If you happen to be in the Maastricht city centre on the weekend of 23, 24 and 25 September, you cannot miss them. More than two hundred members of Tuna groups from the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and probably South America – clearly recognisable by their clothing – will perform their traditional Spanish music on every square, terrace and street. They will be here at the invitation of the Maastricht students who organise the Maastricht Tuna Festival that weekend.
The Tuna tradition goes back to the Middle Ages, when Spanish students earned their living by making music on the streets. To this day, every university in Spain has four to eight Tunas. “We are often invited to play at festivals in Spain, but also in South America,” say Juriaan Beuk and Trevor Brown from Tuna Maastricht. It is for the second time in their existence (having been founded in 1992) that the Maastricht association is organising such a festival in the city. “There are open-air festivities on the Amorsplein and on the Platielstraat on Friday. With a podium and co-operation from the local pubs. There is a parade on Saturday afternoon, while the competition starts in the evening. The finals are on Sunday.” According to tradition, the student musicians also intend to serenade the mayor’s partner in September. According to the Maastricht musicians, the fact that in this case the mayor's partner is a man, is “no problem at all. We have already performed for the mayor twice.”