the same day, same place – July 8, Sofia's Akademik Stadium. It is not a coincidence or organizers' mistake. The reason is that the two bands are touring together.
The great music summer 2011 will end with the fourth edition of the festival Spirit of Burgas, which will be held August 12-14. The festival has already become emblematic for the Bulgarian and European festival music scene. In 2010, it was among the 10 nominated for Best Overseas Festival of the UK Festival Awards. It was also nominated for the European Festival Awards.
So far the organizers have announced only one of the performers at this year's edition of Spirit of Burgas and this is the American DJ Moby. His gig will be part of his tour, presenting his new album "Destroyed".
This is the preliminary schedule for the great music summer of 2011. Bulgarian concerts of many more musicians are yet to be announced, so stay tuned.