How Fareham’s Jerk Jam festival started as a Caribbean barbecue in a back garden 

Jerk Jam festival
Jerk Jam festival

GOOD music, good food and good vibes.

That was Romany Muirhead’s aim for Jerk Jam Festival when he and friends came up with the idea for an event based on all their favourite things.

The 41-year-old said: ‘It was 16 years ago that my friends and I had a BBQ and we got a sound system and cooked Caribbean food and just had a great time all round really.

‘After that we started to do it every year and it was something all our mates and family really looked forward to. We thought ‘why don’t we just invite everyone to this’.’

In 2015, Romany staged the first Jerk Jam Festival in Titchfield and him and his team are now set to host their fourth event this Saturday.

He said: ‘This is our fourth year and there is so much for people to do and everyone enjoys coming along.

‘Even last year when it rained we still had hundreds of people turn up, so if the hot weather stays as it is at the moment then I think we are in for a busy weekend.’

Reggae, funk and dance are just some of the music styles revellers can expect to hear this weekend on the three stages at the festival.

Romany said: ‘There is something for everyone and it is such a relaxed but party vibe.

‘On the main stage we have Omar and Legend, we have the Open Arms stage which is for local bands, and then there is the Vault which is for DJs and has moving cogs.

‘It definitely gets louder in the evening.’

Amongst all the music, one of the highlights is the Jerk Off cooking competition where 12 cooks go into a boxing ring and make their best jerk style food.

The audience then get to sample each chef’s culinary offering before voting for their favourite.

Romany said: ‘That is really great to witness and the food they make is amazing. We have the finest Caribbean food made all day as well.’

Another aim of the festival is to provide a cheap day out for the family.

Romany said: ‘As a father myself I know what is like when you go events and kids are asking can they have a fiver for such and such and your budget for the day just goes out the window.

‘Everything here for kids is free, like the fairground rides, and we also have an arts roll where kids can get creative.’

Graffiti artists from across the country will be performing live sessions at the festival.

Romany added: ‘We were nominated for three awards last year, including best grassroots festival, and this year it would be great to win.

‘To be recognised for all our hard work we put into the festival and the enjoyment our community gets from it would be amazing. At the end of the day it is all about people having a good time with their family and friends.’

The festival takes place this Saturday between 12pm and 1am at Houndhill Farm, 77a Segensworth Road, Titchfield.

Tickets for children are £10 and tickets for over 16s are £25.

For more information visit jerkjam.co.uk/