For American Balkan music tourists, it is disillusioning to reconcile the Balkan village (a long-imagined source of fascination) with the urbanity they encounter in Bulgaria. The Koprivshtitsa festival, however, does offer visitors images of the "folk." Based on fieldwork and surveys conducted with tourists, the article examines the varied expectations that festival attendees hold for Koprivshtitsa as timeless village, cultural center, and contemporary town, and calls for an ethnomusicological consideration of the nature and role of fascination within musical tourism. It concludes by relating "meaningful blindness" (integral to these tourists’ fascination) to their imaginings, arguing that sonic encounter in situ brings fascination not to an end but rather to a more self-aware stage of subject-to-object relationship, through the reciprocal witnessing of Selves and Others.

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