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Rain fails to dampen music lovers' enthusiasm

Interlaken was alive with the sound of music this weekend – even if partly dampened by the rain.

The Swiss Yodelling Festival, which is held every three years, wound up on Sunday with a grand parade of 11,000 participants, including a number of groups from abroad.

The official ceremony on Sunday was opened by Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann.

The festival, which started on Thursday, was dogged by rain, which kept visitor numbers down, but the sun shone on the final day.

The festival spokeswoman said a total of 150,000 visitors had visited the festival, against the 200,000 predicted.

The last festival, held in unbroken sunshine in Lucerne in 2008, drew 350,000 visitors, sparking fears that it could become a victim of its own success.

Meanwhile, the city of St Gallen in eastern Switzerland was being entertained by a different kind of music: more than 250 wind ensembles had descended on the town for the first weekend of the Federal Music Festival, which is held once every five years.

Because of the rain the opening ceremony and planned open-air concert had to be relocated, and the march music competition was interrupted.

The festival lasts for two weekends; organisers are hoping for better weather next week.

Geneva held its own music festival, which organisers said drew 200,000 people, who braved the rain to enjoy music for every taste.

Performers included groups from local African and Latin American communities. “Operation piano” was also very successful: 20 pianos were left in the streets for anyone to play. None of them were vandalised, but six suffered weather damage.


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