Every two years since 1965, the City of Kaiserslautern and Allied Component Command-Air Headquarters Ramstein jointly organize the NATO Music Festival which lures locals and distant visitors alike. The event takes place June 2 at the Fritz-Walter soccer stadium in Kaiserslautern.
***image1***Music across the borders – this could be the motto of the long tradition of NATO Music Festivals; after all, military bands from more than 20 nations have performed during the past 19 events.
“The program military bands will present for the 20th festival is a spectacular mix,” said Lt. Col. Meinrad Angermayer from the CC-Air Ramstein Public Information Office. NATO members Romania, Germany, France, Denmark and the Czech Republic will be joined by Liechtenstein as the guest nation sending its representative orchestra. The U.S. will also be represented.
“For the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band, stationed in Sembach, the event on the Betzenberg is what you could call a home game,” said Colonel Angermayer.
Like during the last festival, Soldiers of the Bundeswehr Guard Battalion are going to present their drill skills.
Military music has always aspired to be a sonic expression of the armed forces’ self-image; it has come to play a part in the cultural lives of almost all countries, serving as an important link between the forces and the population.
***image2***Forty years of NATO Music Festival at Kaiserslautern have been tremendously successful in underlining this claim.
The thrilling and foot-tapping atmosphere of the festival owes much to the representative uniforms on display and to the military precision of the musical performance, which is not limited to classical military marches. In fact, each participating band will present its country’s very typical musical characteristics.
Different national mentalities and features, as well as the style and quality of each conductor, very much determine the bands’ performances. The combination of instruments also reflects national traditions, meaning that besides smart Prussian parade marches, 42 years of festival history have also included Scottish bagpipes, Turkish Janissary music, Swiss alphorns and Greek shawms.
The NATO Music Festivals have been a financial success, too. Military musicians have raised more than €500,000 so far for social and charitable purposes. The net proceeds of the 2001 festival, amounting to €52,000, were used to establish the NATO Music Festival Foundation.
This year, the goal is to supplement the foundation capital with proceeds raised by the musicians, who forgo their fees, and from ticket sales.
Tickets are on sale at the Tourist Information office at Fruchthallstrasse (phone 0631-365-2316 or 2317) and at all Ticket-Online booking offices (ticket hotline: 01805-4470; Internet: www.ticketonline.de). Prices range from €14 to €22 if booked in advance, and from €16 to €24 at the door. Special prices are available among others for wheelchair users.
For details, visit www.kaiserslautern.de.
(Courtesy of CC-Air HQ Ramstein)