Our experience at Meadows In The Mountains was full of many lightbulb moments, yet it was the ones we shared with fellow artists that made us come to the conclusion that MIM is a place to cherish friendships and relationships, long established and newly formed – to connect with people in a way that will bring something positive into each others lives. The festival was thick with spontaneity, where destiny meets coincidence. Rarely had we felt so comfortable and inspired in such a faraway place: an atmosphere created by truthfulness and friendship. The dots are connected beautifully, with everyone’s paths interwoven here, amongst the spiders and grass, above the clouds.
With Meadows in the Mountains set up for many not only to enjoy, let loose and dance at, but to participate, create, connect, understand and feel a whole range of joyous, almost overwhelming emotions, it was the stories we uncovered with various artists on how they made it to the festival that made our time at Meadows such a special experience.
These are some of the artists that we chatted to on our adventures through MIM. They come together in the story of MIM, one that almost tells itself – a festival full of optimism and enthusiasm, created by 2000 friends coming together 1000 meters above the sea.
A dark storm hangs in the distance as I walk through the bustling food stalls of Broadway Market. With the sun gleaming overhead, the sounds of a delicate, wavy guitar matched with a slow-jam beat fill the air, creating a heartwarming feeling that sweeps through everyone passing by.
Now, almost three months on, I’m in the mystical setting of Bulgaria’s Rhodope Mountains, joining 2000 or so other beautiful people in the 8th year of MIM. Amidst the glorious forest, on the first day; after exploring the magical festival site for the first time I’m drawn from the back of the site down along to the main stage. A sweet, drifting euphoria caresses my ears as a steady bass tingles my legs – setting them off on a powerful dance. It’s that lightbulb moment brought together with a sudden rush of adrenaline and bliss, that the artist I had heard some months ago on Broadway Market, only for him to disappear after the ravenous storm unleashes, is performing right in front of me.
Blake Creighton: How did you end up performing at Meadows?
Joseph: I was busking down Columbia Road Flower Market as that is what I have been doing the past three years down in London. Busking around with that sound on the street promoting my ep. I went down to Columbia Road in the morning and got chatting to this lovely girl called Fran, I was looking for a venue to do my new ep launch at and she said “by all means you can use our space”. So I played there with the guys at Folklore, it was a beautiful evening – we had candles burning. Then Benji, who promotes and owns MIM, walked in and he was speaking to Grace, my girlfriend, and basically offered me a gig here now through her.
L.A. Salami played on Friday afternoon and set a great mood for the festival with stylish and cool rock, punctuated between slick vocals and rocking guitars. We spotted him later at the sunrise stage, a look of awesome cheer in his eyes as he stood at the edge of the throbbing dancing crowd, jacking as they were to the beat, resplendent and beautiful in colours and anticipation of the sunrise.
Ian: How did you come to be playing at the festival?
L.A.: I came to be playing at the festival through the Love Is The Law organization.
Ian: Coming here, as a musician, what were your expectations of the festival and set, and how did that get out into what you were playing?
L.A.: I’ve played here before in 2014, last time it was by myself, this time it was with the band. I was just looking forward to playing the stage with the band, having the full sound there. I was expecting to have fun – because of the type of festival it is, you can be free, and it will just be a jam sort of thing, and that’s what the feel of the set was.
Ian: Do you agree that spontaneity is a core element of Meadows in the Mountains? Is that unique to the festival?
L.A.: Yeah, it seems like that there’s spontaneity in the air over there. I’ve known it in other festivals, but not a lot of them!
After seeing L.A. Salami’s set, one of the band members yelled out to the crowd: “Same musicians, different band, 5 o’clock here tomorrow!” After how good that set was, this sounded like a plan. Following a cranking set flowing between dreamy crooning and edgy jarring guitar riffs and punk vibes, we caught up with Simon (lead singer) and Sean for some quick chats – in the evening, after the band had been on and off stage supporting other acts and jamming around in the afternoon.
Ian: Right – so I had really great talks with Simon and Sean while at the festival, just about the vibe and the set and punk-ish dance music. A total pleasure!
Simon: Fucking awesome festival!! Hope you had as much fun as we had!
Ian: How did you come to the festival as a band? I remember you said that you’d come as L.A. Salami’s band – was the Francobollo set planned in as well?
Simon: So we were only booked to play with L.A Salami, and I think the organisers realised that his band is its own band, so they booked us as well.
Ian: What were your expectations of the festival and how did they inform your set? I remember Sean saying that you weren’t sure about what to expect from the set, and whether the edgier punkier sounds would go down – whether that would fit into this festival – but it went really well and was received really well by the crowd too!
Simon: Yeah, we weren’t really sure if our kinda slacky, guitar riff vibe would go down so well. You know, because of the setting, and the music that was playing too. But people seemed to really enjoy it. It just kinda confirmed to us that people love dynamic, people love change.
Ian: Many artists and punters have been talking about a feeling of friendship at the festival, as well as of spontaneity and freedom – what were your experiences?
Simon: Yeah, we had an amazing feeling of companionship at the festival. People were so friendly, and helpful. Everyone wanted everybody to have an amazing time, and it showed.
With an abundance of quality artists sprawled out over 72 hours of bliss, it was difficult to approach all who we were impressed by. Witnessing three glorious sunrises at the sunrise stage to what was each morning, euphoric madness, the dense heaving woodlands supplying deeper electronic grooves through the course of the festival, and with the main stage bringing together a variation of quality band’s and Dj’s from across the world; Meadows In The Mountains piece together a festival worthy of immense praise.
From music curation, organisation, food, bar, decorations, setting, and even toilet arrangements, the festival never stopped peaking. As we have uncovered some wondrous stories, there were many more which go untold and many acts who made Meadows such a special experience, so shout out to Ginger & The Ghost, Alice Phoebe Lou, Anna Wall, Brian Not Brian, Jake The Rapper, Saoirse, Shanti Celeste, Valentin Stip, Youandewan and those who escape our minds.