The South Coasts fastest growing festival weathers and whips up a storm…..!
You’d be excused to think having your Festival in July would be a good move in terms of weather. Unfortunately, Jerk Jam 2017 organisers did not have such luck in predicting the forecasts this year as the sky’s sporadically hammered down rain like a Sri Lankan monsoon. Nevertheless, in true British hutzpah the umbrellas and rain macs we donned and festival goers (or troopers) just got on with it.
When looking around Jerk Jam, regardless of the congregation of people scrabbling for cover, the festival has a positive buzz and vibe, one only ever felt at independent events. That being a wholesome community spirit.
All walks of life attend this Festival, held at Hound Farm, Titchfield, and its apparent when you see punters taking to the stages and venues, some covered in glitter and some with kids in toe. It just proved that age doesn’t seem to matter at Jerk Jam, all that mattered was having fun, either with family or friends, or both.
Jerk Jam has in the past had its fair share of musical talent grace the main stage, with the likes of Dawn Penn, General Levey and Norman Jay MBE. This year was no different as punters were treated to a showcase performance from UK Reggae icons Aswad. Although they didn’t perform as a live band, they were joined on stage by MC Sweetie Irie, which only added to their nostalgic and rhythmic charm. The rain was heavy but the beats weren’t dampened, and circa 30 minutes after they sang the 1994 classic “Shine” the clouds parted and produced some much needed blue sky and sunshine. Take from that what you will!
Another notable act on the bill was Drum and Bass stalwart Nicky Blackmarket, a pivotal figure from the early Jungle/Drum ‘n’ Bass scene. The Soho Junglist tore down the Vault with a midafternoon set, really helping bringing the masses to life. The Vault saw a string of awesome sets from an array of DJ talent, none more so than local spinners Soul 45 who opened the stage with the collection of classic funk and soul tracks. Other acts at the Vault included Pure Class DJs, Stu J, Ratpack, Shazam creator Replay, Russ Gabriel, Electric Wisdom, Austaction and legend Trevor Rockcliffe.
Back at the saturated Jamonji stage acts such as Ska quartet Skamageddon and ex lead singer of Dexys Midnight Runners, Kevin Rowland (DJ Set) both continued the afternoon pool party. As darkness creep in the stage was graced by 00’s duo DJ Luck and MC Neat, performing a mixture of classics helping to see festival goers groove late into the night.
Last but not least, the Open Arms stage. This humble folky platform set out in the theme of a bric-a-brac kitchen/front lounge, played host to a mixture of acts, old and new. Most noteworthy were the Black Kat Boppers, unfortunately on stage as the heavens opened, but that didn’t stop some, proving that you can still dance with an umbrella in hand. Headliners were Southampton band the Dead Freights. Comparable to the Beatles and The Libertines, this four piece seem to be getting a name around the south coast circuit, and are one to watch out for.
The title of the festival could be deemed a little miss leading if you were to go on the winner of this year’s Jerk Off. But with the vast growth of Jerk Jam, the organisers aren’t bias and open the BBQ Comp to all that feel they have the meat to take the heat.
Held inside a homemade boxing ring, this year’s champion was Voice FM’s very own Jay Radcliffe. His insanely good, South African Sausages (Boerewors possibly?), were 100% worthy of winning and duly devoured by the waiting crowds. On that this tent is worth hanging around for, even if the smoke does burn your eye sockets. Worthy as the food cooked for the competition has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is punters bellies…..FOC (free of charge)!
Due to the rain the competition was moved under canvass, which when all BBQ were going, was hard to withstand, but worth it for the incredible smells. As well as free food, Goat Curry, Jerk Chicken and other Caribbean delights were on offer to the soggy mass, as were very reasonably priced drinks. Red Strip being the larger of choice @ £3 a can
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As well as the Music and BBQ Comp, the festival had a number of funfair rides and even a Segway track, although the latter didn’t see much action in the day, for obvious reasons. The kids also had Area 54 where artist installations had been fashioned together to add interesting props. There was even a graffiti wall where punters were allowed to tag a three way wall, but rain hampered this appealing idea.
If you’re a lover of mellow Caribbean vibes and an eclectic mix of music, Jerk Jam 2018 should be on your festival list. @ £25/£30 a ticket you’d be mad not to. Camping is available opposite the festival and at a fiver it’s a perfect remedy should you not want to spend on an Uber.
With all that rain and the mud continually building up, the festival held its own and the organisers should be proud of their achievements. To have come this far in three years booking the artists, both this and previous years, is no mean feat. Its independent events like this that remind you what festivals are all about…fun, regardless of the elements.