One of the aspect of BREfest is entertainment, so music was a big part of the whole event. It turned out that many of the volunteers had played an instrument before – from guitar to goblet drum (tarabuka). Some of the people had many years of experience and some only several hours. But that didn’t stop us from bringing that good vibe that music transmits to the festival.
Fortunately many musical instruments were available during those 3 days. However, we created even more. Before the festival we had the genius idea to make musical instruments from trash. We started this project because we wanted to present the idea of reusing already used materials. This action saves the environment and also people’s bank accounts. This not only promoted the idea of upcycling but it added additional instruments to our collection.
We managed to craft 3 drums of different sizes, several marakasi and musical bottles. Surprisingly they were used most of the time during our jam sessions. These sessions were a collaboration of teaching, learning and having fun. Teaching was done by those who knew how to play a given instrument. A lot of the people were interested in learning, so apart from the jamming there were a lot of improvised musical workshops.
As you walk past lonely instruments you are tempted to pick one up and start playing. Believe me, the festival’s atmosphere is just perfect for that. As you are playing on your own someone is drawn to you and sits closely to listen to the music. After a while this person is inspired to pick up an instrument and join the co-creation. Now there are 2 people playing. As the time passes more people join and a big spontaneous band is formed. This is exactly what happened every time. With each jam session we created unique songs that were different from one another.
During the festival a lot of people took part in our jamming. Capoeira was on the festival’s program. As a Brazilian philosophy which combines martial art, dance, music and connection to Earth, the Capoeira Angola Belgrado group brought typical South American instruments. We didn’t miss the chance to explore their sound and invite the musicians to join our jam sessions.
Every passing day brought different kinds of people, luckily, with different kinds of instruments. There was one magical moment when a guy with a pipe appeared from nowhere (well, to be honest he came from the side of Sharr mountain – from Macedonia :)). He started playing with us and it was the cherry on top of the cake. It fit perfectly with our made up masterpiece. It added a Balkan tone to our song. Local folklore musicians from Strpce also joined the jam on the easy going Sunday.
Improvised music wasn’t the only thing we listened to. Every evening during the festival we had a musical program. The concerts happened at the BREfest open-air-under-the-stars-next-to-the-fire stage in the ski resort. It was the perfect place for enjoying the music and dancing. We even lit fires close to the stage which added to the mood. With all this musical diversity our ears and souls were satisfied in every possible way.
And let me be clear BREfest is not only about music. It also had different art aspects which are out of the scope of this article, but if you search around GAIA’s website you will get just a little bit of the atmosphere.