The Marching Bands Festival of Cortina

Ra Fèŝta de ra Bàndes is the soul of a town in celebration! It is an event dedicated to music, folklore and fun. A week of concerts, which ends on the last Sunday of August.

Introduction

The Marching Bands Festival of Cortina is also known as "Ra Fèŝta de ra Bàndes" in the local dialect or "Festa Delle Bande" in Italian. It is a week of festivities and music where, each evening, there is an open-air concert, played by different music bands from the area. The event ends on the last Sunday of August with a day of festivities in which all the marching bands parade down Corso Italia. At the end of the marching band's parade, there's a big concert where all the participants play together. The festivities go on into the evening.

Cortina's Music Band Parades at the Festival of the Marching Bands

The event

"Ra Fèŝta de ra Bàndes," was created on 1977, thanks to the work of the Music Maestro Renato Sartor and the President of the Music Band Osvaldo Majoni.

Initially, the festival was held outdoors, but in 1984, the "Shell" Pavilion was built. It is a retractable stage, located under the bell tower, which was strongly desired by the Cortina Music Band and will become the focal point of the Festival of Bands and many other events.

The soul of a town in celebration

The "Festa Delle Bande" is a free event that has taken place during the last week of August for many years with a refined and tested formula that unfolds as follows:

As you may have guessed, the climax of the festival is the last Sunday in August, when music bands and folk groups take over the historic center of Cortina with concerts, parades, carousels and folk traditions, all flavored with lots of music. A day of traditions, merriment and color, which we recommend attending at least once in a lifetime.

The final concert in Roma Square

Throughout the event, kiosks will be working at full capacity to cheer guests with snacks and refreshing drinks. Drink and eat without remorse, all money raised during the "Festa delle Bande" are used to support the Cortina Music Band, the workers are volunteers without compensation.

The kiosk at the Cortina Bands festival

Alternatively, you can refresh yourself or have something to eat at one of the many bars in the center of Cortina. Some of them may hold side events. If you have never been to Cortina and you want to know more about the town center, we invite you to read the page we wrote on the subject, where you'll also find some insights on what to eat and where to go for a drink. You can find it below:

What to see in Corso Italia in Cortina
What to see in Corso Italia All the buildings and points of interest in the pedestrian area of Cortina d'Ampezzo. Reading time: 17 min

To help you find your way around the various concerts available, there are some flyers throughout the town. You can find them at the info point in the center , in most of the shops, and in the section about the parade on the official website of the Cortina Music Band . This link will take you to the right section, but you'll need something to translate.

Relaxed music players with tracht, traditional dress

As you may read on the website, there are many more activities organized on Sunday than those listed on this page. Given that they vary from year to year, we encourage you to read the updated program.

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The Music Band of Cortina

The Cortina music band was born over a hundred and fifty years ago. In 1861, a headquarters, regulations, and name were given to the small village fanfare: the Musical Corps of Cortina d'Ampezzo.

Cortina d'Ampezzo music corps on parade

Over the years, many Masters and many Presidents followed one another, but it was in 1977 that the Cortina Music Band acquired the identity we know today, with the traditional Ampezzo dress inspired by the models of the mid-eighteenth century.

The female players of the Cortina Banda

The Cortina d'Ampezzo Music Corps perform concerts, parades, and other activities both to promote musical culture in the town and to bring young people closer to music and Ampezzo traditions. All these activities reach their climax during the "Fèŝta de ra Bàndes," as we mentioned earlier.

A detail of a trombone at the Cortina Festival of Music Bands

The activities of the Cortina d'Ampezzo Music Corps are not limited to local events. Its members participate in approximately one hundred and fifty annual services in Italy, and abroad. The number counts rehearsals, concerts and musical and folkloric events.

Cortina music corps parades from the back

The Cortina d'Ampezzo Music Band counts as many as 66 elements, not counting the dealer and flag bearer who open the parade, followed by the female companions in costume, the beautiful "marketenderin."

Markatenderins at the Cortina band festival

As you may have guessed, this is an association that has a strong sentimental value for the people of Cortina. Many residents are happy to have a few occasions in which to proudly wear the splendid traditional dress, supporting an association that also brings prestige outside the Ampezzo area.

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The traditional outfit

During the Marching Bands Festival, you can see, even among the audience, many women dressed in traditional Tyrolean dress, called Dirndl, consisting of a colorful skirt and apron, paired with a white blouse.

There is also a male variant, consisting of short leather pants called "Lederhosen," paired with a small checkered shirt, usually white and red.

A group of tourists wearing lederhosen

These outfits are also usually used during certain tradition-related events in the territories of Austria, Bavaria, and Tyrol, to which Cortina has belonged for hundreds of years.

Girls in typical Ampezzo dress

Although Tyrolean culture has never particularly been felt on in Ampezzo, the costume has been quite successful, to the point that tourists and residents like to wear "Dirndl," and "Lederhosen" at some Ampezzo events, such as the Summer Party or the "Festa delle Bande."

When it comes to costumes, however, we must not confuse traditionally inspired outfits, which are used by sympathizers, from traditional ones, with a real historical value.

Tyrolean musicians in tracht

Usually modern Dirndl have very bright colors and are quite simple, created to be used only for one day and made to be comfortable. The same goes for Lederhosen, where the more modern models are softer and made of suede or artificially aged leather.

The outfits worn by some groups, such as the Band of Cortina, many of the Tyrolean music bands, or the "Scizar de Anpezo" are called Tracht and are uniforms of great traditional value, with a centuries-old history and a very precise code for both color matching and choice of accessories.

Musicians in Tracht

Usually these dresses, which are not very comfortable to wear, are made of wool and thick leather, with bone buttons and hand-sewn decorations. The colors are very simple, in pastel or natural hues.

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Curiosities

Before we conclude, we want to leave you with some interesting facts about the Cortina Marching Bands Festival, in no particular order.

Volunteers with traditional dress in a Jeep

The event has a large number of supporters, one of them is the famous Denis Novato. He is a virtuoso of the diatonic accordion, he has also been the world champion of accordion in 1993 and he has also 25 victories in several international competitions. We invite you to watch the program to find out if a concert by him is scheduled, it is worth going to listen to him.

... try to listen to Denis Novato, if he is present, it is really worth it...

If you are approached by nice girls with a small barrel over their shoulder, they are volunteers of the Music Band of Cortina. They sell a small glass of liquor, upon payment of a small contribution, often with a free offer. It is usually a sweet drink, not too alcoholic, and this is certainly a very characteristic and fun way to enjoy a sip of Schnapps in Corso Italia.

... it is an alternative way to have a sip of liquor in the town center...

If you see a group near the kiosk yelling and laughing as they try to hammer a nail into a block of wood, you are watching the game of "peta ciodo," which translates as "hit the nail." We don't know the exact origin of this game, but it's a lot of fun. It's about being able to hammer a nail into the block before your opponents. You have only one hit, then you have to pass it on to the person next to you. It may seem pretty trivial, but the hammer is hollow in the center; it's less easy than you may think. There are many variations of the game; if you decide to participate, ask those present for the rules, and do not forget that, usually, the loser pays a round of beer for all the other players.

Conclusion

We hope you liked this page on the "Festa delle Bande" of Cortina d'Ampezzo, also known as "Fèŝta de ra Bàndes." Before saying goodbye, we would suggest you read our home page, with all the articles we wrote about Cortina d'AmpezzoInternal link .

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