In 2017 my brother Taj told me about a festival in the mountains of Bulgaria, and that no matter what that we will be going. The first thing I thought was, “Bulgaria!?, where the hell is that”, Taj laughed and said it’s in eastern Europe near Romania. I did my own research on the festival and instantly got sucked in to a hour long search on YouTube watching every video about the festival, and reading every article written about it. I was sold.
Less then a year later me and Taj arrive in Ibiza to spend our summer there, and a week later we are back on a flight to Bulgaria for Meadows. We arrive at the airport in the early evening and almost instantly spot another festival goer dressed in all black and wearing a purple suede hat with a gold ring around it, she then says “you guys here for meadows?” we laugh and spend the next few hours getting to know each other and get excited for what the week has in stored for us. We all go outside to wait on our bus and the parking lot is full of people from all over Europe in their festival gear, tents, big back packs, and big smiles full of excitement.
Everybody is so happy and eager to get this 6 hour bus ride over with, the ride was long, dark and sketchy, due to the fact that we were driving hours in to the mountains of Smolian, Bulgaria in a huge bus. We arrive and i’m so tiered and bothered and find out I have to drag my huge samsonite luggage up hill almost a mile to our campsite, it’s 4am and we have no flash light and have to pitch our huge 10 man tent in complete darkness. Good thing we had two awesome neighbours Harvey, and Keren who were more then happy to help us like it was their own. The night was freezing and we were too lazy to bring our sleeping bags so we had two thin blankets we wrapped ourselves with and slept like we were mummies.
The next day we meet 2 sweethearts name Grace, and Amy. We almost automatically connect like we’ve known each other for years, we spent the first few hours up checking out the festival and looking for food. The festival was so beautiful, wooden structures, beautiful vendors selling kimonos with bright colors and the smell of fresh food and weed in the air. No matter where you stood when you looked around all you see is the beautiful mountains of Smolian. As far as you can look you see mountains with big green trees, and the bright blue sky. As we are getting some freshly made french fries, out of no where a huge storm comes. We run in to the nearest bar and start drinking. The storm doesn’t end for hours and we are getting more and more fucked up, and making more and more friends. The bartenders become our new best friends and they are giving us free drinks and making sure even though it is raining, that we are still going to have a great time. By the time the rain stops we’re a huge group of friends now. We go down to this view spot down the hill and are having the time of our lives, the energy of being in a festival with new people and new friends in the air was at all time high.
As the sun went down, and the lights of all the festival got brighter, we all went back to our tents to get dressed up for the night. We head to the same bar where our good friend Martin, and Bastoon were to began drinking. There we are automatically met with familiar faces and even new friends. We head to the sunrise stage which looked huge compared to the day. The excitement of being in a festival after a year of not going, and the music pounding with so many beautiful people around me dancing made the ecstasy i took make me feel like i took 10 of them.
Later that night a girl we were with puts a tab of acid in my mouth, and I look at taj and he has one too. The night was full of uncontrollable body movements from the amazing music playing, and beautiful colors blending with the crowd from the mixing of drugs and laser lights projecting in to the crowd.
I lose Taj that night at some point, and I stumble in the tent to see he’s asleep and find out from a neighbour he’s been sick throwing up for the past hour from too much alcohol. I instantly fall asleep and wake up with a feel of regret like i know I did something bad. I find taj a hour later and find out that I woke up, stood up and started pissing in the corner of our tent, he said I turned around dazed and looked at him then continued to pee. Then I throw my blankets on the piss to soak it up. I was so fucking embarrassed, but Taj thought it was funny.
Mornings at Meadows was a hard one for me, we would usually get in at 5 or so, sleep for about 3 hours and before the scorching tent would be burning with heat from the sun and has us drenched in sweat. Every morning when the tent got hot, I would walk down the trail, find a shady spot in the bush and sleep for a few hours.
Later that day I go in to the tent and change and enter the festival by myself looking for some new people to chat or something to do. I go to the phone charger station to charge my phone and hear somebody yelling “California”, I turn around and I do not remember these faces at all lol. So not to be rude I chat with them and they remind me all about everything we were doing and dancing. They offer to get me a drink since we were at their friends bar. We end up chatting for over a hour about ibiza and how he was a Dj for some major clubs in ibiza for 6 years. It was great conversation. We start walking down to their next bar they work at, they took me to a different part of the festival that wasn’t opened the day before. It was deep down at the bottom of the hills, a sick dj set up and dance floor surrounded by huge trees. This was instantly my favourite stage. The deep house/disco sounds the Dj was playing had the crowd going crazy. Im getting free drinks from the bar near by from my friends I meet this group of French guys, and two girls from Italy.
The crowd is dancing and raging like it was 1am, it was mental. I was having the time of my life, literally. The trees pounding from the bass, people dancing with my stickers covering their eyes, while I stand there thinking this festival is getting more and more lit every second. The rest of that day and night was full of drugs and dancing until the sun came up.
The next day as I wake up in my shady bush place where I slept every morning, I woke up with a shitty feeling of all the days of drugs, and little rest, and sun killing me all day. I was not in a good place in my mind, I was so restless and began to get in to a depression. It took me about a hour to get myself up from there and face the real world, I was not in a place to interact with people, I just wanted to back at home and in a comfortable place to rest with a proper shower. I finally convinced myself to get up and make my way up hill back to the campsite, soon as I got up the last set of stairs I got super lightheaded and thought I was going to pass out. I then sat on the small deck next to the kebab store and laid there thinking I was going to need a ambulance. I eventually got up and knew I had to eat something, I ordered french fries and the guy put a small piece of meat on top of it not knowing I was vegan, thinking he was hooking me up, I almost threw up seeing that. I told him I need a new set of fries, then I sat down and tried eating and almost threw up. Then a young Japanese dude came and sat next to me and we had some of the best conversations ever, for the next 3-4 hours I sat there and encountered some of the most beautiful people and conversations. One woman came up the stair case out of breathe and asked me if she could have some of my water, looked like she was going to pass out as well. We then started talking about culture and how going back to your native land can really humble you, and make you a better person knowing how much easier we have it and how much we take advantage of that. Me and her were connecting so much and vibing so hard on such a heart to heart level I just started to cry, I didn’t even feel it coming it just came out. I know it was from all the drugs, and emotions mixing up but it was just so random to me. I apologised and let me know everything is okay and that I don’t need to apologise, then she started tearing up as well and told me things been rough for her back home and that this is why she is here at this festival. I teared a few more times while talking to different people while I was there next to the kebab store. It was a real emotional afternoon for me, and I still don’t understand why, there was a moment where I felt like I just needed to go back to my tent and get the crying out of my system so I can just get all out already.
I finally have the energy to get up and go in to the festival, I take the rest of the day to myself to relax and take the last day in and enjoy it. Stumbled across a mellow meditation class and joined in for about 45 minutes.
Then I took some cool photos and video of my friends iFUSE Cbd water, and had a great time. As I’m walking back I come across this pizza station I been seeing everybody eat at all week and I knew I had to get some. I got my pizza and sat down with a view of the festival and ate the best vegan pizza I ever had in my life.
Walking back in to the festival I run in to Taj, and his face is covered in paint and he’s eating a toast with feta cheese and salad on the side, it was his favourite food at the festival by far.
We sit there and talk with our friends Hunni and her sisters. As we enjoy the beginning of the sunset when I decide I want to pack all my things before it gets dark and so I can just enjoy myself. I pack my things and go back to the kebab spot and run in to my friend Charlie the rasta mon, we sit there and talk politics for about a hour and everybody walking by that I seen earlier thinks I never left and been there all day it was so funny. Then I meet two Irish girls name Alice, and Amber, they were so beautiful and friendly. We spent the next 2 hours waiting for their friends and drinking about 20 beers together and becoming best friends.
We made plans to meet later in the festival. It was a crazy feeling knowing that was the last time I would be walking in to that festival, but I knew it would be the best. Walked in and ran in to my friend Leren and we went to the forest stage and danced our asses off. Then ran in to Emaleigh and Taj at the sunrise stage and had such a good time dancing. As I was dancing I feel somebody grab me and hug me and I look and it was Amber! I was so happy to see her and Alice, the next few hours was full of people knowing this would possibly be the last night of one of the best nights of their lives. I stood at the very top of the stage dancing and as I looked around all I seen were smiles, hugs, wild dance moves, and people gathering going crazy over people limboing under a broom stick people were holding in the middle of the dance floor.
It was a moment that can never be explained, pure ecstasy, naturally. As the time has came for me and Taj to say goodbye to our loved ones and be on our way, we gave hugs and kisses to our families and tried hard to cry because we knew it wasn’t goodbye, it was see you in a year.
Meadows was a life changing experience for me, as I said before I been to many festivals with 30 thousand people, or more, but this festival being a little over 2,000 people made things a lot more intimate. You go to these huge festivals and you share some of your best moments with people and you never see them again. At meadows you come across everybody all day everyday, the festival becomes one huge family. I love how the team of meadows are really respectful of the land they are sharing wit the native people there, I love how they hire the locals from the mountains and give them jobs that helps them survive for the rest of their year there. The Bulgarian people are some of the nicest people I ever met, full of love and very happy to share their culture with everybody who comes there from all over the world. Thank you so much Meadows In The Mountains, I will never forget everything you showed me, and the love you gave me. See you in a year.