Little could Avelino Cachafeiro imagine, when he was proclaimed the best bagpiper in Galicia in 1924, that his name would be honoured in his home town so many years later with a major celebration. Soutelo de Montes, in the municipality of Forcarei, becomes the home of bagpipe music on the occasion of the Festa do Gaiteiro, which brings together around 750 musicians, and is attended by spectators and authorities from all over Galicia and from Portugal. The festival has been celebrated annually, without interruption, since 1979. Dozens of musicians from all over Galicia and from some Galician communities abroad take over the town to the rhythm of bagpipes, drums and tambourines, and musical performances take place in the Plaza de Os Gaiteiros. A unique atmosphere of belonging to the same culture pervades the spirit of all those present, and the memory of Avelino Cachafeiro, that self-taught man who learned to play the instruments from his grandfather and who, with his brothers, went on to play successfully in South America and at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, hovers around the town throughout the day. After the opening speech, the central act of the festival is the delivery of the Ouro do Gaiteiro medals, which recognize the work of people or organizations in favour of the festival itself, popular culture and other Terra de Montes regions. In the afternoon, the “Avelino Cachafeiro” Bagpipe and Drum Contest takes place, in which the prestige of this festival in the world of bagpipes is highlighted by the quality of the performances by new talent. What's more, the annual ambassador of the Festa do Gaiteiro was recently established. The appointment is carried out very ceremonially and the new ambassador is given his bagpiper belt.
The Avelino Cachafeiro Bagpipe and Drum Contest.