Winner of the World Cup of Folklore - Veliko Tarnovo 2023 is the Representative dance group "Hemus" at Municipality of Vratsa. Art director of the group is Genoveva Spasova. The group received the Grand Prix Cup of the competition, Diploma for first place, and a voucher of 500 Euro for participation in the World Championship of Folklore "World Folk", provided by EAFF.

The art leader of the Representative dance group "Hemus" at Municipality of Vratsa - Mrs Genoveva Spasova was awarded by the jury with the "Maestro Academic" title. The diploma will be sent to the Municipality with the request to be handed officially. 

The XXVI Stara Planina Fest "Balkan Folk" and the simultaneously held events - the XIII Bulgarian National Championship of Folklore "Euro Folk" and the VIII World Cup of Folklore - Veliko Tarnovo 2023 were held from 11 to 15 May in the historical and spiritual capital of Bulgaria - Veliko Tarnovo. Events were attended by about 1600 participants - singers, dancers and musicians from more than 150 folklore groups presenting Bulgaria, Moldova and Malaysia.

The jury commission consisted of: Maestro Georgi Yankov - musical expert; Mr Valentin Halvadzhiev - choreographer; Mrs Mariana Nutsova - ethnologist, author of TV shows and movies, program director of Euro folk TV.

The second place in the final rankings of the World Cup of Folklore - Veliko Tarnovo 2023 went to Gombak Culture Group at Selangor State Education Department, Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia. Art director of the group is  Mr. Mahindran Rajagopal. The ensemble won silver medal, cup, diploma and cash prize of 300 euro in the form of a voucher for participation in the World Championship of Folklore "World Folk".

The third place in the eight edition of the Cup was granted to Choir "Rodolyubets" part of the "Hristo Botev" Theoretical Lyceum, Valea Perjei village, Taraclia, Republic of Moldova. Art director of the group is Mr Tihomir Borisov. The group received the bronze medal, Cup for second place, Diploma and a voucher of 200 Euro for participation in the World Championship of Folklore "World Folk".

In parallel with the traditional format of the World Cup of Folklore, an online version was held, which was attended by performers from Bulgaria, Russia, Lithuania, Hungary, Malaysia, Thailand and Mongolia.

The winner of the online Cup is Folklore group "Togtookhon Sodgerel" from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Their performance of the music and dance composition "The land inside the soul" got them the Golden medal, Diploma and voucher of 500 Euro for participation in the World Championship of Folklore "World Folk". The group's leader Mr. T. Sodgerel was awarded by the jury with the "Maestro" title. The title diploma will be sent to the Ministry of Culture in Mongolia with the request to be officially handed to Mr. Sodgerel.

Member of the jury commission of the online Cup was Mrs Tsatsral Baatar - founder of ArtLar House Mongolia and director of the Asian Championship of Folklore "Asia Folk". The complete results of the final rankings will be soon published on the website of EAFF (on the page of the World Cup of Folklore - online), Awards section.

Dance ensemble "Favorit" at "Valcho Ruskovski 1894" Community center, Ugarchin, Bulgaria won first place in the XIII Bulgarian National Championship of Folklore "Euro Folk" 2023. The group's leader is Mr Detelin Petrov. Winners received the Golden medal of the Championship and the title "Absolute National Champion of 2023", as well as the check of 1000 leva, provided by the European Association of Folklore Festivals - EAFF.

Second place in the XIII National Championship "Euro Folk" 2023 went to Group for authentic folklore at "Probuda 1910" Community center, Stransko village, Bulgaria. Art director of the group is Mrs Slavka Koleva Genova. The group received the silver medal of the Championship and the title "Absolute National Vice-champion of 2023".

Third place, bronze medal and bronze "Orpheus" of the Championship went to Folklore school "MI-RE-LA" (children's group), German village, Sofia, Bulgaria. Group's art leaders are Mirela Dimitrova and Atanas Terziev.

Members of the arbitration commission Prof. Vladimir Penchev - director of the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Sciences with Ethnographic Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences;  Prof. Dr. Vihra Baeva - Scientific Secretary of IEFEM at BAS, awarded certificates for preservation and spread of folklore traditions to the following groups:

1. Children's-youth dance group "Balgarche" at Center for support and personal development - Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria. Art director - Petar Petrov.

2. Group for authentic folklore at "Probuda 1910" Community center - Stransko village, Dimitrovgrad, Bulgaria. Art director - Slavka Genova.

3. Folklore ensemble "Gornopolska pesen" at "Probuda 1923" Community center - Ovchartsi village, Sapareva banya, Bulgaria. Art director - Violeta Katsareva.

4. Folklore group "Rupchos" at "Nikola Yonkov Vaptsarov 1936" Community center - Hvoyna village, Chepelare, Bulgaria. Art director - Dimitar Sivakov.

Official awarding ceremony started with the Special prize of the Municipality of Veliko Tarnovo with Mayor - Eng. Daniel Panov. The award went to Dance group "Srednogorski polah" from Ihtiman, Bulgaria and its art leader - Desislava Ivanova.

Accompanying events of the prestigious musical forums were also: Meeting of the international guests with the Mayor of Veliko Tarnovo Municipality; Parade of participants; Flower tribute on the Monument of Iliyan Nikolov - inspirer and founder of the Stara Planina Festival "Balkan Folk" and EAFF. The "Tsarevgrad Tarnov - Sound and Light" audio-visual show was a gift to the participants and was presented in two of the festival evenings. Participants, audience and guests had the possibility to see the Exhibition "A Journey Through Living Traditions. The Intangible Cultural Heritage of South-Eastern Europe", provided from the Regional Center for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Southeast Europe under the auspices of UNESCO.

Events were realized within the framework of the Musical Feasts "Euro Folk", under the auspices of the European Association of Folklore Festivals - EAFF, an accredited organization with consultative relations with the Intergovernmental Committee of the Convention for the Protection of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO, and with the financial and logistical support of the Municipality of Veliko Tarnovo.

The 26th Stara Planina Festival "Balkan Folk" is part of the official celebrations on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO.

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