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Guggenmusik is something very new to this country,  perhaps we should start by explaining a little about it.

What is Guggenmusik?

Guggenmusik translates as Happy music and certainly seems to bring the best out of both those who perform it and those who are entertained by it. The bands are generally about 40 strong and combine large percussion sections of bass drums and trolley mounted kit drums with even larger brass sections of trumpets, trombones, euphoniums and sousaphones. The music they play is mostly popular music (chart hits etc) but the performance is as much about visual impact as it is about the sound. The first thing that catches the eye is the colourful costumes influenced by the traditions of Carnival, often with masks and a political or topical theme. Originally associated with Winter Carnivals, as Guggenmusik has evolved it has taken on it’s own life and has become a focal point of Carnivals with bands taking centre stage and performing well polished ‘concerts’ for their audiences. Guggenmusik bands of today give concerts that are not far removed from rock concerts with all the passion, enthusiasm, and spectacle that goes with them, not to mention their own fans that follow them around.

Where did it start?

For centuries there has been a tradition of groups of drummers parading through the streets of Swiss towns and cities in the week before Shrove Tuesday to frighten away the Spirits of Winter (a festival known as Fasnacht). In 1948, in Basle, the first Guggenmusik was formed combining brass instruments with the drums. Basic, discordant tunes were played by the early masked and exotically dressed Guggenmusik bands, barely heard over the heavy pounding of the drummers. The following year Lucerne heard it’s first Guggenmusik and since then it has grown to the point that there are now around 100 bands playing in Lucerne’s Fasnacht alone (and they are all from Lucerne or the surrounding area!), it has spread right across Switzerland and has found a second home in Germany. There are now few European countries without a Guggenmusik.

How did it arrive in this Country?

In 1986 a Bournemouth based band took part in Lucerne’s Fasnacht as part of the twinning of these two towns. Guggenmusik was something of a culture shock to most of its members, but to one young man it was love at first sight (so to speak). From that time on the bands sound was influenced by Guggenmusik, but they had their own identity and it became clear that for Guggenmusik to be established in this country, a band dedicated to this style would have to be formed.

On 22 November 1998 the first ever rehearsal of a British Guggenmusik took place, the band was to become known as ‘Gugge 2000’ and the rest, as they say, is history.

If you wish to know more about Guggenmusik, want to see it again, or would like to be a part of it, then please contact us, we will be only too pleased to encourage your interest.


David Brewer

Gugge 2000 Founder and Musical Director




GUGGE 2000 - The First Guggenmusik Band in the UK | New Forest Accommodation