In 1066 Jersey was governed by and formed part of France and Jersey men were at the Battle of Hastings as part of William the Conqueror’s army and thus we can claim to have defeated England in Battle! In 1204 when King John lost his French territories Jersey was given the choice of remaining a part of France or becoming part of Great Britain's territory. We choose to become British and have remained staunchly loyal to the Crown ever since time. We have paid heavily for that loyalty, being constantly under attack and occasionally invaded by France during the Napoleonic Wars – which saw two major castles – Mont Orgueil and Elizabeth Castle, a number of Forts (we hold the final festival evening in one) and numerous Martello Towers being constructed around the Island. During the second world war Jersey was occupied for five years by Germany and we have many fine museums and fortifications to visit, numerous ‘bunkers’ and the ‘German Underground Hospital’. Jersey has retained it’s independence, however, and although it is part of Great Britain, we have our own Government, we make our own laws and we print our own money.
The French influence is every where to be seen as it was only between the world wars that English became the predominant language – all our road signs are still in French. It adds to Jersey’s immense natural charm. Jersey has a rich farming heritage and most of the farms, together with all major buildings in the Island, have been built in our softly coloured orange and pink Jersey granite. Our countryside is lush and green and our beaches are golden bordered by a deep blue sea. Jersey is a feast for the eyes and the taste buds!. Over the last twenty years, because of its independent tax status, Jersey has become a major world financial centre and thus we have many world class restaurants at much more affordable prices than one would find in most parts of Europe. St Helier is the capital of Jersey and as you will be staying there you will be able to enjoy a VAT free shopping centre with pedestrian precincts with many very good restaurants. A tour of the Island and/or a visit to the world famous Gerald Durrell Wildlife Preservation Trust (Jersey Zoo) where you will see many endangered species which you would not see in any other part of the world – lowland gorillas etc. is a must.
As an Island, and thus for many centuries left to our own devises, we have had to make our own entertainment and naturally singing has formed a major part of our lives. Jersey has a long choral tradition and it has many amateur choirs of a good standard. It is these singers who run the festival because they love their hobby and their Island.