Jamaica Celebrates Its Legendary Music During the Island's 50th Anniversary of Independence
Fifty years of Jamaica’s independence also marks over 50 years of legendary Jamaican music. To commemorate the famous artists and genres that hail from the island, there are a number of heart-thumping music events and festivals this year. Throughout 2012, visitors will have an opportunity to experience the music of Jamaica during a series of island-wide concerts for a taste of Jamaica’s past and present.
The evolution of Jamaican music over the last 50 years has seen the rise of reggae with legends such as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, and Burning Spear, the introduction of ska including the sounds of the Skatalites and Derrick Morgan, the emergence of Rock Steady, and now the pulsating beats from today’s Dance Hall through award-winning artists such as Shaggy and Sean Paul. The island’s music is currently heard and emulated around the world. For instance the ska beat is included in songs by musicians like Gwen Stefani or the late Amy Winehouse.
“As we celebrate 50 years of Jamaica’s independence, we also honor aspects of our distinct culture such as our music,” said Jamaica’s Director of Tourism John Lynch. “Our music has transformed communities here in Jamaica and overseas with harmony driven songs from a variety of musicians past and present. Visitors to the country shouldn’t depart without taking in the sounds and rhythms of Jamaican music. It’s played around the world, but there’s nothing like hearing it here in Jamaica.”
The following is a list of 2012 events highlighting Jamaica’s music offerings:
Ocho Rios Jazz Festival, Islandwide (June 9 - 16): June is Jazz Month in Jamaica and to celebrate visitors can experience a week of great music, superb entertainment and family-friendly activities during the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival. This week-long festival includes international performers from Europe, the United States and the Caribbean along with renowned Jamaican jazz artists.
Reggae Sumfest, Montego Bay, (July 15 - 21): The Annual Reggae Sumfest event showcases the best talents in roots, rock and reggae music. In keeping with the motto, ‘Promoting Music, the Universal Force,’ each year top Jamaican artists perform along with international acts. Previous headliners include Chris Brown, Usher, R&B queen Mary J. Blige, Neyo, Jasmin Sullivan, Kerry Hilson, LL Cool J, Rihanna, 50 Cent & G-Unit, Missy Elliott, Morgan’s Heritage, Lil Wayne, Elephant Man, Beenie Man, Bounty Killa and others.
Stir it up Film & Music Festival, Montego Bay, (November, TBD): The Stir it up Festival combines the essential elements of a film and music convention with a live talent showcase and a global online social network of viewers. Stir It Up welcomes a global audience and features authentic Jamaican live and screened entertainment.
Live Music Nation, Kingston, (Yearlong): Visitors eager to check out Kingston’s music scene can experience Live Music Nation, by attending one of the city’s weekly live music events, free to the public. Each week music-lovers can enjoy 90-minute sets of Jamaican beats while enjoying the island’s signature cuisine and beverages. Visit the Live Music Nation website for venues as they change weekly.
For more information on these music events and others or to book a trip to Jamaica, please visit www.visitjamaica.com or speak with your local travel specialist.
About Jamaica Tourist Board
The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), founded in 1955, is Jamaica’s national tourism agency based in the capital city of Kingston. The JTB was declared the Caribbean’s Leading Tourist Board by the World Travel Awards (WTA) from 2006 to 2011. Also in 2011, Jamaica earned the WTA’s vote for the World’s Leading Cruise Destination, Caribbean’s Leading Destination and Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Destination for the fifth consecutive year. Additionally, the Historic Falmouth Cruise Port was recognized as the World's Leading Tourism Development Project while Ocho Rios was named the Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Port and Sangster International Airport was voted the Caribbean’s Leading Airport. The destination also received recognition as the World's Leading Honeymoon Destination.
JTB offices are located in Kingston, Montego Bay, Miami, Toronto and London. Representative offices are located in Düsseldorf, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam and Tokyo.
For details on upcoming special events, attractions and accommodations in Jamaica go to the JTB’s Web site at www.visitjamaica.com, or call the Jamaica Tourist Board at 1-800-JAMAICA (1-800-526-2422). Follow the JTB on Facebook at www.facebook.com/visitjamaica, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/visitjamaicanow or on YouTube at www.youtube.com/aboutjamaicajtb.