Varna Summer Festival

The “Varna Summer” International Music Festival is the first music festival in Bulgaria, founded in 1926 in the city of Varna.

Almost 100 years ago, just after the official opening of the Varna’s Sea Baths in 1926 – the first SPA center in the sea town, emblematic personalities of Varna society at that time, among them the composers Pancho Vladigerov and Dobri Hristov, set the beginning of the first in the country music celebrations, which later turned into the biggest International Music Festival in Bulgaria.

Having received national and international recognition, today the Festival is a representative forum of Bulgarian and world music and music performing art.

The slogan of the first organizers “to unite the best music celebrities of the country” finds its continuation and advance in the promotion of Bulgarian music culture in the policy of Festival’s programming. A number of Bulgarian works have been performed for the first time within the “Varna Summer”.

The Festival has multi-genre character and includes the following modules:

Core Program – symphony and chamber music
International Summer Music Academy
Music Lab – Varna
Renaissance and Baroque Music
Opera and Ballet
Intermezzo – in partnership with the “Varna Summer” International Theater Festival
“Varna Summer for Kids” – series of educational concerts
Parallel Program – exhibitions, films, conferences and others


In its more than 90-year long history the Festival has impressed with the presence of soloists, conductors, symphony and chamber orchestras, choirs, opera ensembles, ballet companies from around the world.

But the ambition of every next festival program is to present at the stage of the “Varna Summer” IMF both the renowned names of the world music culture and young artists – future stars.

In 1987 the Festival became a member of the European Festival Association based in Geneva. Nowadays, EFA is one of the major non-governmental organizations working at European level in Brussels on the cultural policies of the old continent, which three times consecutively awarded the EFFE Label to “Varna Summer” IMF within the period 2015-2020.

In June 2019 The Festival was honored with the EFFE label, an Europe’s quality stamp, for its program and organization among 715 festivals across Europe. The IMF, along with 23 of the best festivals in the old continent, received this prize at a special ceremony at the Bozar – Center for Fine Arts in Brussels. The exceptional success of the festival was also confirmed by receiving the AUDIENCE AWARD, which was announced later at the same ceremony and bestowed by the EU Commissioner Tibor Navracsics.

Emblematic photos from the festival archive

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