Organising the Carnival of Basel: The Fasnachts-Comité

The Fasnachts-Comité: A Century of Orchestrating the Basel Carnival

Basel’s carnival scene took a significant turn on 21st March 1910 when Verkehrsverein Basel and the Fasnachtsvereins “Quodlibet” (Grossbasel) and “Wurzengraber-Kämmerli” (Kleinbasel) joined forces. Their brainchild? The Fasnachts-Comité, established to bring a neutral outlook to the grandeur of the Basel Carnival or, as locals call it, Basler Fasnacht. Fast forward to today, the Fasnachts-Comité’s influence is unmistakable, as is evident in its rich history and an eventful calendar.

Centennial Jubilation with Fasnachts-Comité

The Fasnachts-Comité celebrated a century of Basel Carnival brilliance in 2010. To mark this milestone, they commissioned a composition from renowned jazz musician George Gruntz, sparking creative inspiration for choreographer Richard Wherlock. The result, “Milk and Honey,” premiered on 23rd April 2010. Moreover, the Comité organised a children’s parade featuring over 5000 costumed participants, and also launched the new publication “Basler Fasnacht-vorwärts-marsch!”. To crown it all, the Swiss Post issued a special stamp, and the Tinguely Museum held a special exhibition in honour of the jubilee.

The Multifaceted Role of Fasnachts-Comité

Constituted as an association since the 1960s, the Fasnachts-Comité shoulders an array of responsibilities:

  • It takes the lead in organising the Cortège on Carnival Monday and Wednesday, setting the stage for the entire Fasnacht.
  • They are at the heart of organising the Lantern, Wagon, and Props Exhibition.
  • They’re in charge of releasing the carnival badge and the Fasnacht guide, known as “Rädäbäng”.
  • They hold the reigns for organising and running the “Drummeli”.
  • They foster new talent through the “die erschti Lektion” initiative and conduct various courses and informational events for newcomers to Basel.
  • They disburse subsidies to all active carnival units registered with the Comité, ranging from main clubs to solo masks.
  • They maintain close contact with government bodies, law enforcement, transport authorities, and Basel Tourism, among others.
  • They oversee the official drumming and piping competition known as the “Offiziells”.

Fasnachts-Comité: The Custodians of Carnival Freedom

Following the Fasnacht, the Comité distributes subsidies to all active participants in the Cortège. This neutral contribution eliminates the need for external sponsorship, thereby preserving the unique spirit of freedom that’s synonymous with the Basler Fasnacht.

Fasnachts-Comité’s 2023/2024 Event Calendar

The Fasnachts-Comité has a packed schedule ahead, ready to bring Basel alive with another carnival to remember:

  • 01.09 – 29.10.2023: Registrations for the 2024 Cortège via FCO (Online tool)
  • 11.09.2023: Presidents’ Conference
  • 29.10.2023: Registration deadline for the 2024 Cortège
  • November 2023: Public pre-sale of Drummeli tickets begins
  • 19.11.2023: Submission for Rädäbäng entries
  • 28.12.2023: Carnival badge unveiling
  • 31.12.2023: Deadline for ordering the first batch of carnival badges and certificate applications
  • 06.01.2024: First day of carnival badge sales
  • 11.01 – 13.01.2024: Official drumming and piping competition “Offiziells Brysdrummle and -pryffe”
  • 20.01.2024: Vogel Gryff
  • 21.01.2024: Registration for the Wagon and Props Exhibition
  • 23.01.2024: Parade chiefs’ meeting
  • 29.01 – 02.02.2024: Zeedel submission at the orphanage
  • 03.02.2024: Rädäbäng goes on sale
  • 03.02 – 09.02.2024: Drummeli performances
  • 11.02.2024: Submission of self-declarations
  • 19.02 – 21.02.2024: Carnival week
  • 23.02 & 24.02.2024: First lesson tent action on Barfüsserplatz
  • 25.02 / 03.03 / 10.03.2024: Lazy Sundays

The Fasnachts-Comité continues its mission to ensure the Basel Carnival remains a vibrant, thriving spectacle, true to its traditions and ever-evolving for the enjoyment of future generations.

Sources/Links

Official Fasnachts-Comité Website: fasnachts-comite.ch

Bastian Peter

Bastian Peter

Bastian Peter is immersed all year in the Carnival of Basel. Since almost 20 years, Peter is the 'Larvenmacher' (mask maker) at the Atelier Charivari, and a dedicated devotee of the Carnival of Basel's traditions and culture. With nearly two decades of experience, he's been creating distinctive masks at the Larven Atelier Charivari, the family-run Larven Atelier in Basel, Switzerland, established in 1976.
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