GOATMILK is an independent, not commercial cultural festival, a meeting point for people to discuss personal and collective memories. It is an event for local people, artists, journalists, researchers from all over the world. People who love the mountain, the freshly cooked local food, the music, the simple things…
The story behind
The festival of memories idea is spontaneously born on September 11, 2003 during the first voluntary international meeting of like-minded people from 6 European countries. After discussions with the local people we all decided we must return again to continue talking.
The first festival of memories GOATMILK happens on May 24, 2004. The date is chosen because of the traditional gathering (called sabor) of the village on that day. May 24th is also a National Holiday in Bulgaria – a celebration of the Cyrillic alphabet.
Each year the festival has a THEME, explored for several days by organizers and participants through various activities.
There are several reasons the name GOATMILK has been chosen. Women in Bela Rechka make wonderful goat milk curd and in the past goats were more than the people. Goat’s milk is closest to the mother’s one. Through the memories and conversations, we all are looking for our own authenticity, purity of living.
The differences between us and our memories could indeed be great. But is this a fundamental division? Ignoring other’s history and forgetting our own are often based on indifference. Thus how prejudices are born.
We are worried by the “unauthenticity” and hiding into the personal memories “ghetto”. It’s our strong belief that sharing our stories and listening to others in places of trust helps us to better understand ourselves and the world we live in.
It is our common intuition that led us to Bela Rechka and to our attempt to turn the village into such a place of trust. Place with fresh air and truthful conversations where everyone is accepted with his/her own story. At least in the days of the festival 🙂
We would reflect on the following key topics:
- How the differences are born in the context of local conditions?
- How do we remember as individuals and forget as societies?
- What personal, cultural and collective memory mean, how we deal with those?
- Could our memory work bring no new traumas, but rather draws us together and brings peace and comfort?
- Do we need memories today, does remembering brings us joy?
- Why do we need to forget?
- Is sharing memories a way to be authentic?
- Might authenticity be just another myth?
- How the Internet changes and challenges the way we remember?
- Who cares about that?
We, the GOATMILK team, would like this festival to continuously brings happiness both to guests and villagers of Gorna Bela Rechka. Therefore, we offer to your attention the principles we follow and some useful information about the place.
The festival takes into consideration the daily rhythm of the village!
The festival keeps environment clean!
The festival is not commercial and participation to all activities and concerts is free – there are no tickets.
BUT we will appreciate your donations since this is the main way of financing the festival! You can read how you can help the festival here: Support us
Observe the rest hours.
Arrive at 21h at latest or explicitly inform the organizers.
Throw the garbage only to the fixed spaces.
Keep the two rivers and the spring clean.
Build and use field/compost lavatories on suitable places in the forest around your tent camp.
Simple village atmosphere.
Rooms rented in the houses of some local people (there is no hotel).
One local pub and several festival places with local food.
Shop with basics, working only in the morning (from 7.00 am till 9.30am ) – and a second shop since 2019 offering also vegetables and fruits (near the new stage!)
Accommodation and sleeping options 2019
In a private house in Gorna Bela Rechka, in a tent, in the neighbouring village of Dolna Bela Rechka (1.5 km), in Varshetz (8 km).
If you want a room in a village house in Bela Rechka, you can book a room for the festival – a bed costs around 15 BGN per 1 night. Includes breakfast. Simple, rustic conditions.
For reservations – send a mail till April 30 2019 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure you precisely mark date of arrival, number of nights and number of people.
NOTE! Due to the large number of applicants and limited places, we accept reservations only against advanced payment – via PayPal on email@example.com
or to the bank account of the foundation
If you stay in a tent – come earlier to find a convenient location near the water. Camping is free ( if you want to support the festival you can make a voluntary donation on the spot.)
If you want a room in Dolna Bela Rechka – you can book up to April 30th through us or to search independently.
The resort and spa centre Varshetz, 8 km from Bela Rechka, offers a variety of private rooms and hotels. More information www.varshets.info
How to get there
8h35 – train Sofia – Mezdra. Lakatnik train station. Connection with the bus* Lakatnik – Varshetz. Stop at Gorna Bela Rechka. Arrival: 10h45
Price: 3 BGN (train) + 3 BGN (bus) = 6 BGN (total)*bus is available every morning except on Sunday!
17h05 – train Sofia – Mezdra. Lakatnik train station. Connection with the bus Lakatnik – Varshetz. Stop at Gorna Bela Rechka. Arrival: 18h20
Price: 3 BGN (train) + 3 BGN (bus) = 6 BGN (total)
7h45 – bus to Lakatnik train station. Connection with the train Lakatnik – Sofia. Arrival: 9h45
Price: 3 BGN (train) + 3 BGN (bus) = 6 BGN (total)
15h45 – bus to Lakatnik train station. Connection with the train Lakatnik – Sofia. Arrival: 17h45
Price: 4.10 BGN (train) + 3 BGN (bus) = 7.10 BGN (total)
TAXI from Varshetz
Hristo – +359(0)887468816; +359(0)897428479; Ivo – +359(0)888766958;
Spas – +359(0)887013935; Ilia – +359(0)893475829; +359(0)876227840; Ivo – +359(0)878168072
Varshetz – Vratsa: bus at 7.00 and 15.00
Vratsa – Varshetz: bus at 10:30 and 16:10
Where to eat 2019
There is one pub in Bela Rechka, Valery and his father Slavcho own it. During the festival it’s open longer than usual, the choice is limited, but the staff is very nice and tries each year to surprise us with some nice new things. In the pub there is also a shop where some basic products can be obtained.
During the festival the shop in the center (Rumyana’s shop) runs for more hours than normal and sells bread and basic products.
Kazana – a key place in every village, which since 2016 is managed by Valio, Elsa, and their daughters and sons in-law. Freshly cooked homemade food and local wines and brandies. Every day at noon and evening.
Festival shop in the festival building with always fresh herbal tea from the mountain and some delicious local snacks.
What to bring with
Something to donate to the festival – a pack of good coffee or your favorite tea for the festival bar, a book for the library.
Mug and cutlery (optional).
What to see in Bela Rechka and around
Gorna Bela Rechka is part of Vratsa Balkan – the youngest and second largest national park in Bulgaria. The entire mountain range around the village is part of the protected areas Natura 2000. The village is located about 500 meters above sea level in the Baltic system.
Some famous high-altitude areas around are:
East – Mecha strana – 670 m
Northeast – Dobralin – 1000 m
North – Venetza – 1000 m
Northwest – Krivi del – 712 m
West – Rasovitza – 720 m, Zmeyovetz – 987 m
South – Ivanchov rog – 860 m, Garvanetz – 1115 m, Golyamata polyana – 1200 m
South-southeast – Sredni del – 739 m
Southeast – Stakevitza – 1200 m
The highest peaks in this part of the mountain are Todorini kukli – 1785 m and Kom peak – 2016 m