Fasnacht Marching Exercises

With the three days of Fasnacht quickly approaching (this year, from February 19-21), all the active participants are gearing up for the big event. Costumes are being sewn, lanterns painted, wagons and other accessories lovingly decorated, and tons of confetti horded. Another important part of the preparations are musical rehearsals by the many Fasnacht groups (Cliques) with their piccolo flutes and drums and the Guggemusik marching bands who are such an integral part of the Fasnacht.

While the various groups have been rehearsing their music for months in their cellars and meeting places around the city, this is not the same as playing their instruments on the move. For this reason, they meet in various parks and wooded areas around Basel; in general, in canton Basel-Stadt, this can be done year-round except during the quiet hours. Thus, practices are permitted from 7:00-23:00 on Monday to Saturday and 10:30-23:00 on Sunday, and you may come across such rehearsals particularly in sparsely populated areas on the edges of town. Different regulations exist for Lange Erlen, where practices are allowed only during the five weeks leading up to Fasnacht at these hours, and at Brüglinger Ebene (near Park im Grünen in Münchenstein), where they are allowed only for four weeks ahead of Fasnacht and during more limited hours (Monday to Saturday from 10:00-12:00 and 13:30-20:00 and Sunday from 10:00-12:00 and 13:30-18:00).

So if you are out and about, don’t be surprised to hear pipes, drums, and other instruments in the distance or come across the rehearsing groups on your walk!