Mezinárodní Dudácký Festivalu 2012-International Festival dudáckého – International Bagpipe Festival 2012
When: Late August, every two years(August 23 – 26 2012)
Where: Strakonice, Pisecko, South Bohemia, Czech Republic
Bagpipes may be closely associated with the Celtic culture, but there are rich ethnic varieties of ‘dudy’ (Czech for bagpipe) in Bohemia and surrounds, and apparently, around the world. Strakonice is the heart of ‘dudy’piping. The Czech actually had army pipers until the First World War.
In the 1920s, the piping tradition continued with competitions between Scottish and Czech pipers, and a Pilsner (from Plzen, Czech) was crowned “King of the Pipers of the World.”
This tradition has been mostly marginalized, but on the occasion of Strakonice’s 600th birthday in 1967, the art of bagpipe blowing was renewed. Since then, it has been recognized by UNESCO for its contribution to world cultural heritage.
About the Event:
The Mezinárodní Dudácký Festivalu (International Bagpipe Festival) is a biennial celebration of all things ‘dudy.’ Aficionados of this musical instrument flock to the small Bohemian town of Strakonice in late August every two years (the last festival was in 2010). The bagpipes are paraded around town and back to the Strakonice Castle.
This year, the festival is slated on August 23 – 26.
Scots may find bagpipe blowing in this part of Europe interesting if not altogether eyebrow-raising. Enthusiastic bagpipe musicians, accompanied by dancers clad in traditional Czech costume, toot and pause on their 1-kilometer journey to the castle. There may not be much opportunity for wanton dancing, as Czech traditional dance is more of a high-speed variety, and not boisterous and wild like the Brazilians. But there surely is a 4-day listening marathon to all forms of ‘tooting the horn.’
Most of the events take place in the 16th century castle where indigenous ‘dudy’ are on display. There are hundreds of bagpipes on display in the castle museum, and a variety of them are played during the four-day festivities.
Bag pipe musicians flock to this quaint Bohemian town by the hundreds. The Mezinárodní Dudácký Festivalu (International Bagpipe Festival) opens up opportunities for bagpipers from all over the world to showcase their piping traditions. The festival is easily one of the biggest events of its kind. This year, bands from 14 countries will perform, and 900 musicians are expected to attend as well.
Some performances include mainstream Austrian bands while others welcome exotic acts from as far as Turkey.
Unlike the Scottish bagpipes (which could really be loud), the Czech variety has low volume. In the past, these bagpipes have been used as folkloric instruments.
The backdrop of the festivities is a quaint 16th century castle, but nearby, there is also another fairytale setting world-renowned for its baroque chateau – Cesky Krumlov.
The Mezinárodní Dudácký Festivalu (International Bagpipe Festival) may not be for every music enthusiast, but travelers who come with an open mind learn to love the sound of bagpipe music and may even start collecting one.