SET YOUR HEART ON FIRE IN GUCA, SERBIAN WOODSTOCK
Every year in the first half of scorching August,Dragačevo and a little village of Guča host the unique Guca Trumpet Festival, famous for its electric atmosphere and spectacular performances of outstanding brass bends and orchestras.
ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
Founded in 1961 by a group of enthusiasts joined together around the idea of the promotion of the traditional Serbian trumpet sound, this ethnofestival has become a worldwide known brand and Serbian capitol of trumpet. From only four orchestras who competed for the prize of the best trumpet orchestra, The Golden Trumpet Award, today there are twenty ensembles competing for this prestigious prize in senior class and twenty more in young orchestras’ class. How popular this festival has become to be is proven by the fact that over the year there are about 2000 residents, while in the festival days this number rises to couple hundred thousands of visitors from country and abroad.
A shot from the saluting gun from the Trumpeter Monument, fired to the flourish of trumpets and the sounds of the festival anthem „From Ovčar and Kablar“ announce that the festival is officially opened.This ceremony is followed by the openings of the art exhibitions, press conference and other program activities which run to the evening when the former winners of the festival competition stage a concert at the Centre of Culture. For the next couple of days, the festival is a hive of activity and some that should not be missed are:
- competition of young brass bands,
- international competition of brass bands,
- the national costume contest, the toast-giving competition of „Zdravičari“,
- competition in traditional sports such as throwing rock from the shoulder,
- shooting an apple through a ring etc.
- festival parade
- improvisation concerts
- traditional Dragačevo wedding show
- concerts of traditonal folk music performers
- trumpet battle
Though traditionally the trumpeters blow the trumpets for the wakening call, nobody really sleeps. This round-the-clock feast is notorious for its music, and the partying all day and all night. The hosts take care of their visitors, so little taverns in the open are built to accommodate all the needs of guests. The rich menu offers traditional Serbian cuisine, different variants of ham, minced meat, prosciutto, cheese from Sjenica, and the commonly served drink is rakia. To bring the pleasure to its hedonistic perfection, belly dancers are hired to dance to the rhyhm of Guca trumpet. Usually, girls and women of all ages join them, dancing on the tables, while the male population, wearing traditional Serbian hat called „šajkača“ cheer in admiration followed by the orchestra playing at tables of anyone who calls them first.
The uniqueness of this festival lies in the power of emotions shared among the audience. It is wrong to say the audience, because the show is created by both people dancing and listening to the music of performers. The shrill blast of the trumpet, its blare, it all moves people and evokes happiness, sadness, nostalgia or lament. That feeling of sharing is what stays even after the festival is over.