FÊTE DES VIGNERONS 2019
A ONCE IN-A-GENERATION EVENT
The Fête des Vignerons is a magnificent sight and a large-scale popular event that will colour the entire town of Vevey from 18 July to 11 August 2019. It is an event which has been on the UNESCO intangible world heritage list since 2016.
TEXT: MÉLANIE BLANC
At the beginning of 2019, the town of Vevey was ranked among the 52 destinations to visit this year by the prestigious New York Times. Why? The Fête des Vignerons, which will be held this summer from 18 July to 11 August. It is an event which only takes place three or four times a century, attracting hundreds of thousands of people to celebrate winemakers and the art of winegrowing.
The 12th edition, which will be held this summer, promises to be even more special than previous editions. The organisers even make the bold claim that for one month, Vevey will become the capital of Switzerland not only thanks to its large-scale event but also, and more particularly, due to the presence of each canton in the “cantonal days” organised this year for the very first time.
The origins of the festival
The origin of the Fête des Vignerons can probably be traced back to the 17th century. In those days, the Brotherhood of Winemakers would bring its general assembly to a close with a parade leading its members, along with numerous curious onlookers, from the heights of the town of Vevey to the shores of Lake Geneva where a banquet would be held. This joyful festival has continued to grow over time, as have its costs, which is why it was held every three years then every six. The last parade of the Brotherhood was held in 1791. Six years later, in 1797, the first Fête des Vignerons was held along with its first show, on a stage raised on the market square. The festival is now only held once a generation. In 1797, the stages could hold up to 2,000 people. And in 1889, more than 12,000 people took their place in the stands. In 1955, the milestone figure of 16,000 spectators was reached. This year, some 20,000 people could attend each of the 20 performances. This festival, which embodies the notions of transmission and dialogue between generations, was included on the UNESCO intangible world heritage list in December 2016. It therefore joins Lavaux, the neighbouring vineyard, which was classified in 2007.
From 3 to 86
Production of the show has been entrusted to Daniele Finzi Pasca. This native of Ticino has worked for the Cirque du Soleil and the Cirque Eloize and also created the closing ceremonies for the 2006 and 2014 Olympic Games in Turin and Sotchi respectively. For the Fête des Vignerons, he has dreamed up the story of a grandfather and his granddaughter as the seasons come and go. An initiatory journey during which the child discovers the mystery binding her to her grandfather and the Earth. This fun, poetic show will be held in an arena wrapping the spectators in a gigantic nest.
Measuring 1,400m2, the large central stage will be surrounded by four raised daises each measuring 300m2 and enabling more intimate tableaux to be created. Some 700 tonnes of wood were needed to build this enormous stage. And more than 5,400 amateur extras, aged between 3 and 86, will swarm across the stages of the huge arena on the market square. While two-thirds of them are participating in the festival for the first time, some thirty people will be taking part in their fourth edition. Another much-awaited moment of the show is the Ranz des vaches, performed by a group of eleven amateur tenors. This song of the cowhands and shepherds of the alpine pastures has almost become a national hymn in light of the popularity of the song.
THE CGN IS ALSO PART OF THE ADVENTURE AS A TOURIST PARTNER
With its pontoon located only a stone’s throw from the market square, the CGN fleet is an ideal means of getting to the very heart of the festival. In addition to the usual cruises, the CGN runs a special return trip every showday between Lausanne and Vevey. The times fit with those of the show to enable spectators to make their way comfortably to the arena and to leave just as easily. A special return trip to Le Bouveret is also operated for evening shows.
Small catering service on board. Reservations required.
Fares Lausanne – Vevey
CHF 39.– (return) • CHF 23.– (single)
Half price for children aged 6 to 16.
Free for children under 6.
Information and bookings at www.cgn.ch/fevi
or via the INFOLINE on 0900 929 929
(CHF 0.50/min from Switzerland)
For the «Journée de la Confédération», on thursday 1 August 2019, ABVL and CGN offer you the chance to win
2 x 5 Premium tickets
(Total value: CHF 3600.–)
by answering the following question…
In which year was the very first Fête des Vignerons held?
Send your answer…
INTERNET: www.abvl.ch/concours FEVI2019
by filling out the form online
POST MAIL: ABVL, Concours FEVI2019, Case postale 60, 1001 Lausanne
Write surname, name, address, phone number and E-mail.
Conditions for participation
The competition will run from midday Sunday 14 April 2019 to midday Tuesday 2 July 2019. It is open to any person living in Switzerland who has already celebrated their 18th birthday. Participants’ personal data may be used by the CGN and ABVL for promotional and marketing purposes. A single participation is authorised per person throughout the entire duration of the competition. Employees of the CGN and the ABVL as well as their families are not eligible for participation. Prizes cannot be exchanged or converted into cash. The winner will be notified in person. All recourse to legal proceedings is excluded.