Dragačevo trumpeters festival in Guča is a unique review of trumpet players creation and one of the most important manifestations of the overall national creativity and cultural amateurism in Serbia. It lasts continuously since 1961, when Guca festival was established with the aim to preserve and further develop art of trumpet players creation as a form of traditional folk art – posted as a national competition of Serbian brass bands.
A trumpet arrived to Dragačevo as a wartime musical instrument used in military battles for the freedom at the end of the XIX and at the beginning of the XX century, especially from Balkan and The first world war. Military trumpeters brought them home more like a memory of days spent in the army and on the war fields. The witnesses of these wartime days are numerous tombstones and roadside monuments which remember us on soldiers who died far away from home and who have unknown tombs. The oldest among them is one dedicated to Uroš Rakićević from Guberevci who participated in the Serbian-Turkish war from 1876 to 1878 as a military trumpeter, also one dedicated to Čedomir Nedović from Rtari, to Sreten Jerenić from Goračići, to Petar Davidović from Lisice and other trumpeters from the First World War.
Trumpeters noticed that people loved to listen the sounds of the trumpets and they started playing Serbian kolo dances and traditional love songs. At first they played with the existing band, and then they joined and started to make orchestras. Four trumpets and a drum. Five trumpets and a drum. Six trumpets and a drum. Bands were small in beginning but they did the job very well and managed to win hearts of people from Guča. Trumpet music replaced other kinds of traditional music successfully. The trumpets were no longer used as a wakening call or to sign time for taps, they did not play military marches and gave the sign for the assault , they started to be an unavoidable part of each celebration. In that way the military trumpets became more skilled and their music more calm. They entered into the soul of people. Without them Serbian songs couldn’t have been imagined. People of Dragačevo started calling musicians for all events as birth, departures or arrivals from the Army or some war, weddings, building houses, or other significant moments – even funerals. Serbian trumpet players from Guča has great songs and marches for funerals and they can make those moments sad in different way and much more tolerable.
Local fairs could not be imagined without trumpeters. People of Dragačevo were born with the sound of the trumpet, they have lived and died with that sound. Between two world wars in the several villages near Guča, there were about fifteen orchestras.
Among them the best band was one from the village of Mirosaljci. Their leader was the famous Dojčilo Djukić, the best trumpeter of the time.
His fame was heard up to Niš. The leaders of the kolo dance waited in lines for him to start playing on the fairs, and in the autumn the wedding were scheduled according to his schedule. The organization of Guča Festival was a result of the idea of young educated people of the time, dreamers, willing to break the monotony of life of a small place, far and deep into the country. Their spiritual and cultural needs were far above from the life they had which included temporary social-political actions and activities. Those young people were lucky because they came to an idea to organize such a unique event as the Trumpet Festival is.
Both these facts contributed to the fact that the Festival successfully cultivates the spirit of national wealth for 50 years.
The first Guča Festival was held on 14th October 1961 in Guča, on the day of the Shroud of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the churchyard. Four brass bands, all from Dragacevo took part in this competition. In addition to brass festival, there was organized the exhibition of local handicrafts and agricultural products, competition for the most beautiful national costumes, the all-round national sports tournament.
At the following festival, in 1962, there were also brass bands from Užice region, and 1963, from Eastern and South Serbia. In 1972, there were determinated qualifying centers for the areas of Eastern, Western, South Serbia and Dragačevo. Since 1997, there has also been organized the competition of youth bands. From 2010. the part of the festival program is also the international competition of brass bands.
Young boys and girls thought that this festival gave them a chance for the last meeting. The organizers of the Guca Festival believed that, this way, they would have audience for their program, as well. The day was sunny and warm. The interest of the people exceeded all expectations of organizers.
Then it broke the first Guca festival cannon, it was thrown the first stone by the competitors of the all-round sport national tournament, the first jumper in that competition jumped, cracked heroic bone of one of the wrestler, it was hit the first Festival apple “through the targeted ring, it was taken out, for the first time after the war from dusty chest and crates, old folk costume was displayed again.
Kolo dance, composed of both the young and old, was danced again at the Guca festival. There were showed again dancing skills and the beauty of costumes, the best were rewarded. In that occasion were opened several exhibitions of products of Dragačevo and handicraft products made by traditional craftsmen and artists, among these were products of loom weavers from Dragačevo as well.
Together with the increasing number of participants and trumpet players, the program of the festival became richer and better. In addition to events present from the first festival like the all round tournament and selection of the most beautiful national costumes, art exhibitions have been organized since 1970.
Several tents were erected under which was spreading a delicious fragrance of Dragačevo specialties as Wedding cabbage dish, boiled beans, barbecued meat, plumb brandy and hot corn bread with kajmak (milk cream cheese).