As follows is a statement issued by the Board on behalf of the Battle of Flowers in relation to the proposed events in 2021:
“After careful consideration in recent weeks and following discussions with Jersey’s Government and associated parties, we regret to announce that we are unable to stage the proposed ‘Battle of Flowers Festival of Lights’, which we had hoped would take place this August as an alternative to the traditional Battle of Flowers floral parades.
An event of this size and nature involves an enormous amount of prior planning and financial commitment, which we have not been able to commit to up to this point. Despite the encouraging news that the Island is slowly emerging from the Covid-:19 restrictions, there still remain a number of ‘uncertainties’ that has led us to take this difficult decision.
While the Government has indicated that large-scale public events may be able to proceed as from 14th June, there is still no certainty regarding what restrictions may still be in place or what may be introduced in August. With a new virus strain emerging on the Island, this may impact on the volumes of people allowed to attend, making it unviable to hold the parades.
Jersey’s Battle of Flowers regularly attracts in excess of 22,000 people over the two days with the ticket sales contributing towards paying the overall staging costs. Visitors holidaying in the Island make up a large proportion of our audience and, with the emergence of the Indian variant in the UK and beyond, there remains uncertainty which is likely to impact on attendance levels. With the significant possibility of reduced attendance numbers, it is likely this would result in insufficient revenue to cover such our costs.
While we remain encouraged and grateful to the Government of Jersey, who continue to support our efforts and agreed to financially assist both the exhibitors and the Board in the staging of the event, we cannot expect them to cover our costs if the event is subsequently cancelled or if we do not generate sufficient ticket sales income. Jackie Donald, Event Director says “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 maybe necessary if there are changes in Public Health policies”. There also remains the concern among the community that the mixing of such large numbers of people may cause any unwanted increase in Covid cases. The health and safety of everyone involved in the event, including spectators, and the Island remains our priority.
We remain committed to our exhibitors, who play such a vital role in ensuring the success of the parades. Lockdown restrictions have seriously limited the fundraising opportunities for them who, despite the generous grant offered by Jersey’s Government, still need to raise additional funds to create
their float. As fundraising has not been possible up to now and along with the continued uncertainties surrounding the event, it is of concern that, with only 11 weeks to go,, many would not be able to create a float to the standard that our spectators come to expect from such a prestigious carnival event.
With a number of exhibitors withdrawing from the parade, we feel that having a smaller parade this year could damage the brand more than enhancing it.
Senator Farnham, Minister for Economic Development, Tourism, Sport and Culture said “The Battle of Flowers is a longstanding 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.
Whilst we have taken the decision to cancel the traditional August parades we remain hopeful that some form of celebration, such as a Halloween and/or Christmas Parades may still be able to go ahead should circumstances allow. Although no formal plans have been made or submitted for approval, we will continue to work with various parties to look at our options. Although the parades will not happen in August, we are hopeful that the traditional funfair in Peoples’ Park, operated by Funtasia Funfairs will still go ahead, continuing to provide excitement and pleasure amongst the many people who have been awaiting its return.
In closing, on behalf of Jersey Battle of Flowers Board, we would like to express our sincere thanks for the continuing support and understanding shown to the event by the many agencies involved and in particular to our exhibitors and the local community, without whom we would be unable to continue with our plans and who, like us, will be saddened but understanding of this announcement. 2022 marks the 120th anniversary of the first staging of the Jersey Battle of Flowers and we all look forward to celebrating this milestone year – early indications show strong support from Jersey’s Government and of course our exhibitors, who look forward to sharing their creativity and making Battle 2022 one to remember.