Fête des Vignerons 2019

An “intangible cultural heritage” (as recognized by UNESCO)

Once a generation since 1797 on the ‘Place du Marché’ in Vevey. Most recent: 1955, 1977, 1999, & 2019

Complete history on the site of the Confrérie des Vignerons.

Arena Vevey

A 20,000 place stadium constructed for 20 performances.
5500 voluntary ‘figurants’
for whom the costume budget is CHF12m
Total budget is close to CHF 100m, about double that of 1999. It is known that the project has ended with a serious financial deficit, but let’s not lose track of the magnificent accomplishments of this gigantic undertaking; and to the incredible heart & soul investment of thousands of unpaid actors, musicians, choristers, and other volunteers.   Photo: © Samuel-Rubio/Fête-des-Vignerons

Go here for larger screen version of our latest feature from Vevey.

Professional video capture: :

1. Camera on overhead cables, maneuverable like a drone in 3D – like a Spidercam, the one used here is by “XDmotion“.
2. Fast walking with Stedicam camera.
3. Stedicam again – but riding a Segway !  We can see how these shots are used so effectively to provide incredible fluidity of movement with excellent stability.
4. Static (tripod-mounted).
5. For some performances there was also a drone in operation (clear on the TV production).

We can expect great results with the public offering of DVD and blue-ray products using this really serious arsenal of cameras. Yet, however good the video images, we believe it will be difficult to re-create the ambience of being there. It appears that the biggest open discussion between those having seen the show (and some who have not!) is on the merits of daytime versus evening experiences.

The audio system is by Meyer Sound – main (black) speakers suspended from the eight 30-meter-high masts – with (white) proximity loudspeakers throughout the arena as well – 400 of them in total:

After the show is over, the whole arena must be dismantled before mid-October to allow the circus to come again (exception is the wooden construction over the lake and the removal of the 260 wooden piles which support it). Here is just one element of the deconstruction – the eight 30 meter high sound masts.

and the arena was cleared just on schedule even if four sound mast tower tops remained to greet the incoming circus!

The above circus photo was October, below we are in December – the wooden structure and its platform over the lake is disappearing steadily, revealing the wooden piles which we assume will be removed before the year end.

It is now one year since those piles were placed and major earth works of the arena “basement” were dug for housing the main stage central ramp. It was not evident how there was sufficient space for “Les Cent-Suisses” soldiers to appear during the show from below the floor of the arena when the stage height above the Grand Place was no more than the height of a man. It turns out that the effect was possible only by creating a deep pit into which the 20 meter long ramp could descend. The construction is as impressive as the daring investment decision to make this and other significant parts of the arena possible! (much more on this in our coming documentary).


Our photo above, taken during deconstruction, shows part of the the concrete pit and the “hinge” end of the 20m long and 4 meter-wide ramp. The ramp in its raised position must hold the weight of many performers as well as vehicles – it also carries part of the LED floor, continuing to display as it descends and rises. In the raised position it is difficult to see any tell-tale gap; precision of positioning of the ramp is to the millimeter – amazing for such a large and heavy structure. Photo below shows part of the center section.