The official unveiling of the monument dedicated to legendary heavy metal vocalist Ronnie James Dio in the Bulgarian Black-sea coastal town of Kavarna took place yesterday (Saturday, October 23). Dio's road manager Steve Mignardi and DIO drummer Simon Wright (who also previously played with AC/DC) attended the event. Sculptors Alexander Petrov and Krasimir Krastev - Lomsky spent two months working on the project, which is more than two meters in height (approximately six-and-a-half feet) and is combined with large stones taken from the sea. The statue, which was funded entirely through donations, was placed in the city's central park, as part of the soon-to-be built "Alley Of Rock," a project approved by the City Council four years ago.
Video footage and photos (courtesy of Metal Hangar 18) from the statue unveiling can be seen below.
According to Radio Bulgaria, the decision to erect the monument was taken by the municipal administration, with the most active proponents being Kavarna Mayor Tzonko Tzonev as well as leading journalists, musicians and singers.
A replica of the monument was displayed during the three-day Kavarna Rock Fest in July and a plaster model of the statue was subsequently created, marking the final stage of the preparation for its construction.
Dio was reportedly one of the very first heavy rock icons to play Kavarna. In fact, he performed in Bulgaria no less than five times and took an active part in the campaign for liberating the Bulgarian nurses held in prison in Libya for eight years.
According to Standart News, the mayor of Kavarna, Tzonko Tzonev, has managed to turn his life-long hobby — rock music — into a successful and profitable project and thus pours funds into the treasury of Kavarna Municipality. Thanks to Tzonev's efforts, some of the greatest rock musicians of all time have come and performed in the small coastal town of Kavarna.
Ronnie James Dio was one of rock's most respected and talented frontmen, renowned for his instantly recognizable vocals, lyrics and stagecraft. On May 16, 2010, Ronnie succumbed to stomach cancer at the age of 67 and the world of hard rock lost one of its greatest talents.
Photos below courtesy of Metal Hangar 18.