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Guide to JAM on the Marsh

About the festival

How many festivals boast mediaeval venues, a steam railway and a desert as their backdrop? 

JAM on the Marsh returns to Kent’s atmospheric Romney Marsh from 4th – 16th July, with an array of concerts, exhibitions and performances. Celebrating its 10th season, the festival invites audiences to get up close to world-class performers and engage with some of the biggest names in jazz, classical music, opera, theatre and the visual arts. The festival will unfold in a variety of venues from Hythe to Dungeness, with all festival events accessible within 1 hour from Central London, via Southeastern trains, Ashford International station and JAM’s Festival bus.

Kent’s renowned outdoor company Changeling Theatre will open the festival on 4th July, entertaining audiences with a performance of Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost and Sheridan’s The School for Scandal. These Kent artists will join international and national stars: acclaimed pianist and singer Joe Stilgoe entertains with his toe-tapping jazz; one of the world’s finest classical guitarists Craig Ogden performs in one of the most intimate churches of the Marsh; Kent-based, but UK-celebrated Sacconi Quartet is joined by the outstanding pianist Anna Tilbrook for a concert including The Trout Quintet.

Further highlights include A Day in Paris presenting some of the greatest French music of the 20th Century with sought-after mezzo-soprano Hanna Hipp; a lunch and concert celebrating former Kent resident, the infamous Noël Coward, presented by biographer Oliver Soden and multi-talented tenor Nicky Spence; the UK debut of the renowned Delaware Choral Singers bringing an international flavour to the festival with a choral programme spanning the continents, and a jubilant finale with Sounds Baroque.  

Wendy Carrig’s thought-provoking exhibition of items found on the beaches from Dungeness to Dymchurch provides an example of the influence of humankind on nature. This is joined by John Ballard’s Turning Tides, large-scale paintings inspired by the Kent coastline; Penny Graham’s pottery inspired by images from the International Space Station; France Tetreault 3 large abstract canvases inspired by Debussy, Messiaen and Stravinsky. 

Where is it?

The festival takes place on Romney Marsh in the beautiful, rural countryside of Kent, hugging the south coast, just 1 hour from London.

How to get there?

By car: 15 minutes from the Ashford junction of the M20.

By train: The closest station is Ashford International, accessible from London & Europe, then take the JAM on the Marsh shuttle bus to all festival venues.

What can tourists visit nearby?

Ride the famous Romney Hythe & Dymchurch Railway to the UK’s only desert at Dungeness, visit Port Lympne Safari Park, see the largest collection of skulls in the UK at St Leonard’s Church Hythe, kite-surf at Greatstone, wave at the French coast as you walk or cycle the (10km) sea wall, marvel at the stars in the biggest sky. Enjoy rural walks and beautiful landscape.  There’s plenty to do when you’re not submerged in the festival.

Why visit the festival?

JAM on the Marsh is a brilliant and vibrant multi arts festival in one of the most breath-taking and beautifully preserved locations, with some of the best beaches in the UK on the doorstep. JAM on the Marsh is a unique opportunity to get up close to world class artists and performances in the festival’s intimate medieval churches.

Dress code

JAM on the Marsh has a casual dress code. We would recommend coming prepared for all eventualities as the weather can quickly change hour by hour, day by day. 

From intimate solo performances to large-scale choral & orchestral concerts celebrating local talent; from family-friendly theatre to inspirational exhibitions – JAM offers something for every taste.

Local accommodation

There is a wide-range of accommodation available in the area, but it is a popular tourist destination, so we recommend booking well in advance!

Food & drink

All venues hosting events are within 15 minutes of such hostelries. The towns of Hythe, New Romney, Lydd and Rye have many restaurants and pubs. We do recommend booking restaurants in advance, as the Kent coast is a popular tourist destination.