JAM on the Marsh 2023: Review

One month ago, we closed our 10th JAM on the Marsh festival, concluding two fantastic weeks celebrating extraordinary music, art and theatre, all performed by outstanding artists.

From intimate concerts with world-class musicians such as classical guitarist Craig Ogden, tenor Nicky Spence and the Joe Stilgoe Trio, to the powerful 60-voice Delaware Choral Scholars bringing flavours of American choral music and the world premiere commissioned by JAM of a community oratorio with over 100 performers – this diverse festival offered engagement and enjoyment for all generations.

Joe Stilgoe is an internationally acclaimed singer, pianist and songwriter performs at the JAM on the Marsh arts festival.
The Joe Stilgoe Trio

"Music-lovers who crave the right setting and atmosphere for their orchestral and choral passions will find it all here, at JAM on the Marsh."

Thanks to Festival Curator Nicholas Cleobury’s eclectic programme, this year’s JAM on the Marsh not only presented an opportunity to enjoy all-time favourites, but to discover new works of music and art. With several first appearances and as many as six world premieres, JAM on the Marsh was full of memorable moments:

  • The performance collective Marginalia celebrated the first performance of their energetic interpretation of Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel

  • John Frederick Hudson and Cyrill Ibrahim took on Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and premiered Paul Mealor’s The Fading Banks of Dee, the composers’ first ever composition for four hand–piano, written for the performers
John Frederick Hudson and Cyrill Ibrahim perform Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring and a new commission by royal composer Paul Mealor in the JAM on the Marsh arts festival.
John Frederick Hudson & Cyrill Ibrahim
Nicky Spence tenor with Dylan Perez (piano) sings some of the best songs by Noel Coward at JAM on the Marsh arts festival.
Nicky Spence, tenor
  • Nicholas Cleobury conducted the London Mozart Players in a magnificent concert celebrating well-known and newer works by British composers, including JAM’s Festival Commission from 2019 by James Aburn


  • An undeniable festival highlight was certainly the greatly anticipated premiere of JAM’s biggest ever commission: Richard Peat’s community oratorio The Sky Engine saw accomplished artists perform alongside community players and school children from the Romney Marsh
World premiere of this community oratorio with local schools, the London Mozart Players and Canterbury Cathedral Boys Choir.
Canterbury Cathedral Boys Choir in The Sky Engine
  • In another festival first, artworks were cut into pieces for the ‘Desecration of Paris’: visitors were able to buy sections of France Tetreault’s incredible canvases, which she cut out for them on the last day of the festival

“Such an amazing two weeks, I really liked the mix of exciting music and ancient sites.”

Changeling Theatre performs Sheridan's The School for Scandal as outdoor theatre in JAM on the Marsh in Kent.
Changeling Theatre

We were pleased to welcome back many of our previous collaborators for the celebration of our 10th anniversary: Rebecca Afonwy-Jones, John Ballard, Michael Bawtree, Simon Blendis, Canterbury Cathedral Boys Choir, Changeling Theatre, Penny Graham, Simon Hogan, John Frederick Hudson, London Mozart Players, Craig Ogden, Sacconi Quartet as well as Anna Tilbrook.

It was equally wonderful to see many new artists give their JAM on the Marsh debut: Tom Bell, Saoko Blendis, Wendy Carrig, Kudzanayi Chiwawa, Hanna Hipp, Cyrill Ibrahim, Marginalia, Dylan Perez, Oliver Soden, Sounds Baroque, Nicky Spence, France Tetreault and The Joe Stilgoe Trio.

A special Thank You goes out to our wonderful volunteers, who have supported us and the arts in the last years, and to all our returning and new audience members – we hope you enjoyed JAM on the Marsh as much as we did and look forward to welcoming you back to the 11th edition from 4-14 July 2024.

The great variety and exceptional quality of the events perfectly summarised the first decade of JAM on the Marsh and we look forward to many more!

“Loved visiting the art exhibitions and speaking to the artists. The entire festival was brilliant - I enjoyed absolutely everything!”

Alongside musical fireworks, festival regular Changeling Theatre entertained the audience with two outstanding performances, and four extraordinary exhibitions from local talent invited festival visitors to marvel at artworks inspired by nature and music.