During 2018, the programme of Plovdiv - European Capital of Culture increased with additional 225 new projects selected among 781 candidates of 6 open calls announced by the Foundation, distributing a total budget of BGN 2,200,000. The approved projects have attracted 107 international partners and nearly BGN 2 million co-financing for cultural content in the city.
Of all the signed contracts for the entire five-year period of the project, a total of BGN 15 million is reported as co-financing obtained by the partners and their sponsors, who invest in exhibitions, concerts, theatre, dance, numerous educational and community projects.
This approach to implementing the programme and engaging cultural and financial capital was also appreciated by the European Commission, who awarded Plovdiv the Melina Mercury Prize for successful preparation of the initiative.
In the first-of-its-kind for Bulgaria Artists in Residence programme, the Adata AiR, together with its partners from the Goethe Institut - Bulgaria and the Polish Institute - Sofia, we managed to attract more than 500 artists from around Europe wishing to work in Plovdiv. Of these, 60 were selected to participate. The great interest and opportunity for inclusion create extraordinary visibility of the project both within and outside the boundaries of our country.
Plovdiv is one of the few European Capitals of Culture, which launched its cultural programme two years before the title with rich range of events and initiatives. In 2018 alone, the total number of events realized within the projects of the programme is nearly 800, which include various in scale and scope theatrical performances, concerts, major festivals, workshops, lectures, presentations, trainings and forums, which took place not only in Plovdiv, but also in the small towns and villages in the region. From 2018, in the programme of the European Capital of Culture are included also events in Sofia, Varna and Veliko Tarnovo and the regions.
2019 started for Plovdiv with 30 events in the official opening weekend, which reported a record number of visitors within the first month of 2019. High media interest was reported, both from the country and from renowned international media. The opening gathered more than 50,000 Plovdiv residents and guests, attracted more than 1,100 volunteers, and was covered in more than 4,850 media publications, and the registered viewers who watched it online exceeded 100,000. Publications in the international press now number more than 150, and the planned visits by journalists began a few weeks after the ceremony.
In February, the events in the programme, announced at a press conference earlier this month, also numbered over 30, with the most important focus of the European Capital of Culture programme for the month being the upcoming premiere of the Drama Theater - Plovdiv "ODYSSEUS". February is also the month in which the first meetings of the accompanying discussion forums and public discussions of the two opening exhibitions "SMOKE. Tobacco Stories" and "ART LIBERTY – FROM THE BERLIN WALL TO STREET ART”.
The full and up-to-date information about the programme of Plovdiv European Capital of Culture 2019 can be found on the website of the foundation and on all channels of "Plovdiv 2019" in the social networks.