Previous Festivals at JAM on the Marsh

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.

JAM on the Marsh · 6 - 16 August 2020

Michael Bawtree

Michael Bawtree

Festival Curator

Edward Armitage

Edward Armitage

Artistic Director

John Frederick Hudson

John Frederick Hudson

Events · Production Manager

JAM on the Marsh: VIRTUAL 2020 presented 9 new concerts and 3 exhibitions, staying true to our mission to support audiences, performers, artists and venues. Being a creative and forward-thinking organisation, JAM on the Marsh re-invented its summer festival on Kent’s Romney Marsh, making it available virtually for audiences around the world to enjoy.

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 one of the finest organists in the UK. His organ recital is 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 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 Pärt.

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, photographed during the 2019 festival on Dymchurch beach.

JAM on the Marsh · 4 - 14 July 2019

Michael Bawtree

Michael Bawtree

Festival Curator

Edward Armitage

Edward Armitage

Artistic Director

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

The 2019 festival ran from 4 – 14 July, and included music, exhibitions, children’s events, theatrical performances, poetry recitals and a churches tour. Highlights include 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.

JAM on the Marsh · 5 - 15 July 2018

Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook

Festival Curator

Edward Armitage

Edward Armitage

Artistic Director

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.

JAM on the Marsh · 6 - 16 July 2017

Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook

Festival Curator

Edward Armitage

Edward Armitage

Artistic Director

JAM on the Marsh 2017, our biggest, boldest and most exciting festival to date. As ever, we have tried to bring thrilling events both from afar and nearby, encouraging local artists and perfumers to be involved. Of the 26 events, 15 include participants who either live or herald from Kent. 

The programming this year has a mixture of festival ‘firsts’ and returning artists. We have our first Shakespeare play – Hamlet –, our first all-day children’s event, Susan Pilcher and John Dolye bring their first exhibitions, jazz makes its first appearance with the David Rees-Williams Trio, Jamie Walton plays the solo cello part in our Vimy Ridge commemoration and Anita Strevens makes her first appearance playing all six of Bach Cello Suites. 

We also start the first year of a three-year singing project in collaboration with Kent Music, six Marsh Primary Schools and the Marsh Academy. Our returning artists include: BBC Singers, London Mozart Players, Sabotage Theatre, Sounds Baroque, Onyx Brass and Michal Rogalski; exhibitions by Tristan Fewings and Jillian Bain Christie; a poetry recital by Jonty Driver and two church tours involving the Romney Marsh Historic Churches Tour.

Between the Sea and the Sky 4

JAM on the Marsh · 7 - 17 July 2016

Paul Mealor

Paul Mealor

Festival Curator

Edward Armitage

Edward Armitage

Artistic Director

JAM on the Marsh 2016 is an exciting year. We feel that it is important to keep the festival fresh and constantly evolving. To this end, of the 24 events this year there are many ‘firsts’: the first time a concert has taken place in the engine shed of the Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway in New Romney, the first time that we have hosted the BBC Singers with a Radio 3 broadcast, the fist visit of the Sacconi Quartet, the London Mozart Players and the Magnard Ensemble, the first recital by local organist, Dean Hayward. It’s the first time that the Romney Marsh Visitor Centre has become the ‘Arts Hub’ of the festival, hosting three new artists or group to the festival.

There are many festival favourites too, such as Onyx Brass, Nicholas Cleobury, local schools performing Ex Cathedra’s Singing Playgrounds, the Mousai Singers, Daniel Cook, Sound Baroque and the Chapel Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge who, with their conductor Sarah MacDonald, have performed with JAM since 2002.

JAM on the Marsh · 9 - 19 July 2015

Paul Mealor

Paul Mealor

Festival Curator

Edward Armitage

Edward Armitage

Artistic Director

JAM on the Marsh 2015 includes an amazing array of music, art and culture in this year’s festival, which brings the world’s best music to this idyllic, beautiful place. 

The opening concert of this season features two of our favourite and most regular performers, Claire Seaton (soprano) and Andrew Radley (countertenor). They were joined with early music specialists Sound Baroque, directed by Julian Perkins, bringing Pergolessi’s achingly beautiful Stabat Mater and Bach’s great Brandenburg Concerto No.5 to St Dunstan’s Church, Snargate. 

The fabulous Daniel Cook performing an organ recital on the Salisbury Cathedral’s Willis organ, at Lydd Church. The wonderful Mousai Singers performing Durufle’s spellbinding and deeply spiritual, Requiem to live, and a concert of popular orchestral classics from the Festival Chamber Orchestra of Canterbury. The Safari Opera Gala and Dinner will be held at Port Lympe Mansion Hotel, surrounded by wild animals and overlooking the Marsh. 

Promoting contemporary music, the Chapel Choir of Selwyn College, Cambridge performs the festival commission, The Voices of Our Ancestors, by one of the UK’s greatest composers, Thea Musgrave, along with Paul Patterson’s The Fifth Continent, all about the Marsh.

JAM on the Marsh · 11 - 20 July 2014

Judith Bingham

Judith Bingham

Festival Curator

Edward Armitage

Edward Armitage

Artistic Director

Welcome to the first JAM on the Marsh, a multi-arts festival, on Kent’s glorious Romney Marsh. JAM has been putting on high quality performances of music since it was formed in 2000. We work and broadcast with some of the finest performers in the UK, most noticeably on Radio 3.

Highlights of the festival include Rachmaninoff’s intensely beautiful Vespers, bringing one of Scotland’s great performance groups, Red Note Ensemble, to the South East, working with the IMOS Foundation to enable a new mural in New Romney, assisting a new theatrical production from Sabotage Theatre and facilitating a photography exhibition across the Marsh from the multi-award-winning photographer, Justin Sutcliffe.

New music is an important part of JAM, and we will be premiering commissions from tow of the country’s most influential composers, Judith Bingham and Giles Swayne, along with music by John McCabe and James Weeks. Performing these are some of the country’s most established artists, such as Onyx Brass, and some of the futures’s stars, such as the Mousai Singers and Michael Rogalski.

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