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Boston JerkFest LIVE Activities

The Boston JerkFest™ has been successfully produced for 7 consecutive years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic halting all in-person festivals, we have decided to go virtual this year and introduce Boston Jerkfest LIVE!™ the weekend of July 10-12, 2020.

Ticketed Jerk Cooking Classes with Master Chefs will be offered,  including Celebrity Chef Hugh Sinclair, a.k.a. Chef Irie, the Global Culinary Architect, is the executive chef of Chef Irie Spice, Inc. – Private Chef and Catering Services, providing food services to the tri-county area South Florida. Chef Irie’s highly anticipated and critically acclaimed TV cooking mini-series, “Taste the Islands with Chef Irie”, debuted nationwide on April 4th, 2015 in 135 PBS markets. Taste the Islands is the only original Caribbean produced television series featuring a Caribbean born chef on a television network or otherwise.

This year’s Boston JerkFest will feature original band member and master cellist Cat Coore of the classic reggae band, THIRD WORLD, Jamaica’s “Reggae Ambassadors”–known for “96° in the Shade.” and “Try Jah Love.” Cat Coore will will be joining us in an intimate solo performance and Q&A. Master drummer Tony Ruption will lead a drum circle direct from Jamaica and join Boston Drummers for an incredible finale on Saturday night.  THIRD WORLD is a Jamaican reggae fusion band formed in 1973. Their sound is influenced by soul, funk and disco. Boston JerkFest LIVE will be the first ever virtual Jerk festival in the country.

Check out this video of Cat Coore playing Bob Marley’s Redemption song with the cello – fast forward to 1:01:10 

Register Here


Rum & Brew – Friday July 10, 6:00pm – 9:00pm

JerK Food Festival – Saturday July  11, 4:00pm – 8:00pm

Kids & Culture Day – Sunday July 12, 2:00pm – 5:00pm 

What does it cost? The festival is free, however, suggested donations of $10 are welcome to cover expenses related to technology, artists, staff and promotions. There is a fee for cooking classes with a Jerk Cooking Classes with Master Chefs. We look forward to your joining us on this exciting journey.

This free admission Caribbean Foodie virtual festival will give the audience an opportunity to celebrate all things spicy and hot in the comfort of their homes. This virtual event will feature local Jamaican jerk spiced food, live music and cultural performances for the whole family! The festival is free, but donations are welcome to cover expenses related to technology, artists, staff and promotions. There is a fee for cooking classes with Jerk Cooking Classes with Master Chefs. We look forward to you joining us on this exciting journey. 

Boston JerkFest LIVE, July 10-12, 2020

Overview of the Schedule

Boston JerkFest LIVE will be a 3-day weekend, July 10-12, 2020 and with top local and international performers with the following daily programming:

Rum & Brew Tasting, Friday July 10

  • The festival offers 3 days of fun kicking off with the Rum & Brew Tasting on Friday night, 7/10, 6:00-9:00 PM featuring our Seafood Throwdown, and Cocktail Throwdown where bartenders sharing cocktail demos, chef demos, live performances and DJ’s. Patrons can order jerk food dishes for take-out or delivery from their favorite Caribbean restaurant. while imbibing in the online fun.

Featured Rum & Brew Vendors:

Cocktail Throwdown

This year’s Cocktail Throwdown will be Emceed & judged by the lively and charming, Suhayl Ramirez. Suhayl lives for pleasures great and small and everything in-between. Among many interests, she is part of the team behind tfluxè – a consumer community for people of color to demystify the landscape of wine, spirits, and craft beer. In her 5 to 9 and beyond she can be found chasing street art, enjoying a fine cigar, indulging in just about anything decadent, geeking out on how chocolate is made, or seeking out the best oysters to shuck by the water.

Bantam Cider, Rumson’s Rum and Goslings will be battling it out to see who has the best cocktail at this year’s Boston JerkFest LIVE! Watch all the fun go down tomorrow.


Jerk Food Festival, July 11

  • On Saturday, 7/11, 4:00PM- 8:00 PM, the Jerk Food Festival will run from and we’ll be partnering with the best local Caribbean restaurants to deliver authentic jerk dishes to the audience’s doorstep. Patrons can choose to pick up or delivery of their jerk foods. The programming will include Jerk Cook Off,  Chef Demos, cooking classes, Jerk Cook-off, DJ’s, a drum circle, and local and international artists to add excitement and value to Boston Jerkfest LIVE. 

Featured local Caribbean restaurants in the Dorchester/Boston Area you should patronize this weekend:


Get Ready for the Hottest Jerk Cook Off Yet!

Jason Jarvis, Fishermen & President of NAMA (Northeast Atlantic Marine Alliance) will be the emcee & judge for this year’s Jerk Cook-Off. Jason is a commercial fisherman from Westerly, Rhode Island. He has served on NAMA’s board for the past five years and recently accepted the position as Board President. Throughout his career, Jason has been an active community member, raising pressing concerns and issues especially to members of Congress about the flawed regulatory system and the equity imbalances within our fishing industry.

Going head to head in this year’s Jerk Cook Off, we have the talented personal chef Jason Gentles repping Jamaica VS our reigning champion Chef Mills of KTW. Watch these two battle it out on Saturday during our Jerk Food Festival Virtual Event!

Chef Jason Gentles             VS               Chef Mills     



 Boubacar Diabate & SambaLolo

Griot singer, guitarist, drummer, songwriter and storyteller Boubacar Diabate from Bamako, Mali comes from the Mande lineage and has combined traditional rhythms with modern influences to create his own style of contemporary Malian Griot music presenting his own compositions and arrangements, singing and playing percussion for JerkFest. Singing in Bambara and Manding, Boubacar Diabate creates a performance that spans the full spectrum of Traditional to Contemporary Malian music from West Africa combined with Blues, Jazz, Reggae and Bluegrass – Bouba sings of our common shared experience of love, life and humanity, giving all an opportunity to hear the age-old West African tradition of Griot storytelling through song.




DJ Rugged One has been in the game for many years and has firmly established a name for himself in the industry as a professional deejay and producer. Spinning at numerous bars, lounges & clubs, he effortlessly creates a vibe that keeps the dance floor packed. His passion for music naturally led him into the realm of music production, where he actively takes on remix projects and creates brand new material with a plethora of skilled artists. Rugged earned his stripes during his years as a competitive DJ, placing as a finalist in many battles, never failing to intimidate and turn heads! He continues to be sought after and commissioned to create mix CDs for respected organizations in the hip hop realm, including Undergroundhiphop.com, Brick Records and others, all while juggling his own independent releases. Receiving notable praise in a vast array of publications & websites, Rugged has evolved over the years to become the “total package,” a DJ who can satisfy the purest of hip hop heads, the wildest of college club-goers and everything in between, taking you on a musical trip in the process. He enjoys what he does and is a true entertainer. DJ Rugged One…the man, the myth, the DJ… go on, go on and GET DOWN!

Lady Enchantress 

Eli Pabon aka Lady Enchantress is a multi-talented Dancer, Singer, Lyricist, Instructor and Percussionist born and raised in Boston to a Puerto Rican family of performers and educators. She grew up learning the importance of music and dance in health, education, healing, resistance and community building. Today, she shares her experiences and love through teaching dance, percussion and song to others, as well as performing and producing arts programming and events locally, nationally and internationally. At present she is in a duet called “Cocktail Hour” with her husband David Szebeda and is part of the 2019-2020 Luminaries Cohort through the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. She is the founder of BOMBAntillana, a Dance & Performing Arts teacher for Boston Public Schools, an artist in residence through the MCC STARS program and an Artist Collective member of MetaMovements coordinating, hosting and teaching at events, classes and workshops in the Greater Boston area.


Formed in 1999 by four time grammy nominated Black Uhuru drummer ‘Rangotan and 6 time steel pan champion Sista D, Dis-N-Dat  has a unique sound, setting us apart from all the rest. Dis-N-Dat incorporates Roots Reggae, Dance Hall and R&B in to a sound all our combining the sounds of Jamaica and Trinidad with foundation reggae and the steel pan, moving audiences all over the U.S. for 20 years.  We take the reggae to a new level, at the same time rocking the foundation sound that so many are looking for. The band has backed many international artists that include Queen Africa, Tony Rebel, Anthony B, Turbulence, Everton Blender, Sister Nancy, Yami Bolo, Lady Saw, Sasha and many more!  The band also backed UK Reggae superstar Pato Banton for several tours across the United States.The band was also the official band for tosh1 the son or reggae great peter tosh,with 8 albums under there belt Dis n Dat band has a huge selection of original music alonwith your favorite covers!Dis-N-Dat continues to blaze a trail of vibes worldwide from our shows to our albums  Maintaining the true sound of the Caribbean music and culture

Kids & Culture Day, Sunday July 12

  • On Sunday, July 12,  from 2:00PM – 5:00PM, we will round up the festival with a family day of Kids and Culture filled with fun and interactive activities for the whole family, including face painting instruction class, Kids Cooking, a steel pan jam session, & more!

Face Painting Class by Angela Owens of Painting As Art & Ritual

In this virtual face paint class, you and your child will walk away having learned a basic face paint art that can be applied all year round for fun and enjoyment. Painting As Art & Ritual. A ritual is a “ceremony” or action that is practiced over and over again. I’ve been practicing, applying, and creating face art memories for 10 years now and have consistently embodied the name of my services with complete satisfaction feedback from my guests. This face painting class can be taken by children ages 10 and up by a parent and child. It is important that the older participant paints the younger, or if it is just one participant, use a mirror or arm. We also have face-painting kits that can be ordered and includes paint, brush, sponge & a spritz bottle. Get your kit now and use Code JerkFest!


Marcia Fearon — Folkloric Story Telling

Marcia Fearon native Jamaican Immigrant and Boston resident since 1978 and Mother to 3 sons. Lover of the Arts Founded Dream Drama Ministry performing monologues for spiritual upliftment at churches in the Boston area and New York. Marcia has done countless performances with Jamaica Choral Dramatic Society spanning poetry, storytelling and dancing for the annual Jamaican Independence celebration in Boston. Marcia made her theatrical debut 2007 in Trevor Rhone “Two can Play” in Providence Rhode Island at the Black Repertory Company. The play ran for six weeks was so successful the Hibernian Hall in Boston scheduled 2 performances that were sold out. Marcia serves as Emcee for local events . Enjoys the outdoors traveling, gardening, jogging, walking and of course dancing . Most of all Marcia is Proud of her Jamaican Heritage and represents whenever opportunity arises.

Valerie Stephens – Storyteller is a performing artist/ arts educator with a passion for history

As a vocalist/ band leader, Valerie can be enjoyed in venues throughout New England. She has produced a series of innovative concerts: WOMEN OF THE VILLAGE celebrating female commonality in English, Spanish and Xhosa. SWEET & SALTY: DRESSED TO THE NINES a tribute to classic Blues Women and a concert selection dedicated to the world renowned Dr. Nina Simone. She has been contracted to research and perform historical theater/storytelling productions for Boston Children’s Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Science Museum, Springfield Arts Museum, Cambridge Cultural Council and the House of Blues. Valerie toured nationally for nine years, as lead actor with the award winning Underground Railway Theater and other touring theater companies. After 15 years, returned to theater stage in Company One’s controversial production of NEIGHBORS in the character role of Mammy Crow. She created a solo performance piece, The Mammy Diaries. In 2018, Valerie returned to the theatrical stage in the Marblehead Little Theater heart wrecking production of Letters fromWar in the lead role as Mae, a 75 year old woman suffering from the Alzheimer’s disease. Valerie is currently working of two productions: The Mammy Diaries, an exploratory tribute to the unnamed, often vilified women who raised this country and I Am Not Your Preconceived Notion, a bio performance piece.

Jean Appolon
Jean Appolon is a successful choreographer and master teacher based in Boston and Port-au- Prince, Haiti. He received his earliest training and performance opportunities in Port-au-Prince with the Viviane Gauthier Dance Company, and the Folkloric Ballet of Haiti. Appolon continued his dance education in the U.S. with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Joffrey American Ballet School, graduating with a BA in 2003 from a joint degree program at The
New School. Jean is the founder and Director of Jean Appolon Expressions (JAE), a contemporary Haitian dance company that has performed at major venues throughout the US and in Haiti. Since 2006, he has directed a free annual summer dance institute in Port-au-Prince that provides young, aspiring dancers with access to training. His dance classroom provides a positive and reaffirming atmosphere in which every student is regarded as artistic, and is empowered to be passionate about dance and caring for the community.


Tempo International

Tempo International Rhythm and Steel Band. Is band that is made up of performers from the country of Trinidad and Tobago where the steel pan was invented. We use our performances to spread the history behind the invention of the steel pan, in relationship to the history of in slaved Africans of Trinidad and Tobago. 


Chef Fulani

Most people would move to Florida or the Bahamas and pull out a rocking chair after retiring from a 30 year career as a registered pediatric nurse by the Commonwealth of Mass, not Fulani M. Haynes. She has successfully created many community based cultural and artistic programs that continue to contribute positively in the Roxbury and Dorchester neighborhoods of Boston.
Ms. Fulani‘s accomplishments range from community support programs, musical endeavors, public speaking, theatrical performances, public health and supportive nutritional mentoring, organic gardening and cooking, to hosting live events, radio programs, and community dinners.

Chef Demos & Cooking Classes

Cooking with Chef Tamika Francis of Food & Folklore LLC 

Sign up for our first cooking class with Chef Tamika Francis, Sunday, July 12, at 11am-12pm

  • Tamika will cook Jerk spiced striped bass with a sweet onion relish
  • Curated JerkFest Spice Paks will be offered as an add on to the class 

About Chef Tamika Francis, Food & Folklore

Tamika is a descendant of the maroons, the people who invented jerk as a resistance cooking method centuries ago. She trained at Boston University’s Culinary Arts program and will use primarily New England produce to make tropically-inspired recipes using indigenous techniques and storytelling to celebrate her ancestral home of Jamaica, and the spices and intense flavors that make this corner of the world so magical. She is the founder of Food & Folklore, a startup that pays homage to global food traditions through pop-up dining events, culinary classes, and storytelling.


Cooking Master Jerk Chef Class Chef Nadine Nelson, the Green Queen of Cuisine,  Saturday, July 11, 2-3pm 

Fast and Irie Caribbean Appetizers and Cocktails 

Learn how to cook up a scrumptious Caribbean cocktail hour feast in less than an hour with ingredients you have in your pantry like Pepper Shrimp with Mango Mustard, Grilled Jerk Kofta with Curry Hummus, Rum and Raison Fish Tartar on Plantain Crisps, Avocado and Feta Whip, and Tropical Sangria.

Cooking Master Jerk Chef Class Chef Nadine Nelson, the Green Queen of Cuisine, Sunday, July 12, 10-11am

Plant-Based Jerk Cuisine 

Jerk originated with marinating meat by the Maroons. Chef Nadine Nelson will show you alternative ways to use Jamaica’s special sauce to create innovative and flavorful dishes without animal protein like whole Jerk Cauliflower with Cilantro Chutney, Spicy Jamaican Style Gazpacho, Nanny’s Tofu, and Curry Carrot Salad. 

About Chef Nadine Nelson, the Green Queen of Cuisine

Chef Nadine Nelson, the Green Queen of Cuisine, is the sustainable chef, artist, and social entrepreneur/activist of Global Local Gourmet, a roving community-supported kitchen specializing in experiential epicurean occasions that cook up delicious adventures far from expected yet close to home. From Toronto, Canada considered the most multicultural city in the world, she is of Jamaican Heritage and likes to combine global flavors with local ingredients sharing her knowledge of ethnic flavors that are underrepresented in culinary education. Among her clients, she has produced events and consulted for the Jamaican Epicurean Escape, the James Beard House, Boston Jerk Festival, and The Apollo Theater. Her aim is to use food as social sculpture and a catalyst to engage people in issues from seed to waste while learning about the world’s diverse gastronomies in fellowship and unity with each other.

Promo Video of Global Local Gourmet

    Chef Demo by Chef Kwasi Kwaa of Comfort Kitchen

Chef Kwasi Kwaa will be doing a jerk marinade that is easy to prepare and permeates into the protein much longer than a simple jerk spice. It’s simple to produce at home and it keeps for quite some time.

About Chef Kwasi Kwaa of Comfort Kitchen

Kwasi Kwaa is the chef-partner at Comfort Kitchen, a cafe, restaurant and food incubator celebrating global comfort food, soon to open in Dorchester’s Uphams Corner. A native of Ghana, Kwasi has been honing his culinary craft at various kitchens in the Boston area. His passion for food has led him from his early start at Hi-Rise cafe & bakery, to the world of large-scale corporate catering at Fireside and BG Events. In 2016, The Chop Bar pop-up emerged as a venue for Kwasi and his collaborators to explore street fare from around the world. The pop-up ran in tandem with the H.O.P.E. Inc. poetry series at Dudley Cafe in Roxbury.’

Boston JerkFest LIVE Applications

Food and Craft Vendor Application

Interested in being a food, craft or exhibitor vendor? Apply here

Rum & Brew Tasting Application

Got some mixology skills? Are you a distillery, brewery,  cidery or artisan beverage maker? Join us by doing a cocktail demo or participating in our Cocktail Throwdown, apply here. Limited slots are available.

Chef Demo and Cooking Classes Application

So, you say you have the best jerk spices in town, why don’t you show us? If you got culinary skills or a Master Chef, you can do a Chef Demo, compete in the Jerk Cook-off or Seafood Throwdown, or run you own cooking class. Sign up and more details here.

Boston JerkFest Call for Artists/Performers Application

We are seeking talented artists to showcase at Boston JerkFest live.  We are looking for musicians, dancers, storytellers, and more. Apply here.