Winegrowers' Festival in Vevey

Categories: performing arts; social practices, rituals and festive events.

The Winegrowers’ Festival in Vevey is a major event celebrating agriculture and winegrowing. The timing of the festival, which takes place around five times a century, reflects the life of a grape vine and the length of a human generation. It mobilises the whole town for several weeks and involves a large number of volunteers. The various shows, musical creations and costumes developed for each edition are also an important source of local creativity.

Vue d’ensemble de la Place du Marché, Fête des Vignerons de Vevey, 1999 © Philippe Pache / Confrérie des Vignerons
Panoramic view of the Place du Marché, Winegrowers’ Festival in Vevey, 1999 © Philippe Pache/Confrérie des Vignerons

The Winegrowers’ Festival is a theatrical event that stems from farming and winegrowing traditions. Previously a religious procession, it is now a secular celebration that is organised around five times a century to pay homage to human toil and the fertile cycle of nature, both of which are personified through a great many pagan allegories, costumes, and Judeo-Christian symbolism. It is organised by the Confrérie des Vignerons de Vevey (Vevey Brotherhood of Winegrowers) but also mobilises the whole town for several weeks and involves a large number of volunteers. It is an important source of local creativity on account of the various shows, costumes and musical creations developed for each edition. The festival is only held in peacetime and therefore constitutes a space for encounter and dialogue between people from different social and cultural backgrounds. The Confrérie des Vignerons also assumes various responsibilities linked to the community of vineyard owners in Lavaux and Chablais, ensures the vines are well maintained and that the work of vineyard labourers is properly rewarded. The Winegrowers’ Festival is therefore not only a spectacular event, it also remains inextricably linked to its original objective: to celebrate the work of winegrowers.

The Winegrowers’ Festival in Vevey was nominated to UNESCO as a candidate with a view to inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on 30 March 2015. It was the first Swiss candidate in connection with the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
On 1 December 2016, the 11th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage in Addis-Ababa (Ethiopia) inscribed the Winegrowers’ Festival in Vevey on its representative list.
In the meantime, all statements of support for this nomination from the public, members of the Confrérie des Vignerons and the authorities are available on the website of the Confrérie des Vignerons:

Last modification 29.01.2024

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