Every July, the three-day Blasius Festival in Fremdingen brings people of all ages together to dance. Blasius offers a wide array of brass band music: as well as polkas, waltzes and marches, you are equally likely to hear brass crossover with club music, electro, dance and hip-hop
The brass maker
15th to 18th July 2021 in Fremdingen in the district Donau-Ries/Franconia, nearby Dinkelsbühl Trombones, clarinets or trumpets – instruments wherever you look. Around 1,000 visitors to the BLASIUS brass band music festival in Fremdingen in the Swabian district of Donau-Ries are gathered in front of the stage. They hold their instruments in their hands. The conductor stands on the stage and lifts his baton. He gives the upbeat.
The Community Ensemble makes music together
The participants were sent the music with their tickets so they could learn it in advance. Without ever having played together before, a thousand amateur musicians in the so-called Community Ensemble play the BLASIUS March – an arrangement specially composed for the festival. The odd wrong note goes unnoticed and the overall effect is astonishingly harmonious.
From the march through to electro and hip hop
“People play music 24 hours a day.”
The moderators Daniela Lauter and Bernhard Reichherzer stand near the stage and watch this huge brass band. They are both members of the Musikverein 1871 Fremdingen e.V and part of the organising team behind the festival. They are thrilled to see that their audience is so musical. And back in the campsite the festival-goers continue to play their instruments. “People play music 24 hours a day,” exclaims Bernhard Reichherzer with delight.
At BLASIUS, participants don’t just get to listen to traditional brass band music such as polkas and marches, but also crossover music featuring club music, electro, dance and hip-hop. The priority for the organisers is that at least one wind instrument is involved. “The later the evening, the more party-like the music,” laughs Daniela Lauter.
How BLASIUS came about in a field in the forest
The festival was the brainchild of some members of the Musikverein 1871 Fremdingen e.V. back in 2015. “It was actually an idea that came to us late at night after a few drinks,” explains Bernhard Reichherzer with a grin. It took them a year to find a suitable site, research the experiences of other festival organisers and approach bands. They ran a feasibility study and got the committee on board.
After all, it’s not all that easy to set up a festival in the middle of a forest – in a simple field. The biggest challenge was the lack of a water supply. The solution was to run a 1.5 km long water pipe through the trees. The waste water goes into slurry tankers and is transported to the treatment plant by tractor.
A brass band music festival for the whole family
Around 60 members of the Musikverein 1871 Fremdingen e.V. spent a year preparing for the festival on a voluntary basis. In 2018 BLASIUS was attended by around 1,800 people. As well as the music there are other attractions including a pool, a boat swing and a shooting range. A lot of older people, many of them in traditional costume, spend the day in a specially constructed Biergarten.
Darkness starts to fall. Daniela Lauter stands on the illuminated stage and raises her voice to introduce the next band: “Let’s hear it for the Fexer!” The crowd roar with delight. Everyone from the age of 18 to 50 plus sways, bops and jumps about in time with the beat. “It’s always peaceful, nobody shoves anyone else,” says Bernhard Reichherzer. He gets goosebumps when he sees hundreds of people having fun in front of the stage and enjoying the brass band music. At times like this he knows that all the hard work has been worth it.
More information about the festival at blasius.online (only in German)
... from Daniela und Bernhard
In our homeland Donau-Ries there are many places of interest. About 20 kilometers away from Fremdingen you will find the Ofnethöhlen. These are natural karst caves, i.e. caves that were formed by the dissolution of limestone. In them, researchers have found remains of bones and teeth of animals from the Ice Age - for example, wild horses, rhinos or mammoths. A very exciting journey through time!
ferienland-donau-ries.de (only in German)
On the Urlas
Around Fremdingen there is a large forest area. There you can have a great walk. In the forest rises the Urlas, a 532 meter high mountain. I like to go up there and enjoy the peace and quiet. It's wonderful to feel nature up close in the Donau-Ries.