Nicholas Cleobury conductor Kudzanayi Chiwawa, the JAM Sinfonia and Hanna Hipp in works by legendary French composers Debussy, Berlioz and Poulenc.

2024 Festival Preview

JAM on the Marsh · 4-14 July 2024
World Class, Up Close: 1 hour from London

JAM on the Marsh is held in the mediaeval churches of Kent’s Romney Marsh, overlooking the English Channel. This unique multi-arts festival can be reached in only 1-hour from London St Pancras. JAM’s festival shuttle bus will meet you at Ashford International Station and transfer you to a performance of your choice, after which it will return you to Ashford. Come and join us and ‘be part of something truly amazing’.

Meet the Festival Curator Nicholas Cleobury for JAM on the Marsh


Every two years, JAM invites a highly respected artist to curate JAM on the Marsh. This two-year position ensures that the festival remains dynamic, ever developing and continuously changing. 2023 was the first festival of esteemed conductor, Nicholas Cleobury. It was an absolute success with wonderful art exhibitions, plays and concerts. It was a joy to work with Nick on his programming and watching the joy it brought to our audience. As you would expect, 2024 is pretty much in the bag, and promises to be as thrilling as last year.

Nick has been involved with JAM for 20 years, having first conducted us in 2004 and having been a Music Panel member ever since. He has significantly influenced JAM’s renowned commissioning programme for many years, premiering many resulting pieces.

Not only is Nick a highly regarded conductor, but his service to music is huge having founded and led Canterbury’s Sounds New Festival, founded the Britten Sinfonia, led Britten in Oxford, Oxford’s response to Britten’s centenary in 2013, and until recently been Head of Opera at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, Brisbane.

Changeling Theatre at JAM on the Marsh


Those of you who enjoyed Nick’s programming last year could be forgiven for wondering how he might follow it in 2024. But do not fear, he has created a wonderful schedule of multi-arts for everyone.

There is an exciting mix of new artists and those who have thrilled us before. Changeling Theatre opens the festival with a new production of Noel Coward’s Present Laughter and return a week later with Shakespeare’s Henry V. The music starts with an astonishing concert, in which we will hear the world premiere of a work by John Frederick Hudson performed by one of the world’s finest tenors, Mark Padmore (making his festival debut), Ben Goldscheider (horn) and the London Mozart Players under Nicholas Cleobury.

Marking the 30th anniversary of Derek Jarman’s death, we invite our audience to visit his home, Prospect Cottage at Dungeness, to see one of his great films, War Requiem, at Cinemarsh and experience a one-man play about his life, Jarman.

Other musical highlights include the return of the Holst Singers, with Stephen Layton making his festival debut, the launch of JAM’s Festival Orchestra where professional musicians from the London Mozart Players play side-by-side with amateur players from the Marsh community, including Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending with stunning young soloist, Aki Blendis and Gershwin’s jazz-influenced Rhapsody in Blue. Canterbury Cathedral Choir are joined by the London Mozart Players for a performance of Fauré’s Requiem, with poems written for JAM in 2020 by Grahame Davies inserted between the movements. Our final concert, performed by JAM Sinfonia, includes Cameron Biles-Liddell’s Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra with Daniel Shao and another first at JAM on the Marsh, Mahler’s 4th Symphony.

John Ballard returns to the festival with a fascinating exhibition of photography, pen and ink drawings and oil paintings of all the Romney Marsh churches that the festival will visit for performances. His is one of four exhibitions in the festival, which will be held in the Marsh Academy Leisure Centre, the carriages of the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway and the Marsh churches.

Most of 2023’s performances at JAM on the Marsh sold out last year, with many events having waiting lists. We urge you to book early for this year’s festival, which promises to be our best yet.

Composers' Course at JAM on the Marsh with Prospect Cottage and Derek Jarman in writing for opera.


2023 saw JAM’s Masterclass Series broaden into a Composers’ Residency. This involved four composers spending 12 days composing string quartets during JAM on the Marsh. On the final Saturday of the festival, the Sacconi Quartet gave the world premieres of four new quartets. These were filmed and presented as part of JAM Virtual.

For 2024 the Composers’ Residency turns to opera. Led by Paul Mealor and with guest tutors Jonathan Dove, Shirley Thompson, John Frederick Hudson, librettist Grahame Davies and Nicholas Cleobury, four composers will write 15-minute operas based on Derek Jarman’s life and works, to libretti by Grahame Davies. In collaboration with singers from the Royal College of Music, these new works will be rehearsed during the festival and performed and filmed on the penultimate day JAM on the Marsh. At a time when residential courses for composers are dying, all of us at JAM are incredibly proud to working with and developing the future of such a vital art form.

JAM on the Marsh is a vibrant arts festival only one hour from London St Pancras Station via Southeastern Railways to Ashford International Station.


JAM will again be offering our Festival Bus to shuttle audience from Ashford International station. This service enables you to be in any of our Romney Marsh venues an hour after leaving St Pancras station. All evening concerts start at 7pm, enabling you to be back in central London around 10pm. We really believe that the Festival Bus enables you to be part of JAM on the Marsh whether you live in London or many towns connected to Ashford International. As such, we hope that you will come and join us at one of the best festivals, in the most wonderful mediaeval buildings, a festival where dreams come true.