(14th October 1961) “What happened afterwards was the Dragačevo Trumpet Festival in Guča, the Festival of Festivals “.
Following the preparations, on the religious feast of the Mother of God on 14th October 1961, the first Dragačevo Trumpet Festival was held in the yard of the church of Saint Archangel Gabriel. Until 1971, the event was officially called ‘The Dragečevo Fair of the Village Trumpet-players of Serbia’. What happened that Saturday was the first step into a future cultural phenomenon, which would in the years to come define the worldwide perception of not only Dragačevo, but the whole of Serbia.
The “Čačanski glas“ weekly, one of the founders of the Festival reported on the opening ceremony of the competition programme, in an article written by Milan Đoković: “The competition programme was a truly wonderful experience... the song “Sa Ovčara i Kablara“ has become the Festival anthem, and was played on the ceremonially decorated stage by all of the participating orchestras, generating a unique emotional moment and filling the eyes of many spectators with tears of joy. A truly magnificent and memorable scene…“ The welcome speech on this occasion was delivered by Vlastimir – Lale Vujović, president of the first Festival Board of Organisers, who also opened the Festivals on several other occasions – in 1963 and 1964, as well as in 1985.
There were four orchestras that took part in the competition in the first Festival, all four from the nearby villages of Dragačevo: the Desimir Perišić orchestra from Goračići, the Dragiša Kovačević from Grab, the Dragan Jovanović orchestra from Dljin, as well as the Srećko Obradović orchestra from Rti. The competition was supervised by the expert jury including Miodrag Vasiljević, professor from the Music Academy in Belgrade, Dragoslav Dević, music expert from Belgrade, Branko V. Radičević, writer from Belgrade, Nikola Kolaković, folk singer from Belgrade and Vlastimir – Lale Vujović, president of the Festival Board. The jury proclaimed Desimir Perišić as the best trumpet player of the Festival, whereas the title of the best orchestra was awarded to the band from Dljin. It is interesting to note that only three of the players who took part in this first contest are still alive today – Tomo Alempijević andi Nedeljko and Dragan Jovanović, all from Dljin. The performance was directed by Vladimir Atanacković from Belgrade and the announcer was Radoslav Protić from Guča. The traditional ‘kolo’ dance performed by the elders from Kotraža, Gornji and Donji Dubac was noted for the highly decorative style of performance, headed by Krstomir Sretenović from Rti, bearer of the Karađorđe Star, who at the age of 73 was still an outstanding marksman and the first to shoot the apple posted on a high branch in a tree. The winner of the stone-throwing contest was Milan Dobrosavljević from Kotraža, whereas the wrestling competition was dominated by Milinko Pajović from Turica.
The exhibition of embroidery and knitted items was one of the Festival’s most beautiful sights, and the winners of the contest for the most beautiful traditional costume were Milka Protić, Branko Zoćević, Natalija Đurović from Guča and Miljko Ocokoljić from Lisa. A mandatory component of the programme were the exhibitions of the agricultural produce and cattle, and a separate presentation of the Industrial Enterprise “Guča“ (in the popular “Dačo Inn“). The hand-made items produced by the Dragačevo Women’s Club from Donji Dubac were regularly presented at all subsequent Festivals (1961 – 2010).
It goes without saying, however, that the biggest excitement was generated by the trumpet-playing competition. It was a performance to remember, and it was accompanied by a special culinary offer of local Dragačevo specialities, which were served in two marquees – one held by Dragoljub Milivojević from Kotraža, and the other, by Miša Mijatović from Viča. A portable distilling device for brandy – popularly known as the brandy cauldron was installed at the church yard, where the visitors were offered a glass of this local speciality. The Festival’s organiser was the Cultural and Education Community of the Guča Municipality, and the awards were provided by the ‘Duga’ magazine from Belgrade, which awarded a trumpet to the best player (this tradition was maintained until 1968), as well as the ‘Čačanski glas’ weekly from Čačak, STV Partizan and the Cultural and Educational Community of Guča. The first Festival was a huge success, and it was very well covered by the media. A documentary film about the first Trumpet Festival titled ‘The First Trumpet of Dragačevo’ was directed by Mladomir Puriša Đorđević. The film was screened internationally and received awards and recognitions. The tradition of documentaries about the Festival was later continued by some of the famous national and international directors, including Emir Kusturica, Živojin Pavlović, Krsto Škanata, Kamenko Kaluđerčić, Žorž Skrigin, Pjer Nikolić, Dušan Milić…
The first event is always a memorable experience, something to remember and remind oneself of... each final competition of the trumpet bands from Serbia, accompanied with the cannons from the surrounding hills, starts with 200 trumpets joining in the Festival anthem ‘Sa Ovčara i Kablara…’ and ends with the ‘Marš on Drina’ march song. Ever since the first festival, the local population of Dragačevo and especially the townsfolk of Guča, show their appreciation for the immeasurable value of the Festival by standing up to the sound of the trumpet and writing the name of this instrument with a capital ‘T’, just like they use the capital ‘L’ to write the word ‘Love’.
A DAY TO REMEMBER
(Opening of the first festival)
Carefully choosing the words to his speech, President of the Organisational Board Vlastimir Lale Vujović opened the competition on 14th October:
Dear guests, on behalf of the Cultural and Educational Community and other organisers of our Dragačevo Festival, I would like to wish you a warmest welcome and a very nice stay here, between the old and new Dragačevo. Here, it is not possible to announce any beginning, since this has already been done, either by a guest or the organiser. It goes without saying that nobody knows who made the announcement, since what you see here, and what you hear here is all part of the Festival, and the participants in the Festival are both you as the guests and us as the organisers. You have an opportunity though to see Dragačevo as it once was in the times of liberation wars against the Turks, when battles were fought here in which Prota Gučanin, Vujo Belokamenac, duke Milić Radović and many others took part. Those times are not far away from and are reminiscent of the great battle of Kosovo, where 400 men from Dragačevo sacrificed their lives. You can also see the new Dragačevo, which in 1941 gave the largest and one of the finest Partisan battalions, with four national heroes and a number of comrades who took part in the famous battle of Trešnjica. This is the Dragačevo that stayed true to the ideals of the National Liberation Movement throughout the war and despite the horrible terror sawn by the enemy. Here you can see the new Dragačevo which in the last 15 years relied on its own resources and built 15 new schools, 11 cooperative homes, 110 kilometres of new quality roads, lines of electrification... Although it was planned to bring together the old and the new, to see the point where we started as well as where we stand nowadays, it is our intention to contribute to the further economic development by making this Festival a tradition... we would like to thank the editors of the “Duga“ magazine, the “Čačanski glas“ weekly, our National Radio and Television, the Cultural and Educational Community of the Čačak municipality and all the others who have helped us“.
After the speech and the third cannon, the old album of folklore and tradition was opened. What happened afterwards was the Dragačevo Trumpet Festival in Guča, the Festival of Festivals “.