The Festival of the Bands was a lot cooler than it sounds. Well, it was to me. Today was the day that bands from all over the country came to compete here in Berlín. I’m not sure how many there were competing; I want to say something like 25 bands. Plus Berlín’s high school, boy’s school, and girl’s school bands were competing as well. I was in band in middle school and high school so I was excited to see the bands performing today.
Things were supposed to get started around 8am this morning which means that I got there a little after 9am. I told Kathy I’d scope it out. There wasn’t much going on yet when I arrived. Just a lot of people up on stage and someone talking. I ran into Pedro and asked him what was going on. He said they were “getting people bored.” That’s true. There’s always, always a lot of talk before events like this. And it’s usually not very interesting.
I walked a couple loops around the park and then I saw the mayor and the queens of various groups of Berlín processing toward the stage. A little ways ahead of them were the band and dancers from the public kindergarten of Berlin. They made their way up to the stage. The high school band, girl’s school band, and boy’s school band were lined up behind the performing area waiting to play.
I called Kathy to let her know what was going on. Turns out she was also at the park. We found each other and watched the bands approach the town square as we walked to the market. I liked all the different uniforms and instruments they had. Several of the schools had wind instruments in the band which I liked since I played clarinet and saxophone.
We stayed and watched for a little while. Kathy bought me a doughnut for breakfast. They were selling them at a stand set up in the park. It had chocolate frosting and sprinkles which is not something you can find in Berlín. The people running the stand had gone to a bigger city to the buy the food. I usually prefer to eat local, non-store made food when possible, but the doughnut looked really good.
Getting ready in the morning
Here come the kindergarteners
The kindergarten band
The mayor and the queens
The area where the bands would be performing
Sign for the Berlin high school band
Berlin high school band
Berlin girl's school band
Love the turquoise
Parading down the street
Here comes another band
I went back to the house with Kathy after enjoying my doughnut and watching a couple bands. Less than an hour later I was headed back out to the park with Alejandro to watch more bands. We did a couple loops around the park before watching anything. I’ve learned that this is a tradition, kind of like scooping the loop. Then we found a good location to watch the bands.
We were there for over an hour watching several bands. I liked looking at the uniforms of the bands. The ones with turquoise on them really stood out to me since I don’t think I’ve ever seen that color for band uniforms before. There was also a wide variety of instruments with some bands having only a few kinds of instruments and other having many different kinds. Some bands only had 20 people playing while others had almost 50 people.
One thing I found very interesting was the music. I heard one particular song played by five different bands. I recognized the song because it’s one that my school’s band plays. I’m actually singing it right now in my head. I guess it’s a popular song. I also heard Eminem’s song “Love the Way You Lie” played twice as well as a couple Lady Gaga songs. I never thought they could be made into marching band songs.
Most of the bands had cachiporras accompanying them. What is a cachiporra? Good question. I’m not entirely sure how to explain them. They are dancers that perform along with the band. I’d say they’re kind of a cross between high school color guard and cheerleaders. I think their main purpose is to wear revealing outfits and draw attention to the school they are representing. Most of the cachiporras I saw today had very short skirts and boots on. A couple of the outfits were strapless. I’m sure you can imagine what kind of attention they draw.
In the park
Cachiporras with peacock feathers
Getting ready for another band
Lots of people
Here's another group
Black and white band
Lined up down the street
Band from El Triunfo
The most conservative outfits I saw
Band from Jiquilisco
More interesting outfits
I like the hats
Coruna Marching Band
This band was huge and played really well
Looking up the street
After a while we headed back to the house, and just like last time I only stayed home a short while before going back to watch the bands. At 2:30pm I grabbed some lunch and went to find a place to stand. I watched as the last bands performed and then the awards were given out. There were several categories including marching band, Latin music band, and show band. I’m not exactly for sure who won what because the way they announced winners was really confusing. But they handed out a ton of trophies, set off a lot of cohetes, and shot confetti all over the place.
By the time I got home I realized that I’d spent most of the day watching the bands. But it was a fun day and I’m glad I had to time to see them.
All crowded around
Playing and dancing
Another small performance
At this point everyone had finished
Listening to the awards annoucements
It was a fun day