JAM on the Marsh: Virtual Festival
6-15 August 2020. Expect the unexpected.

JAM on the Marsh is an annual multi-arts festival built around Kent’s magnificent Romney Marsh. Each year in early July,  JAM on the Marsh spans the Romney Marsh from Dungeness to Hythe. The famous medieval Marsh churches are true beacons of culture and history; they are the heart of the festival.

In this extraordinary time, when the arts world has been decimated by Covid-19, and most festivals have cancelled or postponed, JAM on the Marsh is thrilled to be able present 9 new concerts and 3 sensational exhibitions. Featuring some of the finest musicians in the UK and beyond, these concerts will span a huge range of music, from some of the most popular works – Barber’s Adagio, Fauré’s Requiem – to world premieres by Paul Mealor, Nicola Lefanu and Michael Finnissy.

Virtual JAM on the Marsh 2020

Opening the festival, The Gesualdo Six makes its JAM on the Marsh debut with a stunning concert featuring music from the 11th Century to today, including Byrd, Tallis and Poulenc and a world premiere by Joanna Ward.

Onyx Brass continues the festival with a concert of British jazz written for brass quintet, commissioned by the group to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

Rachel Fryer presents 2 concerts of Bach’s Goldberg Variations interwoven with 21st century responses, written by five acclaimed living composers, receiving their world premieres.

Daniel Cook, Master of the Choristers and organist of Durham Cathedral is a previous Curator of JAM on the Marsh. One of the finest organists in the UK, his organ recital iss a truly European affair, with music from the UK (Judith Bingham and Arthur Milner), Germany (Bach and Mendelssohn) and France (Dupré, Guilmant and Vierne).

Green Opera presents the remarkable story of Eugine Schumann and Marie Fillunger, via a selection of lieder songs by Brahms, Clara & Robert Schumann interspersed with readings of letters between the two.

Rebecca Afonwy-Jones (mezzo) and Anna Tilbrook bring a recital of songs originated from a hashtag: #SolaceinNature. This hashtag has provided them with an important focus in this previously uncharted and often painful isolation. This recital starts with Elgar and marches through time to Jonathan Dove, visiting Madeleine Dring and Benjamin Britten.

The Gesualdo Six with the London Mozart Players and Simon Hogan (organ) perform Fauré’s ever-popular Requiem, interspersed with new poetry by the Welsh poet, Grahame Davies. This performance is dedicated to everyone affected by Coronavirus.

The Final concert of the festival pairs the London Mozart Players with Festival Curator, Michael Bawtree (conductor) and John Frederick Hudson (piano) to present the world premiere of Paul Mealor’s Piano Concerto. This fantastic programme includes music by Romney Marsh-based composer Peter Aviss, Samuel Barber, Judith Bingham and Arvo Part.

Three exhibitions can be accessed via www.jamconcert.org throughout the festival. Tristan Fewings and Susan Pilcher present very different, retrospective photography exhibitions based on Romney Marsh; one connected to the sky and sea and the other shot in the dark. The third exhibition is of drone photography by Carsten Birkebaek of Jon Foreman’s beach art, shot during last year’s festival on Dymchurch beach.


JAM on the Marsh 2019

The 2019 festival ran from 4th – 14th July, and included music, exhibitions, children’s events, theatrical performances, poetry recitals and a churches tour. Highlights came thick and fast, including Jon Foreman’s astounding beach art, The King Singers, Changeling Theatre’s Nell Gwynn and the London Mozart Players giving the English premiere of Paul Mealor’s 2nd Symphony.

Education is a focal point of the festival and our programmes included working with primary school children, older students and the general public in general; around 500 people joined us on the final day of the festival to try their hand at beach art with Jon Foreman! Taking 30 primary school children to rehearse in the choir stalls of Canterbury Cathedral was a high point, soon to be followed by their performance in Hythe of Paul Mealor’s The Farthest Shore, with The Chapel Choir of Selwyn College Cambridge, The Girls’Choir of Canterbury Cathedral and Onyx Brass, under Michael Bawtree.

During JAM’s 2019 season we were involved with the creation of close to 100 new works, including music, photography, beach art, theatre and poetry.

Our packed Children’s Sunday at the Romney Marsh Visitors Centre was a huge success, ‘JAM’-packed with art, crafts, drama and steam trains.
Throughout the festival a bus service was provided to most events for just £1 return, enabling people without their own transport to partake in the festival, in an area where transport is not easy.

JAM on the Marsh 2018

JAM on the Marsh 2018 was a triumph, with audience numbers up across all events. The festival included seven concerts, six exhibitions, four poetry recitals, two theatre productions, a Sunday devoted to children’s activities and a churches tour.

Highlights came thick and fast, starting on the opening day with Changeling Theatre’s brilliant, open-air production of Noel Coward’s comedy classic Blithe Spirit. Another theatrical highlight was Sabotage Theatre and Bridegtower Music’s stunning production of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale. Musical highlights included voces8 and the Canterbury Cathedral Girls’ Choir, the BBC Singers and the London Mozart Players with the Mousai Singers.

A visiual highlight was Justin Sutcliffe’s extraordinary exhibition, Objects are people too, where he captured faces in unexpected objects.

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