It’s was a sunny Sunday afternoon in Sofia, and, after finishing all work we had saved for the weekend, we headed to one of the newest parks in the city. Located near an area you don’t really want to find yourself at night, unless you’re on the looks for heroin maybe, the park itself proved to be actually quite a fine place. Hopefully, in the future the Sofia hardcore punk community will really try to reclaim such open public spaces with similar events to what happened on September 10. Huge ups to our friends at Ugly & Proud and Strange’n’Fresh not only for collaborating to bring Italy’s Gab De La Vega to Sofia, but doing an outdoor gig, with a free / donation entry and looooots of rad vegan food.
So, pretty much in the middle of the park you’ll find a neat amphitheatre with seats for maybe 50 people—perfect for the gig tonight. By the time we got there it had already become pretty crowded. Besides the hardcore punk regulars we spot quite a few new faces. Those range from tiny kids, their parents, folks from the vegan community in Bulgaria and some random alternative people. That’s one good thing about free open air events, artists can reach new people, not familiar with the core values of hardcore punk or DIY. That surely is something priceless and challenging. Actually even being there, on this amphitheatre, surrounded by 50% of people we wouldn’t really see on shows, made us look at our own worlds with completely different eyes.
And it felt great. No pretentiousness, no institutional or external support whatsoever (…and no permission from the city/state authorities either). Just a bunch of young people gathered to meet, experience and support a travelling artists’ music and listen to everything they stand for. And Gab De La Vega surely stands for something worthy. His music is intimate, honest and simple—it’s exactly how it should be, because the message it carries is of fundamental importance, thus should be accessible for everybody. Gab talks about compassion, about animal liberation, about his own life, his choices and mission. This one hour we spent within his world, which happens to be pretty much the same world we are all sharing together anyway, was not just a gig, but a great reminder it’s us who have the power to improve our lives and the lives of those who we are co-existing with.