First peacetime cancellation of Jersey Eisteddfod festival

ONE of the Island’s longest-standing community arts-and-crafts events has been cancelled because of the Covid-19 crisis.

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This year’s Jersey Eisteddfod’s Autumn Festival of the Performing Arts, which was due to run from 6 to 28 November, would have included sections in dance, English speech and drama and music.

Uncertainty earlier in the year over whether the event would go ahead meant that the independent adjudicators, who travel from the UK, could not be booked in sufficient time. The same problem affected the booking of the competition’s usual venues, leading organisers to cancel the autumn festival. Also, as many of the Eisteddfod’s sections are for groups, such as ensembles, choirs and dance troupes, social-distancing rules would have made these activities impractical.

The Jersey Eisteddfod has only ever been cancelled twice before – during the First World War and the German Occupation.

Two of next year’s Eisteddfod festivals have also been affected.

The Spring Festival of the Creative Arts, which has been held every March at the Royal Jersey Showground in Trinity, has been cancelled.

Jersey Eisteddfod general administrator Christine Hamon said: ‘Unfortunately we have had to take the decision to cancel our Spring Festival, but we continue to hope that we shall be able to hold our Autumn Festival, as planned, in November next year. In the meantime, we urge all our potential competitors in both festivals to continue with their studies, their practice and their creativity. Every cloud has a silver lining and, in this case, it is the chance to develop the artistic talents that lie within us all.’

Most of the languages section of the Festival of Performing Arts, a portion of the festival that was due to be held in January next year, has also been cancelled. These classes were to have comprised French, modern languages and Jèrriais.

‘Sadly, the languages festival has been cancelled with the exception of the Jèrriais section and we are delighted to report that this section, which uses on-Island adjudicators, will hold an online festival,’ said Mrs Hamon.

She added: ‘How lovely that our local language will be flying the flag for the Jersey Eisteddfod.’

Details of the Jèrriais categories will be on the Jèrriais page of jerseyeisteddfod.org.je in due course.

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