Jamaica Celebrates 50th Anniversary Of Independence With Reggae, Ska and More

This year, Jamaica celebrates 50 years of independence.  While celebrating its freedom, the nation will also rejoice for 50 years of legendary Jamaican music. To commemorate the famous artists and genres that hail from the island, Jamaica will host a number of music events and festivals throughout the year.

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:

JAMFEST Spring Break Concert Series, Negril, (March 3, 10, and 17)

JAMFEST concert series will rock the resorts of Negril during Spring Break with musical events featuring top Jamaican local and international artists. Spring breakers can experience the beautiful beaches of Jamaica by day, and the electrifying beats of Jamaican talent at night.

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.

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