JAM on the Marsh

2024 Festival

From 4-14 July, JAM on the Marsh returns to the unspoiled landscape of Kent’s Romney Marsh for its 11th festival. The programme features a stunning array of international and local artists, lighting up the Kent coast with music, theatre, film, poetry and art. Unfolding in a variety of intimate locations; from the famous mediaeval churches to local gardens and steam railway carriages; JAM on the Marsh will bring the arts to unexpected places. Embracing New York, Vienna, Soho and Canterbury, Festival Curator Nicholas Cleobury has created an unmissable multi-arts festival, guaranteeing unforgettable experiences.

JAM on the Marsh Festival Curator Nicholas Cleobury shares the inspiration behind the programme of art, music and theatre.JAM on the Marsh Festival Curator Nicholas Cleobury shares the inspiration behind the programme of art, music and theatre.
Nicholas Cleobury, Festival Curator 2023/24

JAM on the Marsh offers an eclectic mix of unmissable events, giving audience members the rare opportunity to get up close to world-class performers such as internationally renowned tenor Mark Padmore, sought after horn player Ben Goldscheider, festival-favourites Changeling Theatre and London Mozart Players (LMP), the outstanding pianist Anna Tilbrook, Canterbury Cathedral Choir and many more.

The festival opens with a talk by the Edith Nesbit Foundation and a screening of the evergreen adaptation of The Railway Children, giving the audience the opportunity to celebrate one of the UK’s favourite authors and former resident of Romney Marsh. Festival goers will then have the chance to go behind the scenes of this year’s programme with curator Nicholas Cleobury who will share his ideas in a special Festival Launch. The first evening of the festival concludes with a now-traditional Changeling Theatre performance: Kent’s favourite outdoor theatre company will entertain the audience with Noël Coward’s Present Laughter.

Ben Goldscheider, Mark Padmore and London Mozart Players perform Holst, Delius & Elgar and world premieres by John Frederick Hudson and Jago Thornton at JAM on the Marsh.
Mark Padmore, tenor and Ben Goldschieder, horn

The festival then unfolds with From Holst to Hudson with celebrated musicians Mark Padmore and Ben Goldscheider performing music by Delius, Elgar, Holst and two world premieres of Festival Commissions from John Frederick Hudson and Jago Thornton; 1934 explores the changing sound world from Holst and Elgar to Birtwistle and Maxwell Davies; the Holst Singers and renowned British conductor Stephen Layton invite to A Choral Feast of Britten, Howells and Walton.

Rosie Moon performs 12 Dragonetti Waltzes on a rare 3-string Gagliano double bass at JAM on the Marsh.
Rosie Moon, double bass

Found in a Kent home, JAM on the Marsh will host the first public appearance for 100 years of a rare 18th century Gagliano 3-string double bass, in rich and superb condition. Acclaimed Rosie Moon will take the audience on an aural world tour, performing the melodic, lively 12 Dragonetti Waltzes. The late, great Rinat Ibragimov recorded on this instrument receiving 3.5million views on YouTube. The tour continues the next day with an Afternoon in Vienna waltzing the audience to the Austrian capital with a concert of Strauss and Haydn. 

JAM Sinfonia performs Strauss waltzes and Haydn, arranged by Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern, members of the Second Viennese School at JAM on the Marsh.
Dan Shao, flute

Confirming JAM’s commitment to the community JAM on the Marsh puts local talent in the limelight: the Canterbury Cathedral Choir perform the ever-popular Fauré’s Requiem together with LMP;  in Community Singing a multigenerational choir of school children and over 50s join Onyx Brass in a performance of Bob Chilcott’s lively A Sporting Chance; the new JAM Festival Orchestra made up of community musicians and professional LMP players makes its festival debut with an audacious programme of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and Vaugan Williams The Lark Ascending.

JAM on the Marsh offers a tour to Prospect Cottage, the former home of iconic gay-rights activist and filmmaker Derek Jarman.
Prospect Cottage, home of Derek Jarman

The late filmmaker and Dungeness resident Derek Jarman, who died 30 years ago, is celebrated with a visit to his former home Prospect Cottage, a screening of his adaptation of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem and Mark Farrelly’s vibrant solo play Jarman. The premiere of Four Short Operas with libretti based on Derek Jarman’s life will furthermore celebrate this pioneering artist. 

Piano-violin duo Simon and Saoko Blendis and their son Aki Blendis perform Mozart, Britten and Gershwin at JAM on the Marsh.
Simon and Saoko Blendis

Other festival highlights include Stephen Farr’s recital of Bach’s masterpiece The Goldberg Variations on the harpsichord, as well as a concert of The Blendis Trio, with husband-wife duo Simon and Saoko Blendis performing Mozart, Dvořák and Britten together with their son Aki, BBC Young Musician finalist.

Also not to be missed is Changeling Theatre’s second act at the festival, as they return with their enthralling production of Shakespeare’s Henry V.

Marking the last concert of his time as festival curator, Nicholas Cleobury will close the 11th JAM on the Marsh with Mahler’s 4th – the first ever performance of a symphony at our festival.

JAM on the Marsh Festival Curator Nicholas Cleobury conducts the JAM Sinfonia in a concert including Mahlers’ Symphony No 4 and Cameron Biles-Liddell Flute Concerto.
Felicitas Wrede, soprano

Amidst the music, film and theatre, JAM on the Marsh offers art enthusiasts and concert goers the opportunity to explore a variety of works from talented artists – from wave-created cyanotypes, to printmaking and marshland paintings. The free exhibitions will be on display every day in JAM on the Marsh venues, Marsh Academy Leisure Centre and Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway carriages, cross-pollinating and boosting audience experiences. 

Marshlands by James Norton, painter

With just one hour from London’s St Pancras, and a festival shuttle bus running from Friday to Sunday from Ashford International station, JAM on the Marsh is easily accessible for anyone joining from further afield.