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8 Music Festivals to Experience in Jamaica

Music, especially reggae music, is the heartbeat of Jamaica. The island’s musical roots date back to the 1600s, when the English first colonized the island and brought Africans slaves to the region. Since then, Jamaican folk music has evolved to include more complex styles and instrumentation. Music festivals in Jamaica are run throughout the year and are the perfect way to experience the diverse mix of genres ranging from ska and rocksteady to reggae and soca.

Here are the top music festivals, according to our experts, to persuade you into experiencing the exciting rhythm and sounds of our island.

1. Bob Marley Birthday Bash, Negril
Feb 1-6
This six-day event serious commemorates what would have been Bob marley’s birthday. facebook.com/BobMarleyBirthdayBash/

 

2. Blue Mountain Music Festival (BMMF), Kingston
Feb. 27–28
Where music meets food, art, craft and nature in the most celebrated mountains of Jamaica. bombrushrecords.com

 

3. One Love Music Festival, Montego Bay
March 3–4
One Love, One World, One Voice gala reception and live concert. onelovemusicfest.com

 

4. JAMFEST Spring Break Concert Series, Negril
March
Top local and international artists perform throughout Negril. ststravel.org

 

5. Ocho Rios Jazz Festival, Ocho Rios
May
Ocho Rios is a distinguished international festival celebrating Caribbean jazz musicians and promoting ‘Classical Black Music and America’s First Art Form’. Stunning performances from some of the greatest artists in the Caribbean are well worth booking in advance for your holiday, and in such a fabulous setting, the smooth sounds will leave you wanting to stay in Jamaica forever. ochoriosjazzja.com/

 

6. One World Ska & RockSteady Music Festival, Kingston
June
Come see performances from international bands in the birthplace of Ska!

 

6. Reggae Sumfest, Montego Bay
July 15–21
Some the most talented acts in the industry descend upon MoBay to thrill thousands of patrons. reggaesumfest.com

 

7. Dream Weekend, Negril
Aug. 2–6
A week-long music festival traditionally held around Jamaica’s Independence Weekend. jamaicadreamweekend.com

 

For more details and events, check visitjamaica.com/things-to-do/events-and-culture/festivals.