Lay Down Arms and Play Music!

Spasskaya Tower International Military Music Festival

Russia's Honor Cavalry Escort performs in Moscow

Spasskaya Bashnya!

Today marks the third day of Russia’s Spasskaya Tower International Military Music Festival in Moscow (official festival website)

The festival, which began this past Saturday, will run until the 10th (Thursday). It will showcase 24 different bands and musical performances, including 16 units from Russia and performances from China, India, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, The United Kingdom, Finland and France.

Military music has become a unique part of Russian history, it first began when Ivan IV organized the Order of the Big Palace to oversee Russian military bands in 1547.

But aside from military music, the festival will showcase classical, folk and popular music acts. Mireille Mathieu, a famous French singer who is popular among Russians, performed at Monday’s closing ceremony and will appear throughout the festival. The Russian opera singer Anna Netrebko will also perform.
The festival looks like it will be a spectacle for both the eyes and ears. Held in the majestic Red Square, it will be the site of some of the best marching band performances this year I’m sure. I watched a video of a performance by the Central Military Band of Russian Ministry of Defense at the 2007 festival, and, aside from playing the music beautifully, the band’s formation is so astoundingly precise!

An American festival similar to the Spasskaya Tower is the Virginia International Tattoo in Norfolk, Virginia which began in 1997. It features musical units from the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. This year’s festival will be held April 30th through May 2nd.