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Jamming Out at the 2014 Moscow Jam Festival

Carolina Sanchez

2013 Moscow Jam Festival, August 8-17

Would you like strawberry or raspberry jam? Well you can have them both, and over 200 different flavors at the

Moscow Jam Festival

, including cranberry, zucchini and lemon, and even eggplant jam!

This year marks the first ever Moscow Jam Festival, from August 8-17. Russians love their varenye (fruit preserves) and it is a big part of their culture. People can be seen picking berries in the forests to make varenye in the summer. Preserving and pickling has always been a huge part of Russian culture as it helps keep food available in the long, cold winter months. Varenye is even believed to have medicinal properties and is a part of Russian holistic medicine, and a common remedy for colds is hot tea with a spoonful of raspberry jam. I must say, I don't like tea much, but even I enjoy this combination that my husband introduced to me!

The Moscow Jam Festival featured local fruit jam vendors, free salsa lessons, painting lessons, a volleyball tournament, a culinary competition with chefs from 12 countries including Thailand, Israel, Mexico, Greece, Spain, and Belgium, face-painting for kids, and more.

Hungry hungry hippos at the 2014 Moscow Jam Festival!

The festival took place in many locations in the center, including 

Arbat Street, Revolution Square, the Krimskaya Embankment, Tverskaya and Manezhnaya Square,

 and it sold over 4 million jars of jam! Moscovites really love their jam! The streets were filled with locals and tourists alike, all soaking in the liveliness and fruity whimsy all around. Acrobats on stilts dressed as watermelons, clowns, and life-size foam animals filled the streets. And admission was 100% free!

Giant artisan painted honey jar for the 2014 Moscow Jam Festival

Giant artisan painted jam jar for the 2014 Moscow Jam Festival

After checking out the jam vendors and sampling some strawberry honey (honey swirled with strawberry jam), we headed over to the concert area where Akon, Pelagia (Russian folk-singer and judge on the Voice Russia), Craig David, Irish pop-legend Chris de Burgh, The Secret, and more were performing. So glad we took one of those flyers someone was handing out because usually we just ignore those and keep walking since people are usually trying to sell you something, but in this case it was very useful and we found out there was a huge concert about to happen!

Let's go Akon! 

We totally "jammed" out to Akon and Craig David. Akon and his DJ brought so much energy to the somewhat minimal crowd (maybe 1000 people), and Akon even went into the crowd on his body guard's shoulders and went around to everyone taking photos, high fiving the crowd, all while performing. After living in NYC and trying to get into a free Good Morning America concert, only to find the line extended 10 blocks and people had been camping out for 24 hours, I was shocked that we were able to get so close to the stage for these big name performers! So, needless to say, getting to see Akon and Craig David up close was an incredible experience!

Crowd-surfing!

Craig David is a regular in Moscow, so it was a no-brainer to ask him to perform at the festival. He is an incredible performer and extremely talented individual, and he's coming out with a new album in January, woop-woop!

IMG_1753.JPG

Craig David killing it at the 2014 Moscow Jam Festival

I was thrilled to be a part of the first ever Moscow Jam Festival and look forward to be at many more! They organized one heck of a festival already on just the first year, so I'm excited to see what big things are in store in the years to come. So, see you next year, Moscow! Until then, keep on jamming out to your own tune and favorite jam flavor!