Guča Trumpet Festival

Guča Trumpet Festival
Photo: gucafestival.rs
The Guča Trumpet Festival, also known as Dragačevski sabor trubača (Dragačevo Assembly of Trumpeters), is an annual music festival held in the small town of Guča located in western Serbia. It is arguably the world’s largest trumpet event.

The roots of the Guča Trumpet Festival can be traced back to 1831, when Prince of Serbia Miloš Obrenović ordered the formation of the first military band. Since then, the sound of trumpets has accompanied every major event in the life of Serbia’s rural communities. Local trumpeters can be heard play on every type of occasion, from christenings to funerals.

The first Dragačevo Assembly of Trumpeters was held in 1961. Originally a modest event, it has since become one of the best known events of its kind that attracts guest musicians and attendees from around the world. It is considered a great honor among trumpeters and folk song and dance groups to be invited to perform at the festival. Notable participants have included Goran Bregović and the Boban Marković Orchestra.

Guča is a small town with a population less than 4,000. But during the festival it is flooded with people who come from all over Serbia and abroad. The Guča Trumpet Festival attracts more than 600,000 visitors over 10 days, which makes it one of the largest music events in Europe. UK website ThisIsTheLife.com has once compared it to major music festivals such as Coachella, Burning Man, Glastonbury, and the Reading and Leeds Festival.

The Guča Trumpet Festival presents original, rich and diverse programming of music and other arts. Its program includes concerts, art exhibitions, press conferences, meetings with musicians, book presentations and signings, brass band and trumpeter competitions, parades, and other exciting events and activities. It also hosts Balkan trumpet workshops during qualifications held before the main event and after the festival.

Each of the three days of the festival has its main highlight: Friday’s opening concert, Saturday night’s celebrations and Sunday’s competition. The final competition features about a dozen brass bands (a lot more apply to compete but are eliminated during the qualifying rounds). The winners receive special prizes such as the Golden Trumpet. In 2011, Serbian Romani trumpet player Boban Marković became the first contestant to get the highest mark from every jury member. After that he retired from competition and has only performed as a guest at every festival.

Guča Trumpet Festival

Photo: Sanne Aabjerg Kristiansen



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