Accepted Paper:

All roads lead to Guča: modes of representing Serbia and Serbs during the Guča Trumpet Festival  


Marija Krstic

Paper short abstract:

In this paper I research identity politics of one of the largest music festivals in Serbia, the Dragačevo Trumpet Festival.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I research famous Serbian music event, the Dragačevo Trumpet Festival, better known after its host village, Guča, where it is annually held from 1961. This trumpet festival, with its folk and Serbian tradition pattern, offers an insight into understanding national identity practices of the 21st century Serbia. In the context of wider understandings of nation and state creation processes, the festival represents a unique meeting point of different cultural strategies, political options, and national identity performances. Taking into account that Serbia is "on its way" to the European Union, this folk festival re-enacts nation-building practices well known throughout Europe in the 19th century. The dominants style of imagining nation in Serbia is marked by a union between rural, folk and nationalist tendencies and conversely, urban, modern and European tendencies. Thus the festival presents its folkness as an attraction connected with the inflow of the younger generation from the West. I draw on a wide range of sources from history, sociology and social anthropology. In addition, in my research I also use photographs available on one of the Guča websites,, in order to question how the festival's photographs visually represent the Serbs? The main goal of the paper is to explain and show how Guča festival found its place in modern Serbia in spite of its rural, folk, barbarian and sometimes nationalist representation.

Panel P323
Spaces, memories, history, identity