A scan of the pop charts today is a testament to Jamaica’s influence on music and pop culture. Jamaica’s musical roots run back to the 1600s and over time the country’s talent has produced much loved genres as Ska, Mento, Reggae and Dancehall. This year, travelers can experience Jamaica’s musical history in the making with ten major musical festivals throughout 2016.
Whether it’s Omi’s “Cheerleader,” Shaggy’s “I Need Your Love” or the cult following of Major Lazer, Jamaica is home to hit makers. Travelers to Jamaica are in for a treat as its festivals bring to the stage a diverse line up that will surely have something for everyone.
The following is a list of music festivals and activities in Jamaica to kick off 2016:
Rebel Salute (January 15 & 16): What began as a show to commemorate the January 15 birthday of reggae icon Patrick “Tony Rebel” Barrett has become a staple on the live music events calendar. Rebel Salute treats patrons to an alcohol-free and meat-free, family-oriented environment. Food vendors serve a strict Jamaican vegetarian menu, which is complimented by a diet of cultural roots rap from reggae’s finest. Rebel Salute has captured the adoration of reggae lovers worldwide and has seen performances from Jimmy Cliff, The Congos and Aswad to Jnr. Gong and Chronixx. Hailed today as a spiritual renaissance, it has become the bedrock for the exposure and celebration of Jamaican roots music. www.rebelsalutejamaica.com
Bob Marley Birthday Bash (February 1-7): This annual event presents a taste of authentic Jamaican culture through our music, food and creative art expression. The event usually features popular international reggae artistes such as Sizzla, Kabaka Pyramid, Bunny Wailer and many more.. www.Bobmarley-foundation.com
Blue Mountain Music Festival (February 21 – 22): Held annually in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, the two-day music festival offers patrons an incomparable experience where music meets food, art, craft and nature. The festival attracts visitors from all across the globe who desire family oriented reggae music. The Festival also promotes the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park (nominated World Heritage Site) as a tourism destination. Website?
Reggae Month (Month of February): Organized since its inception in 2009 by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA), the event is a celebration of Jamaica’s reggae music for the entire month of February. The format usually includes live weekly concerts, lecture series, a reggae village at Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, an awards ceremony and so much more. www.jariajamaica.com/reggae-month
Paradise Lost (March 10 – 12): Showcasing some of the world’s top EDM DJ’s and performances by local Jamaican artists, Paradise Lost is a three-day electronic dance music festival. Jamaica is the birthplace of electronic dance music via the dub music which was invented in Kingston Jamaica by the late great King Tubby and King Jammy. www.paradiselostjamaica.com
One World Ska & Rocksteady Music Festival (May 28 – 29): Conceptualized to promote Kingston as the birthplace of Jamaica’s popular music industry, the festival targets the vast fan base of Ska music and Rocksteady music lovers around the world.
Ocho Rios Int’l Jazz Festival (May 26 – June 5): The annual Jamaica International Ocho Rios Jazz festival has developed and established itself as a vehicle for showcasing international and Caribbean musicians and artistes. www.ochoriosjazz.com
International Reggae Day (July 1): A 24 hour event of global reggae culture hosted in Kingston, the aim is to celebrate the best of Jamaican creativity and is global impact using the power of music, media and communication technology to unite nations. www.ireggaeday.com
Reggae Sumfest (July 17 – 23): Reggae Sumfest is Jamaica’s only weeklong festival dedicated to showcasing the island’s indigenous reggae music while also promoting Jamaica as a prime summer destination. Reggae Sumfest is now widely regarded as one of the world’s premier reggae events and attracts visitors and media from all across the globe. www.reggaesumfest.com