500,000 fans to attend brass band fest in Serbia

August 9th, 2011 - 12:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Belgrade, Aug 9 (IANS/AKI) About half a million fans from all over the world will attend the brass band festival that opened in the town of Guca in central Serbia Monday and will last until Sunday, organisers said.

The festival, which marks its 51st anniversary this year, was opened by Russian Ambassador to Belgrade Aleksandar Konuzin who raised the festival flag, accompanied by sounds of trumpets and traditional shooting in the air from surrounding hills.

Russia is a longstanding ally of Serbia and Konuzin said the festival was not only a Serbian but also a Slavic and world cultural event that celebrated the joy of living.

“The life of Serbs isn’t easy,” Konuzin said, referring to 1990s bloody civil war in the former Yugoslavia and years of international sanctions.

“But the current difficulties can’t prevent this celebration of Serbia, its character and culture,” Konuzin said.

Milenko Kostic, a member of the festival’s organising committee, said 47 orchestras from Serbia and nine from abroad will compete for the “First trumpet of Guca” this year.

Some 500,000 visitors were expected over the next seven days, which Kostic described as an “opportunity to forget the passing of life”.

The festival is accompanied by art exhibitions, cultural events and exhibits of Serbian hand crafts, home food and drinks. The visitors will consume thousands of roast pigs and lambs and hundreds of litres of beer, wine and the Serbian plum brandy sljivovica, according to organisers.

Visitors come from as far as Australia, South America, the US, Israel, Congo and numerous European countries.

Organisers said the festival has in the past fifty years drawn over 15 million people to Guca a town of only 2,500 people, and the number of visitors is continuing to grow.

–IANS/AKI
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