So my reason for being in Valais was to experience Jodlerfest 2017 in the town of Brig. And what an experience it was!
My time at this triennial yodeling extravaganza and celebration of Alpine culture was so much fun and enlightening too. I had no idea how beautiful yodeling could be, how complex and beguiling its harmonic arrangements could be, or how completely full on its most ardent adherents were toward its preservation.
And while I marveling at how unprepared I was for the fest, I should add I didn’t have a clue just how many diehard yodelers were out there – from Switzerland, its neighboring countries and across the planet! Most people were there visiting as members of official yodel clubs from German speaking parts of Switzerland but there were clubs from as far afield as Canada and South Africa.
Brig’s population is around 12,000 but there were way more people filling the streets the day I visited – mostly adorned in traditional mountainfolk garb and actually yodeling in the street (while drinking copious amounts of beer). Even on the train ride into town from Riederalp (actually the rail station was down the mountain from Riederalp in Morel) the train was so packed with Jodlerfest celebrants that people had crammed themselves into the toilet – and were laughing their heads off about it.
The day I visited was the finale of the fest. A week’s worth of concerts and competitions had past and everybody there was letting loose and unwinding. The mood was merry, tipsy and friendly. The big event that day was the parade through town, and I love it: antique tractors pulling floats of civic groups with local yocal pride streamed through the Brig.