The majority of the Island’s summer festivals and events were cancelled last year, as restrictions on large-scale gatherings prevented them from going ahead.
There are fears that a surge of Covid cases associated with the Indian variant could yet derail plans and ministers are said to be monitoring the situation both here and in the UK.
However, with the Island’s vaccination programme progressing, organisers have said they remain ‘confident’ ahead of what is hoped will be a return to normality this summer.
Under the government’s current roadmap for easing Covid restrictions, large-scale gatherings will be permitted from 14 June.
Earlier this year the Barclays Jersey Boat Show was cancelled, as were the popular UK festivals Glastonbury and Boomtown. However, restrictions on large-scale events in England are due to be lifted on 21 June.
The UK government has been conducting ‘large-crowd event experiments’ to determine whether restrictions can safely be relaxed at events in confined spaces, or whether doing so could lead to a rise in cases.
In Liverpool, 5,000 people gathered for a concert, 6,000 went to two rave-style events and 400 delegates attended a conference.
So, as long as the restrictions are lifted as scheduled, what is planned for Jersey this summer?
– Good Vibrations Festival – Saturday 19 June
The surf and music festival is held annually in St Ouen’s Bay and is due to feature a 1980s-themed surf contest, live bands and DJs, beach five-a-side football, mental-health workshops and an evening event at the Watersplash nightclub with live bands and DJs.
Organiser Jake Powell said: ‘It would be fitting that our event, which raises money for mental-health charity Mind Jersey and is all about good vibes, would kick-start a summer of events following the year or so we have had.
‘We are paying close attention to the government’s advice but with the event being outdoors, hopefully we will be good to go. The after-party tickets have now sold out and it is clear everyone needs that release this summer and to get out and enjoy themselves.’
– Wonky Festival – Saturday 17 July and Sunday 18 July
The two-day music festival is due to take place at Les Mielles Golf Course in St Ouen’s Bay and feature house, techno and drum and bass DJs.
Acts are due to include drum and bass performers DJ Hype, Metrik and MC General Levy. There will also be a number of house and techno DJs, including Hot Since 82 and a live-stream performance from world-renowned DJ Carl Cox.
Organiser JP Anquetil said: ‘In 2019 we held a one-day event with 3,500 people. This time we have spread the event over two days and reduced the numbers to 2,000 in order to help overcome any potential Covid obstacles.
‘All our stages will be open-air this year instead of having tents or marquees. We have also only booked DJs from the UK so that it is easy for them to get over as long as everything remains green.’
– Sark Jersey Challenge – Saturday 31 July
This relay swimming event features teams of two to six people, with participants taking it in turns to swim a leg from Sark to Jersey.
Simon O’Donoghue, one of the organisers, said: ‘We are all ready to go this year. We have been given permission from all the relevant authorities and will be raising money for Dementia Jersey.
‘Sea swimming has become so popular throughout the pandemic. We have had interest from over 100 swimmers so far and have teams entering from England, Ireland and Holland.’
– Havre des Pas Seaside Festival – Saturday 31 July and Sunday 1 August
The free festival at Havre des Pas is due to return this year after a three-year break with live music, food stalls, fairground rides, arts and crafts stalls and children’s entertainment.
Organiser Jason Maindonald said: ‘This will be the first time the event has run since 2018 and we are confident it will go ahead. Islanders and tourists need events in order to enjoy their summer.
‘Hopefully most of the Island will be vaccinated by then and so we are hoping to have our usual format. However, we have plenty of room on the beach to space things out if needs be.’
– Jersey International Air Display – Thursday 9 September
The Red Arrows are due to return to the skies over Jersey in September to headline this iconic local event. The world-renowned aerobatic display team missed the 2017 and 2019 shows, and the 2020 Air Display was cancelled due to pandemic restrictions.
St Helier Deputy Mike Higgins, who organises the event, said so far things were looking good for this year’s display.
‘We are confident the event, which is free for all, will go ahead and we are hoping to bring some new planes and acts over this year in order to put on a good day out, which the public deserve,’ he
‘We are hoping to create spaces on the westbound lane of the Avenue so that people can watch the Air Display from their cars and we want to modify the display line so people can watch from the beach.
‘We are also currently looking for sponsors to help support the event.’
– Jersey International Motoring Festival – Friday 10 September, Saturday 11 September and Sunday 12 September
The largest annual motoring event in the Channel Islands, this event features classic-car showings and displays, a moonlight sprint, the Westmount hill climb, an active-arena vehicle demonstration, live music and food stalls.
Terry Gorvel, one of the organisers, said: ‘We are hoping to run our full programme as normal. We are just waiting to hear from the Bailiff’s Panel [which gives permission for large events].
‘We usually have up to 150 vehicles involved in the event and as many as 8,000 spectators. Lots of people from abroad tend to visit for the weekend, so we are hoping they can get over, depending on travel restrictions.’
He added: ‘The Covid situation is looking positive as restrictions continue to ease and more people receive their vaccine. Hopefully we can enjoy a summer of events and celebrate many of the amazing vehicles on show.’
– Battle of Flowers ‘Fantasy of Light’ moonlight parades
Two planned events that have been cancelled are the Battle of Flowers moonlight parades. The organisers had hoped to run two moonlight parades in an adapted format but have confirmed that they would not be going ahead.
Event director Jackie Donald said: ‘We have monitored, assessed and sought to mitigate the constraints and uncertainties involved in staging the parades and now reluctantly conclude it would be irresponsible to press on, and to risk the longer-term financial viability of our organisation without the ability to underwrite and to offset the potential, substantial economic losses associated with a last-minute
cancellation that may be necessary if there are changes in public-health policies.’
The event board said the Indian variant could impact the number of people allowed to attend events and that they therefore could not commit to holding the Battle of Flowers in any capacity this year.
Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham said: ‘The Battle of Flowers is a long-standing Jersey tradition and a much-loved community event in our island.
‘It is also a highlight of the summer tourism calendar that plays a valued role in attracting visitors. We will continue to support Battle and look forward to a successful return in 2022.’