Follow Jon Foreman’s Marsh Church Sculpture Trail

Submitted to the Folkestone Herald

JAM on the Marsh is set to welcome its audience once again live from Thursday July 8-18.

This year’s festival will feature seven exhibitions in community spaces – with art where you least expect it!

These exhibits are on display every day of the festival and can be visited for free at locations across the Marsh and Hythe, including six churches: Fairfield, Old Romney, Ivychurch, Newchurch, St Mary in the Marsh and St Leonard’s, Hythe.

  • One of the most exciting events is the return of earth artist Jon Foreman who created the massive sand images with garden rakes on Dymchurch Beach in 2019.
    This year, visit the churches to see his journey of sculptures of incredible shapes and patterns created entirely from wood.
  • The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway will also host an exhibit, Jan Enkelmann’s Pause, both in the cars and at The End of the Line restaurant in Dungeness.
    Jan spent the first lockdown cycling around London, photographing famous landmarks and deserts; think of Piccadilly and Oxford Circus, Leicester Square and the London Eye with no one in sight.
  • Other very public spaces for hosting exhibitions include the Romney Marsh Visitor Center, which features the magnificent cyanotyped images of flowers by Folkestone artist Sonia McDuff, and a retrospective exhibition of images from the festival. at the Marsh Academy Recreation Center, including night photography by Susan Pilcher.

Music is at the heart of JAM on the Marsh and it shows in the variety of the 14 concerts that take place there.

Highlights include:

  • World-renowned singer Lesley Garrett will come to New Romney on Friday, July 9, followed by the Canterbury Cathedral Choir, in St Leonard’s on Saturday.
  • The Kosmos ensemble will visit New Romney, Brookland and Dymchurch elementary schools on Monday, July 12, before presenting their crossover program of classical, jazz and gypsy music in Ivychurch in the evening.
  • The education theme continues on Wednesday July 14 when musical performances of Ferdinand the Taurus hit schools.
Cosmos set | Credit: Pierre Marcar
  • Another famous singer is visiting New Romney when James Gilchrist joins the London Mozart Players on Friday, July 16.
  • Royals composer Paul Mealor conducts his own music in Hythe on Saturday, July 17 and the final day features tangos and bossa nova in Hythe, followed by jazzy piano improvisations by Yuanfan Yang in New Romney.

The annual visit to Kent’s Changeling Theater is always a success and regularly sells out. Normally this takes place in The Old School Gardens, New Romney, which is currently used as a vaccination center.

This year A Midsummer Night’s dream moved to the Star Inn in St Mary in the Marsh – the perfect place for an open-air theater with a good beer and a meal.

Long live the Changeling Theater

The JAM on the Marsh festival was one of the very few arts organizations to have successfully produced a festival last year. With no live audiences allowed, JAM reinvented the wheel and brought the festival online, featuring nine concerts and three exhibitions.

Almost a year later, that doesn’t sound extraordinary; many have done it now, but at the time, JAM was on the front of the wave trying to do something completely out of the ordinary. This virtual festival was seen by more than 17,000 spectators, provided the opportunity to perform for 73 desperate and overjoyed artists and was covered by television, radio and the press.

A year later, JAM is set to welcome its live audience again, though government guidelines and social distancing are still firmly in place. In fact, the organizers took a conservative approach, selling less than 50 percent of the capacity of St Nicholas Church, New Romney; St George’s Church, Ivychurch and St Leonard’s Church, Hythe.

Many of the festival’s paid events are sold out, but for those who couldn’t purchase tickets, JAM is filming most events for free for release later in the year.

All of JAM’s details on the Marais program can be found here.

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