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Spasskaya Tower Festival: Let the Bands Play On!

The Spasskaya Tower Festival is one of the capital's most spectacular events. Spasskaya Tower Festival

For the next two weeks, forget dashing onto Red Square in the evening to snap a photo of St. Basil’s lit by moonlight. From Aug. 26 through Sept. 3, the country’s main square will be taken over by the annual Spasskaya Tower International Military Music Festival. This grand festival welcomes some of the best performing groups in uniform from Russia and around the world. This year 24 ensembles will perform. In addition to the best Russian military bands and honor guards, there will be drummers, bands, dancers, riders and martial arts specialists from as far away as Egypt, Israel, India, Turkey and China, and as close to home as Armenia and Kazakhstan.

Red Square will have a Children’s Town with seven different areas for various kinds of activities, from quests to master classes. They will welcome little folks every day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and again from 6 to 8 p.m.

Another part of the square will be designated as the Manege. Here you can watch — and gasp at — a special horse riding program. There will be more than 20 events with no less than 40 horses and 50 riders in each event. Think: insanely skilled riders standing on the backs of two horses in a team of four, going full speed across the cobblestones of Red Square while jumping over fire. Amazing.

But the main event is in the evening: all these spiffy ensembles is colorful uniforms, playing, dancing, marching, twirling, prancing, piping, and drumming their way across the square.

For more detailed information about the performances, ensembles and schedule, see the Spasskaya Tower site in English and Russian. Tickets for the band performances start at 1,000 and should be purchased online ahead of time.  

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