Canton Zug, 09.02.2023

The Federal Yodelling Festival will be held in Zug in June 2023

The Federal Yodelling Festival will be held in Zug from 16 to 18 June, and the choirs from the canton are proud of this. They also see this as an opportunity to do somethings about the acute shortage of members.

After successfully staging the Schwing- und Älplerfest 2019 (Federal Alpine wrestling and tradition festival: Esaf), the canton of Zug is well acquainted with federal festivities. And there is now another traditional highlight in Zug's calendar of events. With the Federal Yodelling Festival (Eidgenössische Jodlerfest: EJF) from 16 to 18 June, the canton will host a major Swiss event for the second time within a short period of time.

The local yodelling choirs are particularly pleased about this. For them, holding the EYF in their homeland is "an honour and a great pleasure", as Beat Obrist, president of the Echo Baarburg yodelling club, says. Benjamin Kohler, co-president of the Heimelig Baar Yodelling Club, adds: "It fills us with pride to be involved in this festival."

Shortage of young people is an ongoing issue
In addition to fun and entertainment, the event also brings hope to the choirs. Hope that "yodelling will once again find more favour in the urban area. Especially among the younger generations," says Benjamin Kohler. The Jodlerdoppelquartett Zug (yodel double quartet) also hopes to "reawaken interest", as choir secretary Othmar Lütholf says.

Because: almost all of the choirs surveyed have problems finding new blood, or even maintaining enough members. "This is an ongoing issue for us," says Benjamin Kohler. "No sooner have we gained a few new members than we lose a few others somewhere else."

Othmar Lüthold also talks about the recruitment problems. He sees one reason for this in the large range of sports on offer and in newly emerging choirs with other musical styles. He also believes that folk singing is not promoted enough in the schools.

People want to commit themselves less
The Jodlerklub vom Aegerital (Aegeri Valley Yodelling Club) is also hoping to increase its membership. But President Franz Bucher adds: "Whether we will be able to keep them is questionable, because the time and commitment are quite high. Even though it’s a wonderful hobby."

Helen Affolter, committee member of the ‘Schlossgruess Cham’ Yodelling Club, underlines these words when she says: "We have made the experience that it is not the yodelling or the folk customs that put young people off, but the club life itself." Because joining a club always means a commitment. "But many don't want to commit themselves any more and would rather decide freely what to do with their time."

There will soon be yodelling again in Zug. The photo shows the Echo Baarburg yodelling club at the Zug Chornacht 2022.                     Picture: Jan Pegoraro
An increasingly rare sight: young yodellers. Here the youngsters of the Bärgbrünneli Menzingen yodelling club at the annual concert.                
Picture: Stefan Kaiser

But you could imagine that there are people who will become interested in yodelling as a result of the EJF in Zug. "We have had similar experiences at other, smaller yodelling festivals in the region," says Helen Affolter.

Beat Obrist from the Echo Baarberg club also shares this confidence. "There is certainly a chance to gain new members," he says. Because often it's also fear that keeps people from joining the choir, he says: "For example, they think they can't sing."

According to him, however, a good sense of rhythm is all that’s needed in order to be able to participate in a choir. The yodelling festival is a good opportunity to build confidence, he says. "People are sitting next to each other in the tent when someone suddenly starts singing a song. Then it's great to say to the person sitting next to you, 'Come on, let’s sing along too!'"

Goosebump moments should create a yodelling fever
Helen Affolter also hopes for this momentum. "For example, when yodellers spontaneously start yodelling in the middle of the street and more and more people join in the song." That is often a goosebump moment. She is sure that anyone who witnesses such a moment can be unexpectedly gripped by yodelling fever.

A great wish that runs through all the yodelling choirs is for good weather. They are sure that they will be able to offer the people of Zug and all the other guests and participants a great festival. Othmar Lütholf: "The people of Zug have already proven that at the Esaf 2019!”