Spasskaya Bashnya: An Event to Remember

This is an article about my experience attending Spasskaya Bashnya annual festival on the Red Square.

Spasskaya Bashnya: An Event to Remember

Photo by Bayan Abzakh

Somewhere around the end of August, wandering around Moscow's center, I noticed big signs and big bleachers on the red square. I went up to the policeman standing nearby and asked curiously what this was all about. He told me it was the “Spasskaya Bashnya” festival, and that I could still attend during that week. I rushed back to my dorm in a hurry, looked up the festival, bought a ticket, and two days later, I was on my way to the red square.

Every year, the military musical festival Spasskaya Bashnya, in reference to Spasskaya Tower, is held on the Red Square. This festival is dedicated to showcasing amazing spectacles and performances from both Russian and international military bands and folk groups with vivid colors, and lively music, making for unforgettable events.

So on the warm evening of August 29th, 2022, I headed to the Red Square to be faced with crowds of people and a huge stage centered on the square. I charged to my seat and a minute later, at 8 pm sharp, the clock rang as a stern voice made an announcement:  “Attention! Moscow speaks and shows! Listen to and look at the red square”.

When the show began, rows were completely filled with crowds clapping unanimously with the music, the Saint Basil cathedral glowing with various different colors while different orchestras came and went. As for me, I was in my seat, in awe of what I’m seeing, and filled with excitement as fireworks went off every now and then.

As for international guests, I would like to start my remarks talking about the Egyptian military symphony orchestra. They showed up in theatrical-looking outfits of pharaohs, with the eye of Horus drawn on their chests. In a proud representation of their ancestors, they dragged the ancient cart across the square, followed by performing a composition of the “Izis chant”.

Attention! Moscow speaks and shows! Listen to and look at the Red Square.

Remarked as an award winning orchestra in Egypt, the Egyptian military symphony orchestra accompanies on a regular basis high profile national events nationally, thus deserving their spot as third time participants in Spasskaya Bashnya festival [1].

The Panghat Art Collective of India’s [2] performance was pretty eye-catching to me; it was filled with all sorts of colorful lights and outfits that complimented their dancing and singing of traditional folk and ritual music from all over India. To me, it almost felt as if I were watching a movie. 

I was very impressed by the Boonwattana School Marching Band performance, because of how young the performers were. Compared to all the other participants that belonged to military orchestras, these were gifted school children. I was particularly fascinated by the degree of professionalism and expression they displayed in their performances. They all showed a high level of discipline; commitment, teamwork, and most importantly were able to put on an amazing show.

Not to forget about the Orchestra of the Armed Forces of Venezuela! Coming with the usual Latino enthusiasm and life, the singers and musicians came together to put on an amazing performance, giving off the warm summer breeze feeling of Venezuela in the center of Moscow. I think everyone had a blast watching them, myself included.         

As for Russian contributions, there were so many, and I genuinely enjoyed them all, however, I can’t help but point out the Russian Central Border Ensemble’s segment. The performance was simply stunning. It combined elements of everything ranging from singing and dancing, to fire and fireworks. I enjoyed the harmonious singing and the high-spirited, enthusiastic attitudes. I have honestly never expected military performers to be this fun. I absolutely loved it.

At the end of the show, all the participants came together for one last performance on the square, playing various compositions including one of “Katyusha”, and then beautiful fireworks went off behind Saint Basil’s cathedral making for a fascinating view, followed by the cheers of the audience to an evening well spent. While we were making our way out the bleachers, some ensembles were playing their ways to their tents followed by some remnants of the crowd, howling and cheering. As I walked behind them, someone must’ve accidentally dropped their music score, so I picked it up and kept it as a memory in my wallet.

I had a particularly good summer that year, and I had to choose the one last thing I wanted to end that beautiful summer with, so I could be ready for a new academic year, and all the challenges it may present me with. I think I made the correct choice. 



Visited by

Bayan Abzakh