Images capture the colorful heyday of Bulgarian raving in the 00s – Features

Set somewhere in the mountains and on the cobblestone streets of Sofia, raucous pioneer parties led the Rush to a stormy era for electronic music on the cusp of the new millennium. The city saw the sweet spot where Bulgaria lovingly adopted club music and in return squeezed out a hefty supply of free-roaming ravers to see again at the end of a tumultuous decade.

“We were crazy, pierced kids with weird hair who, like most, wanted to show our freedom and explain social status. In our case, it was status outside the mainstream, rebellion and preaching a culture of diversity,” says Vladzen Iliev, curator of the Bulgaria Rave Archive. The archival materials documented by Vladzen tell a story of Bulgaria in a transitional period, challenged by a new generation of party-hungry ravers.

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Vladzen, who worked as a visual artist in the late ’90s creating flyers, decor and visuals for events, now oversees an enormous collection of archival images, videos and merchandise from this ’90s heyday. “For me, this is a very personal project that aims to build a bridge between generations and show that history must not be forgotten,” he says mixmag.

“Our tendency to forget has always interested me as a topic, nostalgia and the state of our scene culminated in my desire to start this project. I would love to be able to inspire people like these years have done for me.”

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