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American country music takes Zurich by storm

Cowboy hats and fiddles are part and parcel of the festival

(Keystone Archive)

The 17th International Country Music Festival underway in Zurich is the largest of its kind outside of North America. Until March 25, American and local stars are playing before packed houses at the Albisgüetli.

The festival brings together established and up-and-coming acts from North America and Switzerland, which counts the biggest community of country music fans in German-speaking Europe - possibly on the whole continent.

More than 30,000 fans are expected to have attended the festival by the time it ends. And the festival organisers have done everything possible to ensure a "country" atmosphere - American style.

The audience can try authentic "country" cuisine at the "Texas" bar, or kit themselves out in the ultimate in country fashion at the "Western Wear" shop.

Performing next on the Albisgüetli stage will be "Handsome Hank and the His Lonesome Boys" and the "Del McCoury Band" on March 13. They'll be followed by "Marty Stuart and his Band" on March 21.

Three acts are being featured on the Gala Night on March 24, including Switzerland's "Hamp Goes Wild" and "Carl Ray and Band" from the United States. The Swiss star, John Brack, will bring the festival to an end on March 25. His show is already sold out.

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