Disturber of the peace: Alphorn player has charges withdrawn upon appeal

Disturber of the peace: Alphorn player has charges withdrawn upon appeal

A man charged with disturbing the peace has been let off the hook after an appeal. His crime? Playing Smoke on the Water by Deep Purple on his alphorn in the middle of a Swiss nature reserve.

Amateur Swiss alphornist faces 171-franc fine

Jonas Scheidegger, an amateur alphornist, began playing the Deep Purple hit on the banks of Étang de la Gruère, a Swiss lake and nature reserve. What he didn’t know at the time was that he was being watched.

Suddenly, from the undergrowth emerged a game warden who pointed out that playing music in the reserve was strictly forbidden. 22-year-old Scheidegger claimed he did not know that he was doing anything illegal, but was still prosecuted for his heinous crime and faced a 100-franc fine, plus 71 Swiss francs for administrative costs.

Not to be deterred, Scheidegger chose to go to the Swiss media. Upon reading the story, many Swiss families offered to pay the fine for him. He quickly raised an objection to the fine with the public prosecutor, claiming that he had not violated the law intentionally.

Swiss musician let off the hook upon appeal

His reasoning was that signs in the reserve telling people that music was banned were not in place and that there was not enough prior warning telling him he was breaking the law. The public prosecutors' office agreed.

Now a free man, Schiedegger told 20 Minuten that the whole fiasco could propel him into a music career. Already, the man from Canton Bern has received requests to perform in places as far away as Spain.

Video: Jonas Scheidegger / YouTube
Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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