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Strafiato – Urban Brass Festival (2019)

How do trumpets, trombones and drums sound when the brass band music returns from the valleys to the city? Can anarchisticly organized music groove? How do you dance to 7/8 time?

On the occasion of their 5-year anniversary, the Innsbruck music collective "Streetnoise Orchestra" will answer these questions together with 120 invited musicians this weekend at the Urban Brass Festival "Strafiato". Strafiato is an Italian neologism that means overblown or exaggerated.

Strafiato word black

The name is not accidental: the Italian banda aperta ("open bands") were and are an inspiration for the StreetNoise Orchestra's commitment in Innsbruck and throughout Europe: with their commitment to socio-political, civil society, and cultural issues, they demonstrate how art and democracy can reinforce each other.

The 20-year-old Titubanda, a giant of the Italian street band scene, has been invited to the festival. For twenty years, they have been bringing jazz to the asphalt. The 60-member Fanfare Invisible travels with 30 musicians and plays rousing protest music fresh from the tear gas-laden streets of Paris. The proverbial Parisians of Les Milfshake, fanfare frappée bring Dionysian, handmade pop music to Innsbruck and provoke all entrenched identities. Fanfaroma from Rome plays against the madness of the world. Fiati Sprecati waste their breath on Italian film classics and celebration music - Nino Rota sends his regards. And the Graz sister band of the StreetNoise Orchestra, Masala Brass Kollektiv, brings a large repertoire of original compositions for street bands.

The ensembles, which call themselves fanfares, banda, or orchestras, come from Austria, France, and Italy. They captivate with music from the Balkans, South America, the young New Orleans style with hip-hop sensitivities, jazz, and many original compositions with which the street bands find their own music. The festival is dedicated to collective celebration with all city residents, exploring urban forms of brass music, and the connection between music and democracy.


The seven brass bands will not exaggerate in their discussions, but in their playing and celebrating on the streets and squares of the city. The musicians play as amateurs without fees, and thanks to the friendly support of the City of Innsbruck, the State of Tyrol, and other important sponsors, all events are free of charge.

On Saturday morning, individual orchestras will perform on the squares of Innsbruck between 10:30 and 13:00.

strafiato short-concerts map

On Saturday afternoon, between 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm, a big colorful parade takes place, in which not only the orchestras participate, but also the Circus Meer and other performance artists from Tyrol. On Saturday and Sunday evenings, all seven Urban Brass Orchestras will perform (8:00 pm to 11:00 pm). Admission to the Treibhaus is also free.

On Sunday noon (12:00 pm to 1:00 pm), there is a special treat: the orchestras will perform together in a large-scale sound installation and give a taste of their repertoire. We bring urban brass music back to the mountaintops!

Background: Strafiato Festival

The festival offers not only party fun with brass bands at the Treibhaus and the big parade on Saturday (14:00). Many of the invited ensembles are activist street bands and support social and political causes in their respective hometowns, playing at demonstrations, neighborhood festivals, and actions. As activist street bands, they use and interpret the city as a space for cultural interventions. They represent local or special forms of mobile, improvisational music and performance practices that experiment with collective music-making (without conducting and leadership) as well as compositions and arrangements developed for this purpose.

The local musical interventions, the street parade, a large-scale sound installation, as well as a discussion event on the Seegrube and two concert evenings initiate a dialogue between different sound cultures and understandings of urban space, in which the audience, local artists, and the city as a whole are involved. Within the framework of these activities, the cultural and socio-political aspects of the use of public space and the associated potentials, tensions, and friction points between artists, city residents, and authorities are sensually and joyfully explored.

Background: Activist Street Bands

In many regions of the world, especially in the USA ("Brass Bands", "Second Line", "Streetbands"), in the Balkan countries ("fanfare"), in Italy ("banda aperta") and France ("fanfares"), as well as in Austria and Germany ("Kapelle", "Straßenorchester"), mobile music ensembles, i.e. larger (usually 15-25 people) musical groups, are part of the street scene and therefore also of the regional identity. These ensembles play in public streets, less often in concert halls or clubs, and are therefore geared towards mobile music making in terms of instrumentation, repertoire, polyphonic and improvisational musical practice, as well as attractive visual self-presentation. Many mobile ensembles produce their own compositions, which are exchanged with other ensembles. The peculiarity of the invited street orchestras compared to classical and pop and jazz ensemble playing (e.g. Big Bands, Brass Bands) also consists of the experiment of democratic music making (without conductors, orchestra leaders, etc.) in ensembles of this size.

Mobile (street) music culture is a creative and innovative form of urban life that is interpreted anew as a public space in cities worldwide. The architectural and symbolic structure of the heavily frequented tourist city of Innsbruck is thematized and questioned by musical interventions, in order to initiate new interpretations of urban space. Our musical practice thus promotes understanding between interested citizens, cultural workers, tourists, and various officials of the municipal administration. Our festival with its street interventions brings back the musico-performative traditions learned on ensemble trips to Innsbruck, in order to bring the rich and attractive art forms of mobile music ensembles closer to the city's residents and cultural workers. We aim to explore the city with its characteristics, possibilities, problems, niches, gaps, and fantasies anew.

The Organizer: StreetNoise Orchestra

The StreetNoise Orchestra (SNO), founded in 2013 in Innsbruck, is a 20-member ensemble dedicated to the transnational exploration of this musical aesthetic. For almost five years, it has expanded the Tyrolean street music tradition (village and neighborhood brass bands) with a world-music and improvisational focus, including an increasing number of original compositions.

In the past five years, the SNO has musically accompanied a variety of cultural and socio-political initiatives, as well as events sponsored by the city (e.g. Pride, World Festival, Festival of Diversity). It regularly performs in cultural venues (e.g. Treibhaus, Bäckerei) and contributes to important festive occasions (e.g. opening of the research center of the Tyrolean State Museums, "landes(un)üblicher Empfang" of the Federal President). In a total of 8 mostly international concert tours (France, Germany, Italy), the SNO has established contacts with various street orchestras and big bands from Italy, France, Luxembourg, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, the USA, and Austria.

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