Portland Jerk Festival July 5th 2015

So after an hour nap from raving at EDX got up at 6 am to make my 2 hour journey to the parish of Portland for the renowned Portland jerk festival.
For my non Jamaican readers it is a food festival that focuses on the cooking style of “jerking” meat whether its chicken, pork, beef, and even rabbit yes the furry cute creatures :(…bastards and if you ever tried it or heard of it then you know it basically sets your taste buds on fire with the many spices and herbs and is a must have.

Arrived at 9 am hungover shades on to shield my eyes from the onslaught of the suns rays and sighed to myself this is gonna be a long day, the sun was out in his full splendour but complimented by a soothing breeze

The festival was kept at what the locals call Folly Ruins (interesting name I Should look that up) gates opened at 10 am with persons already lined up ready to go in but upon observations of the venue they weren’t finished setting up no food was cooked nor was any refreshment on sale and I was parched and hungover.

The venue was near the sea which provided a lovely view


And had me staring at it daydreaming how nice it would be to sit under the shade of the tree, embrace the cool breeze and pass out in a blissful sleep but any plans for that was thwarted by the No re-entry policy at the gate which meant if you left the venue you would be required to pay another $1,200 for a ticket to get back in a policy which would not sit well with many patrons to come (get to that later)

SO as the day went on persons flowed in some music began to play and cooking was under way been my first time to the festival I had pictured it a place where many jerk vendors would set up their jerk pans and tents boasting to patrons their own unique way of jerking meat but this year that didn’t seem to be the case,they had set up two mini buses which you had to purchase your ticket for food or drink then proceed to any vendor of your choosing to get food this later became a big issue as the line at the buses got real lengthy and just to get a ticket for food took up to an hour or more and if that wasn’t bad enough due to the late start of cooking food quickly ran out which meant patrons had to wait for food to be cooked which took up to another 2 hours to be ready even some complaining it wasn’t cooked properly due to the demand.
Lucky before this transpired I had seek out food from earlier been about Noon and still feeling parched and hungover I made my way across the venue in the blazing sun for nourishment, got myself a quarter pound of jerk chicken added some ketchup alone and Thank the gods I did cause the vendor must have soaked his chicken in peppers, my mouth was on FIRE and been in the afternoon sun didn’t help but famished I devoured every scrap of meat off those bones followed by two bottles of water and some ice cubes just to quench the fire in my mouth. Whew

Entertainment wise the organizers had live music more of the cultural kind with the playing of steel drums and performances by cultural dancers which didn’t garner much attention as people where too busy hiding from the scorching sun under tents and getting food.
My second attempt at getting food wasn’t so great the line the at the bus was so long I couldn’t bother to wait so I searched the venue and came upon a hot dog& burger stand, lucky I didn’t need a ticket to get food there but I had to wait in line and with half my body facing directly to the sun by the time I got my burger I felt like a burnt French fry all crispy& black lol
Getting a drink was just as tedious which meant joining the line to get a ticket to go to the bar, i wasn’t about to do this for the rest of the day and was already half baked so I found the medical tent and befriended the staff who had ice-cold water and a small AC unit set up, so throughout the day i would come back and forth to chat with them up and partake of their AC 😀 If only I could leave the venue without having to pay again I’d go down here


Now its evening going into the night the sun getting to set (thank God) which provided this lovely view.


A lot of people appear to be waiting on the sun to cool down cause that’s when the majority of the crowd showed up but inside the issue with the long wait for food was still a problem so much that people began to leave some persons spent even 15 min and left right after and the music was dull and uninspiring some of them exclaimed.
one of the biggest issue was the no re-entry policy which had many  patrons getting into loud debates with the police and gate personnel over the practically of it.

By night fall there were a few performances from well-known dance hall artist such as Voicemail and the general himself Bounty killer but from my observation it didn’t do much to stir the crowd a lot were upset about the food issue and by the time bounty killer was on stage streams of people were leaving.

So in conclusion I managed to survive the whole day in a hungover state left the venue about 12am to get some well deserved sleep but Portland jerk festival from my view was poorly organized took way too long to get food and they may need to review there no re-entry policy for next year and despite the attempts to entertain they of all people should know a hungry man is an angry man. peace


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