Teenagers take to the stage in giant winegrowers’ festival

A Rio carnival-scale festival is underway on the shores of Lake Geneva. swissinfo.ch spoke to some of the plucky teenage performers minutes before they stepped out in front of thousands of spectators at the Fête des Vignerons.

Many of the 7,000 local actors, singers and musicians have been practicing for about a year for the big event, which is expected to draw a million spectators over three weeks. It pays tribute to wine producers in the Lavaux and Chablais regions and is only held once every generation. It took ten years to plan and is costing CHF100 million ($101 million) to stage. The lights and sound alone cost CHF12 million. 

A modern festival with tradition

The festival dates back to 1797 and has grown from an annual street parade. It’s on UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. One of its main features is a 20,000-seat open-air arena dominating the town’s picturesque market square. 

For this event, artistic director Daniele Finzi Pasca from Ticino teamed up with British choreographer Bryn Walters, known for his portrayal of Macavity in the stage musical, Cats. The two collaborated for the he 2006 Turin Olympic Game’s closing ceremony as well as for Sochi 2014.

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