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.