The Fête des Vignerons is more than just a show, it’s a heritage, a living tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation since the 18th century. This exceptional and extraordinary event, which combines tradition and modernity, unites an entire region that stretches from Lausanne to Chablais Vaudois. It has been inscribed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO since 1 December 2016.
One celebration per generation! It would be easy to forget such a rare event, but this is not the case!
When the long-awaited date arrives, the whole region is mobilised and intrigued. That is to say that this 12th edition, like its predecessors, will not be a direct reproduction of the last but it will represent the era we live in now. Like a link in a long chain, it will mark the Vevey time as a temporal marker. Its particular theme, which is focused on rewarding the winegrowers, the real workers of the vine, also makes it an original and unique show.
The Confrérie des Vignerons produces and organises the Fête des Vignerons. The history of the Confrérie dates back to the beginning of time. It is responsible for visiting and ensuring the proper maintenance of the vines of its members. Originally, it organised annual then less frequent events, which grew as time passed. Deities such as Bacchus, Ceres and Palès joined the members of the Confrérie des Vignerons but also the Cent Suisses, the Armaillis and various trades which represent the wine, agricultural, artisanal or folkloric traditions of each era.
The Fête des Vignerons turns into a celebration of the values and the know-how of an entire region, or even an entire country.
The success of each new edition of the Fête des Vignerons and the organisers’ ambition to always do better involve increasing financial investments.
It is therefore difficult to organise more than five per century. This long period of absence, in theory, could eventually condemn this celebration. But history proves otherwise.
Vevey is no longer the rural village that hosted the first parades. In this ancient industrial and commercial city, often far removed from the realities of winegrowers and farmers, the Fête des Vignerons, which occurs a generation, is a living celebration of memory, transmission, identity and the ecological link to nature. Bringing together ancestral traditions and contemporary concerns, it wants to be an anthem of love and universal hope, a hymn to the land, to the homeland, to Mankind and its roots.
The artistic team
Original design and staging: Daniele Finzi Pasca, who designed monumental shows such as the Olympic Games closing ceremonies in Turin (2006) and Sochi (2014) & Julie Hamelin, design of the arena (according to an original idea of Jean Rabasse).
The show represents a year in the life of the vineyard through twenty scenes starting and finishing with the harvest. It combines the work of the vineyard (pruning/training, etc.), social moments (weddings, Saint-Martin’s Fair) along with more general themes (the seasons, water, the sun, the moon, the stars). It questions the link between man and nature and pays homage to the know-how of winegrowers. At the heart of the show is the Crowning of winegrowers rewarded for their excellence of work by the Confrérie des Vignerons.
The narration is carried by a moving dialogue between a little girl called Julie and her grandfather, who enables her to discover the traditions and the work of winegrowers..
The music, which alternates with pieces of ensemble, orchestral pieces or in small formations, accompanied live by the Choeur de la Fête (500 choristers, 300 Percuchorists, 150 children’s voices), the Harmonie de la Fête (120 brass band musicians), the Big Band (16 jazz musicians), the Percussionistes (40 percussionists), the Cors des Alpes (36 Alpine horns), the Petit Ensemble (20 musicians) and the Fifres et Tambours (36 Basel musicians). The Fête orchestra is the Gstaad Festival Orchestra, which will record the score in the studio in spring 2019.
An iconic and essential element of the Fête des Vignerons, the arena is representative of the technical evolutions and dramaturgical needs. But its greatest characteristic is its ephemeral status.
Overnight, it takes pride of place on Vevey’s Place du Marché and conceals Lake Geneva’s panoramic views.
The first wooden platform dates from 1797. It had a little less than 2,000 seats and was in the form of a simple tiered-structure, built of wood, and placed in the upper part of Vevey’s Place du Marché. At each new edition, it transformed and adapted to the dramaturgy of the show and the new technologies used.
The construction of 2019 is no exception. Two hundred years later, wood has disappeared, giving way to steel, LED floodlights and new technologies. Its dimensions are impressive. With a surface area of 14,000 m2 and a maximum height of 30 metres, the space is designed to adapt to the ideas of the creators led by Daniele Finzi Pasca.
The Fête des Vignerons 2019 show takes place in an uncovered arena. In 2019, this ceremony will take place on 18 July 2019 at 11am. The show lasts about 2h30 and the Crowning ceremony approximately 3h30.
During the first performance of the Fête des Vignerons 2019 there is a special occasion: at the peak of Daniele Finzi Pasca’s magical and dreamlike show, the winegrowers will be called up to have their special talent recognised and the best of them will be crowned with public tributes that will reflect on their fame. The show will continue until a big finale. Everyone, with the winegrowers in the pride of place, will then parade between Vevey and La Tour-de-Peilz. A procession bringing together all the actors and actresses of the show, the members of the Confrérie des Vignerons, the musicians will surround the heroes of the day with joy and gratitude. The public will be able to freely witness the passage of this human fresco in the streets of the two neighbouring towns and their quaysides bordering Lake Geneva. After this whirlwind of colours and the warm effervescence that will emerge, it will be time for the banquet.