Rural – Jersey Country Life Magazine

FRENCH CONNECTIONS: CORN RIOTS FESTIVAL CREATES CULTURAL LINKS WITH NORMANDY

Jersey’s Government has announced plans to build on the success of the 2022 Corn Riots Festival to develop cultural and trade links with our ‘close cousins’ in France. 

The three-day celebration of Jersey’s cultural and historical identity featured Normandy market traders, musicians, and Normandy Tourism representatives whose French Quarter in Parade Gardens attracted an estimated 1,000 people each day. 

Jersey’s Minister for Economic Development, Deputy Kirsten Morel, said that Normandy Tourism had provided ‘fantastic support financially and organisationally’. 

‘I hope that this will set a precedent where Jersey events can welcome musicians, artists, entertainers, and traders from our neighbouring regions in France to celebrate our shared heritage. 

‘My ambition is for the Corn Riots to become an annual celebration of Jersey’s modern multicultural identity, with educational elements which support our Jèrriais language and a stage for home-grown talent across the arts. But I see it also as an opportunity to develop links with our neighbours by celebrating their talent too.’ 

A taste of Normandy 

The French Quarter featured stalls selling food and products from across Normandy, and a musical bus with performing bands. A total of 37 people travelled to Jersey to be part of the event, including musicians and stallholders.  

The head of Normandy Tourism, Michael Dodds, said: ‘We had a great time at the festival. The blend of Jersey and Norman musicians, food, and entertainment worked really well, and we were delighted that so many Islanders were able to enjoy a little taste of Normandy. 

‘We hope they will visit now us and see what there is just across the water…after all, we are close cousins!’ 

Building cultural connections  

Deputy Morel will be joining the Chief Minister, Deputy Kristina Moore, and the Minister for External Relations, Deputy Philip Ozouf on a diplomatic visit to Brittany and Normandy this week. 

Ministers will be undertaking cultural and political engagements in Rennes and Paris before joining colleagues from Guernsey and France at the annual Normandy Summit in Caen. 

During the Summit, Jersey Heritage will also be visiting the Fabrique des Patrimoines, a network of museums and historical sites in Normandy, where they will be exploring opportunities for future cooperation. 

Celebrating the Corn Riots 

Last year, the inaugural Corn Riots Festival marked the 250th anniversary of the major legislative reform that transformed society in Jersey as a result of the Corn Riots. 

This year’s festival included live acts across three stages, and stalls, stands and exhibitions in the Royal Square, Town Church, Broad Street, Charing Cross, as well as the Parade Gardens’ French Zone. 

The riots, which prompted reforms in Jersey’s government, took place on 28 September 1769 and involved hundreds of Islanders protesting against landowners exporting wheat from Jersey, driving up domestic prices. 

The march that protesters took from Trinity Church to the Royal Square was again recreated. This year’s march featured L’Etoile Cirée, a brass band from Granville and one of the three bands from Normandy who came for the Corn Riots Festival.

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