Yesterday Dio Disciples arrived in Kavarna, Bulgaria, to headline the first day of the famous Kavarna Rock Fest on July 13, 2012.
Naturally, one of the first things they did was to visit the Statue of Ronnie James Dio - a unique monument opened in 2010 to celebrate the life, the voice, the significance, and the legend of Ronnie James Dio, who passed away May 16, 2010.
It was a very special visit on a very special day for Dio's friends and band members for yesterday Dio would have turned 70.
Tim "Ripper" Owens and Dio Disciples posted a couple of pictures on their Facebook profile and fans from all over the world noticed the Monument. Some have commented that it is one of the greatest things done to pay respect to Dio, many call it was "truly awesome," and all wonder where it is...
The Ronnie James Dio Monument is situated in Kavarna, Bulgaria.
Official opening: October 23, 2010
Height: over 2 m
Made of: bronze
Project & Design: Alexander Petrov and Krasimir Krastev-Lomski
It's a Black Sea coastal town, situated 64 km northeast of Varna and Varna International Airport.
It is primarily famous for the annual rock/metal summer festival Kavarna Rock Fest (formerly known as Kaliakra Rock Fest) and its mayor Tzonko Tzonev, a.k.a. the Metal Mayor. Tzonev, an avid hard rock and heavy metal fan, turned Kavarna into the "rock capital of Bulgaria."
It was Tzonev's idea to gentrify apartment buildings by putting up murals of heavy metal royalty, including David Coverdale and Tarja Turunen. Here's a picture of the opening of Joey DeMaio's mural.
Though it's a very small country on the Balkans (that's Europe, for those who are too lazy to check the map), Bulgaria is famous for its passionate hard rock and heavy metal fans. Because Communism had a very stern rule, up to 1989 world-famous bands could simply not visit and perform. That made the otherwise passionate rock lovers even more passionate concert goers later on.
One of the first metal bands that dared tread the former communist land was Sodom and they were generously rewarded - they were greeted by 12,000 fans when they came for their concert in Sofia in 1991. That might not seem an impressive turnout if you come from a coutry with population of 311 million (like the USA) but Bulgaria's population at the time was 8 million. So, 12,000 fans in Bulgaria is the as impressive as 466,500 fans in the USA. And that's not a festival.
Significance of the monument
It is a beautiful bronze statue rising from a rock.
Dio is pictured in a typical pose of talking to the fans. Everybody who had had the chance to see him live would know that he had the talent to communicate with the fans on so many levels.
The rock, of course, is a symbol of not only the music genre but also of rock history, which Dio helped shape, and the unchanging, undying power of Dio's influence over the fans. Known as the "little man with the big voice," he towered over many others. He was our rock.