Guca Trumpet Festival: Serbia’s Incredible Brass Bands The Guca Trumpet Festival is a celebration of trumpet culture in Serbian folk music, an instrument that has deep historical and political ties to the country. The event has been around since 1961, and today it is considered by many to be among the world’s best folk and […]Guca Trumpet Festival 2020 Guca, Serbia Guca Serbia
The Guca Trumpet Festival is a celebration of trumpet culture in Serbian folk music, an instrument that has deep historical and political ties to the country. The event has been around since 1961, and today it is considered by many to be among the world’s best folk and music festivals.
Upon first glance, the festival may not seem that much different from other music festivals. There are tented pop-up bars and stalls selling food, but it’s injected with a whole lot of authentic Serbian elements: whole roasted animals are on display, inviting carnivores to eat to their heart’s content. Get drunk on the music and rakija as you revel in the folk dances where performers are decked out in bright costumes entertaining an energetic audience.
‘This unique multi-day festival is equal parts brass music, barbecued red meats, and delicious plum brandy enjoyed in the stunning mountains of western Serbia.’
Everything trumpet is celebrated here; this is the only country in the world where trumpets accompany all major events in the rural communities including baptisms, reaping, harvesting, and weddings. For the Serbians, both joy and sadness are expressed with the trumpet; it’s much more than an instrument, it’s a symbol of their past, present, and future.
The highlight of the Guca Trumpet Festival is, of course, the competition where qualified hand-picked brass belt out tunes and the entire venue comes alive with dancing and contagious delight. The festival parade as well as the cultural and artistic programs are an experience in itself; precursors to the highly-anticipated announcement of concert champions toward the end of the festival.
The festival is held in the charming small town of Guca, just three hours away from Belgrade. The programs and performances will be held in various locations in the city center of Guca including the Museum of Trumpets, Memorial to the Trumpeter, and stages in the city center.
Just head for the town center. You will see the area blocked off where the festival takes place.
Best of all, the entire event is completely free to attend!
In recent years the festival has been organized in the second week of August and it lasts four days. The program of the festival includes diverse cultural and artistic contents such as Final competition of brass bands, Festival Parade of Participants, Midnight concert, Improvisation of the traditional Dragacevo wedding, concerts of eminent trumpet players and many other cultural and traditional events.
A group of young enthusiasts had an idea to organize a show of the local folk crafts and customs in the yard of the Church of the Saints Archangel Gabriel, including a competition of trumpet bands from Dragacevo. The Feast of the Intercession on 14th October 1961 had an enormous effect on the development of the Serbian trumpet-playing tradition.
Desimir Perišić from Goračići became the part of the Festival`s history as the first winner, the best trumpeter, whereas the orchestra of Dragan Jovanović from Dljin was proclaimed as the best orchestra. This first festival represents the beginnings of the Serbian tradition: An invaluable cultural treasurе given as a present, to be kept and enriched. Filled with the dancing and cheering crowd, the churchyard soon became too small for all the trumpet lovers.
From year to year, the festival has defied challenges, gaining quality and becoming bigger, at the same time preserving the original spirit. From the initial 20 contestants, the program has grown to include over 1,200 participants. It is hard to imagine how it`s possible that a small town with barely 2,500 inhabitants, in these early August days, receives around 300,000 visitors of different cultures and languages nationalities.
Guca is a small but famous town that offers much more than just the festival. There are attractions like the beautiful church of the Holy Archangel Gabriel in whose churchyard the first trumpet festival was held in 1961, the Trumpet museum with an exhibition dedicated to the history of the trumpet festival, also the unique outdoor exhibition of monuments namely tombstones.
The real treasures of the area are monasteries scattered on the slopes of the mountain Ovčar which belong to the group of Ovcar and Kablar monasteries. Another attraction is the Rti cave, 7 km from Guca. This speleological complex is a part of the most significant speleological sites in Serbia.
There are few rural households in the area that offer farm stays.
Sink your teeth into a traditional Serbian dish: a juicy roast pig with a side of beans, sour cabbage, and cornbread. Party in town with people all over the world drinking beer and taking shots of rakija, the Balkans’ famous intoxicating plum brandy.
Guca is located in the south-western part of Serbia, 166 kilometers away from Belgrade.
Fly to Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade and either hire a car or take a bus. There is a regular bus from Belgrade to Čačak and then a local bus or taxi to Guča. Once you’re in town, getting around is so easy because everything is within walking distance.
If you fly into Konstantin Veliki Airport (Niš) you can also take a bus directly to Čačak.
The trip through the Serbian landscape will be a special experience.
The tiny town of Guca is peppered with several dozen bed and breakfasts, homestays, hostels and restaurants that rent out rooms to choose from. There are many affordable and mid-range options that won’t break the bank. You can also stay in a house in the countryside. There are several well-equipped traditional houses nearby.
Of course, you can also check out Rad’s map below for some excellent hotel deals and Airbnb’s.
When you’ve had your fill of trumpets, head back to Belgrade, a charming European capital known for its high culture and fun people. Book a splavovi for more partying aboard a boat on the Sava and Danube. Explore the palaces that were once home of Serbian royalty, and take in the magnificent beauty of the Belgrade Fortress.
Indulge in the arts, cozy cafes, eccentric personalities, and nightlife at Skadarlija, the city’s bohemian street. Get some sea and sun at Ada Ciganlija, an island in Sava whose pebble beaches draw tourists in the summer while bars and restaurants serve refreshments.
Plan ahead: Book your perfect trip with our Serbia travel guide and destination information. Does Serbia require a visa? Check the visa requirements before you get caught up during your travel.
Stay safe: Even the best-laid plans can head south. battleface can help you stay safe in dangerous or hostile situations as well as that epic road trip or catching a few waves. How to stay safe during Guca Trumpet Festival 2020? If you’re not covered for your trip yet, get your quote here.
Spend money wisely: Take public transport and dine in from time to time are common saving tips during traveling. How to spend money wisely in Serbia? Make use of technology. There’s an app for everything.
Rad Season is providing you with hotels and Airbnbs at the lowest prices available online. Book your stay for Guca Trumpet Festival 2020 using the map below!