The Jersey Battle of Flowers (BOF) is one of the Island’s oldest and most established events of the summer season, attracting large numbers of visitors and residents over the two days to enjoy this floral spectacle, which remains one of the most popular carnivals in Europe. And without doubt, it is one of Jersey’s most prominent community events, involving thousands of volunteers, giving up their free time over many months to put on a show for all to enjoy.
As organisers, we acknowledge and accept that activities need to evolve and move with the times to make it refreshing and memorable, without losing the core elements, which have made it the success that it is, and we strive to add different elements every year to keep the crowds entertained and encourage them to return. Therefore, we welcome and are open to receiving public and exhibitor comments and feedback to assist us in our future planning and ultimately, to provide spectators with new and exciting elements.
As any outdoor event organiser will concur, we can’t do anything to control the weather (sorry!) – whatever the time of the year! However, the safety and security of spectators, exhibitors and participants is of paramount importance to us and we take every measure we can to ensure the parade can operate within its safety limits. At times, we do have to take some measures to ensure that for the parades to continue for the enjoyment of all we must take certain measures, in collaboration with Emergency Services and other interested agencies. This was the case in 2019 when, due to expected high winds, we took the decision to remove some fixtures from the arena, which were considered a risk, such as the covered canopy over the Grandstand to make it safe for the Moonlight Parade to take place as well as cancelling the fireworks display and appearance of Aerosparx.
We receive tremendous support from Jersey’s media. The coverage we receive to promote the event both in the lead up to and during the event itself is tremendous and we remain grateful to them for their continuing support and endorsement. Equally, the increased use of social media has without doubt also helped us, as organisers and exhibitors, to spread the word among a wider audience, both locally as well as off-island. While social media posts can assist us to actively spread the word in a positive way it can, on occasion, have the opposite effect with factually incorrect opinions and posts uploaded, leading to confusion, concern and upset to individuals and organisations, many of whom have worked tirelessly to putting together what is, ultimately, a community event the entire Island should be proud of, whether you’re involved or not.
We have set up this Questions & Answers page to address some of the comments we frequently receive as a means of communicating with the wider public and giving you a better understanding of how we put together the parades and the reasons behind our decisions.
If you want to get in touch with your comments, suggestions and ideas then please email firstname.lastname@example.org – We look forward to hearing from you and thank you for your continued interest and support of the Jersey Battle of Flowers.
Please note we do not actively respond to every comment posted to us on pour social media pages but instead hope the following information will be of some assistance to you.
Questions & Answers
Q. Why can’t Battle be free entry?
A. It costs on average £450,000.00 per year to stage BOF. Over and above the government grant of £130k, which goes directly to the exhibitors proportionately to build and decorate their floats and not towards the actual staging of the event, the remainder of the costs incurred goes to several infrastructure activities. Specifically, the hire, transportation and installation of seating and barriers, entertainment, security, cleaning and maintenance, advertising and promotional expenses, staffing and general admin costs. Expenses which are naturally associated with the staging for any event of this size and nature. Revenue generated due to ticket sales contribute towards these expenses. In terms of seating costs, we offer a number of options for spectators. These range from reserved seating in the stands or reserved pavement seating to entry only for standing; similar seating options like other events such as concerts and theatre settings. As explained, the revenue received from ticket sales contributes to the overall staging of the parades, which is why we must continue to charge for entry. However, seating prices do vary. For example, ‘standing only’ entry fee costs in 2019 were just £7 per adult if booked in advance and children under 12 years received free entry if accompanied by a paying adult. Therefore, a family of two adults and three children under 12 years could gain entry to view the parade for just £14. Other seating costs range from £16 to £35 depending upon which seating option was selected. We also offer child discounts and family tickets.
Please refer to our website for ticket options and if in doubt, please give our ticket hotline a call when tickets go on sale.
Q. Why can’t the parades be held at the weekend, i.e. Saturday and Sunday to encourage higher attendance levels, especially among residents?
A. We are often asked this question! In fact, we held a public meeting a few years ago and after discussion the overall response was to retain the Thursday and Friday for several reasons. These include:
- The BOF relies heavily on attendance levels of visitors to the Island, which bring in valuable income to the Island and who holiday in Jersey specifically for the event.
- Saturdays are the busiest day of travel in and out of the Island and by staging on a Saturday would have a big impact on the island’s infrastructure. For example, road restrictions would severely impact on people’s journey to/from the airport and harbours as well as coach transfers.
- The States grant given to the event could also be impacted as it would be detrimental if visitor numbers dropped as a result.
- Moving the event to a Friday/Saturday is still up for future discussion but once again similar issues could be faced. Whatever we do, the Battle of Flowers is promoted as a major tourist event and we need to find a suitable balance that benefits both tourism and the local community for it to continue successfully.
Q. Why don’t you change the format to make it more interesting – it’s the same thing year after year
A. This is often posted by people who haven’t seen the parades for a number of reasons but those that do, the comments are generally favourable with comments such as “Wow, I’d forgotten how good it is”, “My family haven’t been for years, but we’re glad we have – how can we get involved in the future?” We have strived over recent years to introduce different elements to the Parades.
These have included more emphasis on the Moonlight Parade finale with the appearance of Aerosparx and larger and longer fireworks. Likewise, we have also introduced Little Gig on the Park to provide entertainment pre and post the parades with a greater range of catering and refreshment stalls to encourage people to make more of their visit. We are also restricted in the layout of the arena with no large space for static entertainment. However, the floral exhibits remain without doubt the most positive and enjoyable aspect of the event and there are no plans to change this – ultimately, this is part of the Battle experience.
Q. Why does the BOF lose money every year?
A. This is not factually correct. BOF is a not-for-profit organisation, which has recently received charitable status. As already stated, the event costs on average £450,000.00 per year to stage and like many outdoor events we are susceptible to weather conditions. If for example, weather conditions are poor this is likely to put off many people, residents who have a habit of booking events at the last minute. This of course impacts on overall revenue.
Q. What happens to the grant that the States gives you?
A. The government grant of £130k is given to the exhibitors proportionately to build and decorate their floats and not towards the actual staging and associated costs of the event. Revenue for undertaking these essential aspects are generated by ticket sales and commercial sponsorships.
Q. Why do you use the expression “It never rains on Battle day” when this is surely not the case?
A. Fair point – this is not an expression coined by organisers in recent years, especially with some of the inclement weather conditions we have had to contend with in recent years and we certainly don’t include it as part of our promotional messages. However, it does seem to be that during the actual parades themselves, especially on the Thursday, the rain does seem to hold off. Maybe we must thank someone high above for looking down favourably upon us!!!
Q. Why don’t we have carnival classes anymore?
A. We did attempt to reintroduce this in 2017 but the response was very poor that we were unable to stage even one carnival class. This is something we would still be keen to see happening, but the commitment is required by those asking for it.
Q. Why aren’t there any smaller floats in the parade nowadays?
A. There are a number of smaller floats in the parade, which are created and built by the juniors. These youngsters are the future of Battle and it is necessary for them to experience this and be involved from an early age.
Q. Why can’t there be a ‘Battle’ after the parades when people throw flowers at each other?
A. There are a number of reasons for this. Primarily health and safety results state that flowers and sweets can not be thrown from the floats for risk of injury to spectators. Similarly, there is a risk of injury to exhibitors and spectators attempting to storm the floats. In addition, most exhibitors participate in the following day’s Moonlight Parade as well as the Christmas Parades so do not want the risk of having their float destroyed.
Q. Why is more not made of the Town Parade?
A. Every attempt is made to attract participants to take part in the pre-Battle parade, but we are faced with a number of issues to contend with. The streets of St Helier are somewhat restricted in terms of size wise and equally, many of our exhibitors, both of large and smaller floats are still working to complete them in time for the main parade on the Thursday. However, it is something we wish to continue, and all ideas and suggestions are welcome.
Q. Why not have Battle every two years?
A. We run the risk that exhibitors will find other pursuits to follow in the summer, the momentum will be lost, and it would be very difficult to coax them back again. We cannot justify a reason why holding the event every two years will make a difference other than having a negative impact on all.
Q. Why can’t you find additional sponsorship to help fund the event?
A. Good question. Believe us, it’s not for want of trying! For its size, Jersey has a fantastic range of events throughout the summer and it is very difficult to source commercial funding. Companies are faced with a number of sponsorship opportunities, together with their own CSR commitments. However, those companies who do contribute to the main event and financial support towards exhibitors make a tremendous difference and we are all grateful for their continuing support. However, we are always pleased to receive sponsorship enquiries and are happy to meet with companies and individuals to chat through opportunities and potential benefits for all. #happytotalk
Hope this has helped answer the questions that often get asked in Social Media and are often answered by individuals inaccurately.