Gorey Fête cancelled while other events are uncertain

EVENTS organisers are anxiously waiting for clarity on Covid restrictions for the summer season after the Island’s final roadmap date was pushed back for a second time.

The Havre des Pas Seaside Festival is one of the many events, planned for this summer, that may yet be cancelled owing to Covid restrictions
The Havre des Pas Seaside Festival is one of the many events, planned for this summer, that may yet be cancelled owing to Covid restrictions

On Thursday, the government announced that nightclubs would remain closed until 5 July at the earliest, and that restrictions on informal gatherings in homes, standing service in pubs and bars, and larger indoor and outdoor festivals would remain in place for at least another fortnight.

Some events – including the Good Vibrations Festival – have already been rescheduled, while others, such as the Gorey Fête, have been cancelled.

J P Anquetil, owner of Rojo nightclub and organiser of the Wonky Town Festival due to take place on 17 July, said organisers were becoming ‘more nervous the longer this drags on’.

‘It’s very frustrating. We are getting no information from the powers that be and are being left in a permanent state of limbo,’ he said.

‘It’s just horrendous getting everything booked and ready to go and, once it is too late to cancel things, it becomes a real nightmare. At least give us some direction as we are not the ones who have control over the situation.’

He added: ‘I think people are focusing too much on case numbers. We are getting vaccinated and we aren’t seeing people get seriously ill at the moment. I can’t see any reason why it shouldn’t go ahead and I think we will see some kind of demonstration at some point. The reaction is getting stronger and stronger.’

Jason Maindonald, organiser of the Havre des Pas Seaside Festival scheduled for the end of next month, said he was ‘worried that we are decimating the industry’.

He said: ‘You can prepare as much as you want but, with all the cases rising now that we have reopened travel, it is hard to tell. It is very worrying if you are an organiser. We haven’t had any guidance from the government. All event managers are just waiting to see what happens.’

Jersey’s government has announced that, from 29 June, England is to be classified as a red zone. Arrivals who are fully vaccinated – which will include an estimated 60% of English adults by the end of June – must isolate on arrival until they receive a negative result from their first test.

Mr Maindonald said the announcement had come as a ‘big shock’ but that it could also be a ‘blessing in disguise’.

He added: ‘The Island needs to start having events again. It’s more important for the people of Jersey to get out and enjoy the Island than it is to open the borders. If this continues to get worse, my gut feeling is that we will be going backwards, not forwards.’

Nick Cabot, president of the Jersey Symphony Orchestra, said it was ‘still heading’ for its summer concert at Les Quennevais School on Saturday 14 August.

He said: ‘Obviously capacity will affect the money we will be able to take in, but we will have to abide by whatever the guidance may be. Stage 7 [of the reconnection roadmap] will hopefully give us the freedom – depending on the circumstances at the time – to hold a non-socially-distanced concert.’

He added: ‘We didn’t play at all last year so we really want to get out there again, even if it’s to play to a small number of people.’

Deputy Mike Higgins, who organises the Jersey International Air Display, said he hoped the event could proceed as planned on 9 September.

He said: ‘It’s always on your mind, as the virus is unpredictable and you get these different waves. As time goes on, more and more people will be vaccinated and hopefully by September we will be in a very different situation.

‘It’s a very uncertain time but the truth is we can only continue planning, albeit in the knowledge that it could be cancelled.’

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