Serbia‘s annual Guca Trumpet Festival returns to the city of Guca this month to celebrate all things brass music. Located just three hours outside of the Serbian capital of Belgrade, the festival regularly welcomes more than half a million visitors to the small town of only 2000 citizens each year. Since the first edition in 1961, Guca’s trumpet festival has grown to become one of the country’s biggest and best celebrations; showcasing music, folk dancing, art, competitions and more.
The trumpet is a traditional and significant instrument in Serbia; found at just about any and every major event from baptisms to weddings, harvests and more. Different music is played accordingly but always resembles traditional harmonies and rhythms. The traditional Dragačevo trumpet has been around for almost two centuries and has become a world-renowned Serbian icon. Particularly during the festival season, you can find everything from indigenous melodies (accompanied by the traditional ‘kolo’ dance) to new and emerging music. Warming the hearts of locals and visitors alike, the adrenaline-rushing sound of a trumpet makes it impossible to stand still.
Traditionally known as Dragačevski Sabor Trubača, the first Guca Trumpet Festival took place on October 16, 1961, at the Church of St Gabriel in Guca, Serbia. Originating as a small and modest assembly, the event ultimately grew to the world-renowned festival we know and love today. With the key element of folk remaining throughout the past four decades, the festival has grown to include more than just trumpet players. The small town of Guca has also grown to become an internationally recognized trumpet capital, as well as a perfect vacation spot.
The festival takes places across four days from morning til’ midnight. Each day features a range of activities and events such as concerts, exhibitions, competitions and more. Check out some of the must-see events from this year’s festival below.
Opening Ceremony – A traditional opening ceremony at the trumpet monument in the center of Guca.
Trumpet Museum – The trumpet museum features two floors; the first reserved for art exhibitions and the second featuring a permanent exhibition about trumpet brass bands and the festival.
Competition of Young Trumpet Orchestras – A competition kicking off the festivities featuring the youngest brass bands.
Traditional Awakening Signal – An alarm that alerts visitors at 7 am that it is time to wake up and begin the second day of festivities. For some, it may also mean it is time to go to bed!
Participants Carnival – One of the most popular traditional events of the festival. Also known as Défilé, the carnival features a mixture of brass sounds, traditional Serbian costumes and more.
Traditional Costume Competition – Perfect for those enthusiastic about tradition and culture; the traditional costume competition showcases the traditional customs in Western Serbia and the Dragačevo region.
Final Competition – Possibly one of the most important parts of the festival, the final competition features strict competition rules and non-commercial arrangements, oriented to real music lovers, musicians and more.
Crowning of the Festival Winner – The final day is generally dedicated as a day of rest; however, the main stage continues the festivities in the evening, where the brand new winner will be crowned.
Trumpet Master Concert – The final concert which takes place at 6 pm on the final day of the festival. Closing out the event by only the best, the masters of brass instruments will bring the ceremony to an official end.
Plan Ahead – As the town of Guca is extremely small, accommodation can be very limited and it is recommended to plan ahead and arrange accommodation as soon as possible. There are many private accommodation options available throughout the town, within walking distance of the main festival street and the main stage. These accommodations also offer an authentic local experience, staying with or near Guca residents. You can find private accommodation options directly through the festival or explore nearby options below.
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