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The festival spirit of Apollonia comes alive again

Maria Kasimova: In Sozopol everyone has a direct path to the Sun

Photo: Facebook / MunicipalityOfSozopol

Sozopol is once again the cultural capital of Bulgaria as the 38th Apollonia Arts Festival is in full swing until September 5.

More than 50 events are included in the programme of the festival - theatre, music, fine arts, cinema, literature, presenting the best of Bulgarian cultural life for the year. The time-resistant tradition, independent of political changes, gives the audience the most precious thing - contact with the world of art and its people who breathe life into the Black sea town of Sozopol in a unique way.

For literary historian and theorist Prof. Mihail Nedelchev Sozopol has always been his town of salvation. His relationship with this town has lasted for more than half a century. This year a special literary evening celebrates the 80th anniversary of the professor. Involved in politics at the beginning of the democratic processes and having left a lasting mark in literary history with his studies on the classic poets Peyo Yavorov and Hristo Botev, Nedelchev has never broken his tradition of being on the seashore at the beginning of September.

Mihail Nedelchev

"Apollonia built on my Sozopol happy heterotopia", he says and explains: - "Heterotopia" is a term by Michel Foucault and means "place of otherness". Philosophers, however, speak of bleak heterotopias, i.e. prisons, hospitals, etc. Whereas I like happy heterotopias and for me Sozopol is a happy heterotopia. Apollonia somehow upgraded it.

When Dimo Dimov and Margarita Dimitrova invented this happy event - Apollonia, they actually meant that many intellectuals, artists, etc. gather here anyway.

Margarita Dimitrova at the opening of the festival

I really like the first Apollonia festivals because back then there were club nights, activities that brought people together. The presence of the great film director Rangel Valchanov was legendary - there was always a joyful atmosphere and bursts of laughter around him. Now the town is happy too, but the first club atmosphere of Apollonia is gone. Considering that when the festival started in 1984, it was the time of the socialist regime and in fact a festival of the alternatively minded was held here.

Naturally, there were secret service guys eavesdroping on our conversations, but they were, so to speak, the good cops, i.e., the State Security agents who were more sympathetic to intellectuals."

"Apollonia is a festival that has a very intelligent selection of the programme and this has not changed over the years, says Maria Kasimova-Moisset, a writer, journalist, etiquette and protocol expert who is part of the Arts Festival this year, presenting her new book Monologues.

Maria Kasimova-Moisset

"You can really see the cutting-edge stuff here. It is extremely interesting. For 38 years people have been coming to Sozopol  especially for Apollonia. Yes, the environment is changing - I see different people, different types of literature are sought after, but there is interest and this gives me a lot of hope. The atmosphere in Sozopol is always very special.

I was born and raised by the sea, but this atmosphere here is unrivalled. Where there is a sea, there is a horizon, there is a dream, there are sunrises, moons... And when you walk along the shore, the moon and the sun always follow you and you always see that there is a sun and moon path especially for you. And it really is just for you. This is nature's way of showing us that we are not alone - everyone has a path directly to the sun and directly to the moon. And we must remember that. This path is visible right in the sea, and where else, if not in Sozopol."

"Apollonia" has a vision of its own - says Marieta Angelova, puppet director and founder of the theater house "Marieta and Marioneta":

"I always look forward for Apollonia. It continued to exist thanks to the efforts of all those who founded and kept alive the tradition. As a theatre director, I always enjoy and get excited about the atmosphere that is created here. The most fantastic thing about it is that it is always so captivating. I think that it is the festival spirit of Sozopol that should be nurtured, and we are contributing to that."

Reportage by Petya Yanakieva from BNR-Burgas

Photos: Facebook / ApolloniaFestival, Facebook / MunicipalityOfSozopol, BGNES, Facebook / marionetabg
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