A four-day festival will take place from Friday 24 to Monday 27 September to mark the 250th anniversary of the major legislative reform that transformed society in Jersey, as a result of the Corn Riots.
The Corn Riots Festival, or La Folle d’Avoût, brings the French Festival and the Fête du Jèrriais into a wider programme of events, which includes a culinary and craft market in Beresford Street and Halkett Street; musical, theatrical and film shows in the Royal Square; exhibitions; talks; dance workshops; an inter-parish pétanque tournament; and a parade from Trinity Church to the Royal Square.
Deputy Montfort Tadier, who successfully proposed that islanders enjoy a bank holiday on Monday 27 September as part of the 250th anniversary commemorations of the Corn Riots, is co-chair of the organising committee.
“This year marks the 250th anniversary of one of the most meaningful moments in the development of the freedom and democracy we enjoy today,” he said. “The flavour of the festival will be a blend of our historic Norman heritage and roots with the brilliance of our contemporary cultural scene. Culture in Jersey is distinct and vibrant, and we’re glad to include Maison de la Normandie, Alliance Française, as well as L'Office du Jèrriais in the planning team so that the festival is a showcase of all that makes Jersey unique and is a celebration of our diverse and complex cultural identity.”
In 1769, frustrations with food shortages, rising prices, an unfair taxation system, and Jersey’s power structure led to the storming of the Royal Court by around 500 Islanders in what became known as The Corn Riots. Two years later, the Code of 1771 was introduced, establishing controls on the authority of the Royal Court and States Assembly.
Deputy Kirsten Morel, Assistant Minister with Responsibility for Arts, Culture and Heritage, said: “The festivities are both a commemoration of the past and of Jersey’s cultural spirit in the present and into the future. I’d like to see Jersey become a vibrant place for artists to work and make a good living and I’d also like us all to know more about our island’s political and cultural histories. Festivals such as this play an important part in achieving those goals.
“There’s a definite sense that now is the time of political and cultural renewal in Jersey, after one of the toughest periods in living memory. I hope that this event will send a signal to Islanders about how important arts and culture is to our recovery.”
More information on the festival programme is available on gov.je/cornriots.