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Half-way through Fête des Vignerons the best attended ever

Arena for Fete des Vignerons

Night time performances in the giant open-air arena are sold out.

(Keystone)

This edition of the UNESCO-listed, once-in a generation Fête des Vignerons is the best attended since it started in 1797, organisers say.

Speaking half way through the ongoing event, they said 365,000 of the 400,000 tickets available up to August 11 had been sold. This makes it the most frequented edition ever.

In addition, the festival has drawn a total 600,000 visitors to the western Swiss town of Vevey in its first two weeks. Highest attendance was on Swiss national day, August 1, when 100,000 flocked to the town on the shores of Lake Geneva. 

Organisers also expressed satisfaction with the “canton days”, which have been introduced for the first time and which they say have been a “big success”. For example, the day dedicated to canton Freiburg drew 60,000 people, while a traditional torchlit parade put on by canton Basel Country drew some 5,000 people at 10pm on a Sunday night, they said. 

Advice to visitors to use public transport has worked better than expected, with seven out of ten visitors doing so. Paying car parks on the outskirts of the town are only one-third full so far, according to the organisers.   

Some 50 people a day have been treated by health staff for minor problems, which have nevertheless resulted in some 30 transfers to hospitals in the region. 

As for the police and security services, they have so far intervened 1,200 times because of incivilities and violations of police regulations. Complaints, fights and assaults were also mentioned by the organisers. But chief of security Denis Froidevaux says this is not a lot compared with the size of the event, according to newspaper Le Temps. He says alcohol consumption has been “moderate”. “But,” Froidevaux adds, “I would like to appeal to the public to look after their children. Every day we have lots that get lost.”


Keystone-SDA/jc

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