While I was in Berlin, during some of my quieter moments, I read a delightful book entitled The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, set in the wartime Channel Islands. It was, then, quite a coincidence to arrive a few days later in Jersey and find that I was just in time for the annual celebrations of the Liberation (9 May) of the only part of Britain to have come under enemy rule, in the years just before my birth. And, much to my delight, the occasion is being celebrated not by marches and parades and cannon-firings (although these may also happen, I don’t know) but with a Music Festival.
Now, the word ‘Festival’ has become somewhat discoloured over recent decades. You see an ‘International Festival’ billed, and then discover that it consists of a Persian lady singing 14th century Chinese songs, a mime troupe from the Yucatan, six hours of the songs of Eisler, and an orchestral concert in which the soloists play two vacuum cleaners and a French alphorn. You wouldn’t catch me, for one, within a mile of such stuff.
In Jersey, however, it is not like that. The Music Festival here is not made up of programmes and people which and whom only the more esoteric specialists of the musical and dramatic worlds find interesting, but concerts and events that appeal to a wide section of that public who just enjoy music, of all kinds, performed by already well-known young artists in fun surroundings. And I, of course, count myself very firmly among that number.
So, over the next three days – handicapped only by the need to find public transport (taxis here are ruinous) to get from one venue and town to another – I’m going to take in as many as possible of the ten events on the Festival programme and, as ever, I will tell you ‘all about it, all about it’.
Take off time is 1.15pm, so I guess I had better get my shoes on and start the trek across town to the Royal Square and event number one .…