August 6, 2019; Vevey, Switzerland. One of the highlights of our trip was the sixteenth Fête des Vignerons (Winegrower’s Festival.) We’d never heard of the Fête and had no idea of its magnitude and importance. The first clues we got were in the week before the photo workshop while we were visiting friends near Lake Neuchatel in northwestern Switzerland. Every time we mentioned that we were going to the Fête, the response was a more profound “wow” than we’d gotten when we told friends that we’d scored tickets to Springsteen on Broadway last year. This was apparently a very big deal.
It was. Oliver planned a couple years in advance to make this a part of our trip and purchased the tickets last September.
You can read about it here and here. (The second link should have a translate option near the top of the page.) The briefest of summaries: The Fête takes the form of an extremely elaborate two-and-a-half-hour opera which tells the story of a year in the local region. While the theme is wine growing, the story touches on all aspects of life including life in the village, which includes cattle and goat farming, which are central to the culture.
The performance is in a twenty-thousand seat stadium which was purpose-built for the event and will be dismantled when the festivities end. If you look at a satellite view of Vevey, you won’t see a stadium; instead you will see a large parking lot near the water. The stadium is in view of the vineyards being celebrated. Look to the upper left in the stadium photo above.
Before the performance, Oliver set up a shot with some of the performers. These women and girls represent the buds on the grapevines. They are but a tiny proportion of the six thousand performers, almost all of whom are volunteers. Not sure who had more fun: we or they.
Oliver getting the performers arranged.
Cooling off after the shot. It was 91º F (33º C).
Although cameras (other than phones) were prohibited, I managed to get my pocketable Canon G7X II through the gate. This was the camera I used all day. The best camera is the one you have with you. I’ll only include two photos — I encourage you to see the website.
Celebration of the cows coming home from the Alpine pastures. (In the U.S., we party till the cows come home. In Switzerland, they party when the cows come home.)
The fairy overseeing the proceedings. All proceedings need a fairy to oversee them.
After the show, we were allowed to go down to the stadium floor (which was made from the world’s largest LCD screen with constantly changing patterns and scenes during the show) and photograph the performers having their unofficial Fêtes.
Later, as you already know, the heavens opened up.
(Canon G7X II. RAW processing in DxO Pro, Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)