PRESS RELEASE / June 17, 2022 (Boston, MA) – Boston’s hottest summer festival, Boston JerkFest is back in person after a 2-year hiatus. The festival will be held at the Harvard Athletic Complex, a new location with an expanded footprint at the McCurdy Track, 145 North Harvard Street, Allston, July 1-2, 2022. This much anticipated and treasured community event is billed as the Boston kick off celebration of Jamaica’s 60th Anniversary of Independence with reggae legend and ambassador Freddie McGregor. Celebrating Jamaican food and culture, this outdoor family-friendly, Caribbean food festival, features local Jamaican jerk spiced food, Jerk Cook-off and Seafood Throwdown Competitions, live reggae, steel pan music, and a Kids & Culture zone. New this year is the launch of the Boston Hot Sauce Fest, and entertainment for the whole family. The 2-day festival weekend opens with a Rum & Brew Tasting on Friday July 1, 2022, 5:30 – 8:30 PM (5pm for VIP). The spicy festivities get hotter with the Boston JerkFest and Hot Sauce Fest on Saturday, July 2, 2022, 11 AM – 7 PM
Jerk is the specialty cuisine of Jamaica that is not only mouth-burning hot, but also includes delicious blends of aromatic spices to wake up all your senses. Key ingredients include Jamaican Scotch Bonnet peppers, thyme, and allspice. Jerk dishes are typically served with bright tropical flavors such as pineapple, mango, and sweet onions to balance out the heat. Billed as a Caribbean foodie festival celebrating all things hot, Boston JerkFest will feature the best local Caribbean Chefs cooking up authentic Caribbean, jerk style meals, international and local spicy foods, spicy specialty foods, and homemade Caribbean drinks for sale.
Dive In – Keep it Local at Boston JerkFest!
This year’s festival will also include a local seafood promotion project – “Dive In– Keep it Local!” sponsored by the Masochists Department Fisheries. The festival will promote underutilized local dayboat seafood that is available abundantly in our New England waters. The campaign was launched in 2018 featuring Cape Shark (dog fish) and was made possible by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game. Boston JerkFest food festival will feature Jerk-style Chef Demos, such as a Seafood Throwdown and Jerk Cook-off in collaboration with Northwest American Marine Alliance (NAMA), Red’s Best, and World Farmers. In the Seafood Throwdown, two chefs will battle it out to see who can concoct the best dish with a local-day boat seafood ingredient, jerk spice, and with produce grown in Massachusetts by immigrant farmers of World Farmers, Inc. Festival attendees will get a chance to taste and judge alongside a panel of Boston-based foodies. The Chef demos at Boston JerkFest are fun, educational and community driven activities that promote the traditional flavors of Caribbean cuisine using local food.
Rum & Brew Tasting at Boston JerkFest – Friday, July 1, 2022, 5-8:30 PM
The Rum & Brew Tasting will be held on Friday night for 21+ year old festival attendees. The evening will feature live music and tastings of craft beer, hard cider, wine, artisan beverages and a variety of Caribbean themed libations. A jerk meal is included in the ticket price this year, and we can’t have tropical drinks without coconuts, so there will be plenty on hand for sale! The Rum & Brew Tasting will include Cocktail Demos and a Caribbean Cocktail Throwdown, featuring Boston’s hottest Mixologists who will stir up the best “Irie” drinks made from products featured at the Rum & Brew Tasting. A panel of judges, including festival attendees will vote for their favorite drink and help select the winner, who will own bragging rights for the 2020 Boston’s Best Caribbean Cocktail.
Boston JerkFest & Hot Sauce Fest – Saturday, July 1, 2022, 11:00 AM-7 PM
On Saturday, the spicy love fest continues as top local and regional favorite Caribbean restaurants and caterers will cook up jerk-inspired creations for sale to eager fans. The festival offers authentic Caribbean, international, and local spicy food for sale, including spicy meals and Caribbean desserts, as well as traditional home-made drinks from the Caribbean. Festival attendees will get a chance to taste and judge as alongside a Boston-based panel of local food luminaries for our Seafood Throwdown and Jerk Cook-off competitions.
Our traditional Spice Lane has been expanded to a new featured component of the festival, the launch of the Boston Hot Sauce Fest, which offers unique spiced and tropical specialty foods, hot sauces, hot jams, hot jellies, hot candy, and jerk inspired spices. The festival is a family-friendly event and features a Kids & Culture corner with children’s activities including face painting, on-site steel drum classes, and arts and crafts to enjoy. The live music stage will feature headliner Freddie McGregor accompanied by Chino McGregor and backed by Code Red Band. The music line up also includes The Soul Rebel Project (reggae), Greg Roy (reggae), and Bouba Diabete (African roots) and Tempo International Steel Band. The VIP Reggae Lounge on both days is the adult hang-out spot, with games such as dominos, cocktail demos, and lots of adult fun. The Reggae Bar on Saturday will include beer, wine, and rum punch and mystery cocktails for sale.
Boston JerkFest is produced by The Williams Agency, and sponsored by Harvard University, Massachusetts Department of Fisheries, Greater Boston Visitors and Convention Bureau, Jamaica Tourist Board, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA), Boston Spark FM Online, Tropical Foods, North American Marine Alliance, Red’s Best, The Word Boston, and World Farmers, and Boston Local Food Festival. A portion of the proceeds of this event will support Cambridge Carnival International’s Cambridge Youth Steel Orchestra and Sustainable Food and Culture. Advance tickets for Boston JerkFest are free for children under age 10. Early bird tickets General Admission tickets are $12 for Adults and $5 for children ages 10-14, through May 7, 2022. Rum & Brew Tasting advance tickets are $50 for General Admission, and $100 for VIP Admission (VIP tickets are 2-Day Passes). Advance sale 2-Day Festival Passes are $55 for General Admission. Connect on social media @bostonjerkfest for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.