Federal Folk Music Festival Bellinzona – Radio SRF Musikwelle


Despite the rainy start, the folk music festival in Bellinzona recorded a higher number of visitors than expected.

  • The Federal Folk Music Festival took place for the 14th time from Thursday to Sunday.
  • For the first time a folk music festival was held in Ticino.
  • Almost 2,000 musicians on 13 stages and over 80,000 visitors took part in the festival.

The Federal Folk Music Festival did not get off to an easy start. Rain and cool wind were constant companions on Thursday and Friday. From Saturday afternoon the sun came out, which brightened the mood of the many visitors. The highlight was the parade on Sunday. Bellinzona showed its sunny side and the audience was also in a great festive mood.

Federal Councilor Ignazio Cassis also enjoyed the festival and watched the parade on Sunday euphorically from the official gallery. In an interview with RSI presenter Carla Norghauer, he was enthusiastic about the diversity of folk music in Switzerland. And on his Instagram account he writes: “The plurality of our country is our wealth.”

Difficult starting conditions

It was raining heavily in Bellinzona at the opening ceremony on Thursday. Nevertheless, the tent in the Piazza del Sole was fully occupied with visitors from all over Switzerland. But not only did the audience come from everywhere, the musicians were also represented from all language regions in Switzerland.

Above all, Ralph Janser, the central president of the Swiss Folk Music Association, was keen to strengthen the unity between the country’s different cultures. «We have achieved our goal of bringing together music from all four language regions. All linguistic regions are represented, and there have even been formations from northern Italy and France.”

Friday was also wet and cool. The musicians were repeatedly seen indoors warming up their fingers so that they could continue playing later. On Friday evening there were additional thunderstorms and during the night it rained so heavily that the lake collapsed over the stage in Piazza Governo.


Large fire brigade operation on Saturday morning in Piazza Governo.

SRF/Jonas Steiger

Luckily there were no injuries. The stage had to be completely dismantled on Saturday morning. So that it was better protected from the rain, it was then rebuilt in the large tent. From Saturday afternoon onwards, music could be played happily again in Piazza Governo.

Many Ticino formations

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This year, more Ticino formations took part in a Federal Folk Music Festival than ever before. A total of around 60 groups from Italian-speaking Switzerland were represented.

Large crowds of visitors

From Saturday onwards it became increasingly difficult to move freely in the streets of Bellinzona. In addition to the many concerts, the traditional Saturday market also attracted many visitors. Colorful stalls with lots of decorative items, good food and wonderful scents invited you to stroll around. In between you could always see and hear music formations, some of which were planned and sometimes also played ad hoc.

A woman with red hair plays the accordion.


During the market, formations repeatedly played spontaneously on the side of the road.

Ti Press / Samuel Golay

Thanks to the sunny and warmer weather, the first national folk music television broadcast took place on Saturday “Bella Musica” was played and celebrated late into the night.

From the perspective of OC President Andrea Bersani, the festival was a success. It was important to him and also the mayor of Bellinzona, Mario Branda, that people from all parts of Switzerland come into contact with one another. «In Switzerland we have different cultures and it is very important that we accept each other. In this case it is the music that connects us,” says Bersani.

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