Top Festivals And Where In Jamaica They Are Happening in 2023

Jamaica ranks high on the list of Caribbean destinations that hosts millions of international visitors yearly for music, food and culture festivals.

The festivals, which usually, provide suitable platforms for the showcasing of the finest talents on the island, have significantly contributed to the island’s economic gains and cultural relevance in the global space.

Whether you’re returning to your island home or you’re a lover of all things Jamaican, here are the top festivals happening in Jamaica from May through to December 2023.

Mocha Fest, Negril, Jamaica

May 25-30, 2023

The Jamaican staging of this Afro-American/Afro-Caribbean destination festival is held over the Memorial Day weekend in Negril and promotes freedom of expression. First held in 2014 as a single festival with just 200 attendees, there are now seven destinations around the world, and events attract thousands of participants. Mocha Fest offers the chance to party on the most famous beaches in the world and share the best of Black culture and entertainment.

Mocha Fest music and activities center on hip-hop and Caribbean music culture, and experiences include beach parties, themed club parties, beach concerns, tropical excursions, pool games, and food. Party themes include retro, bikini brunch, and black out, which will feature 2 Chainz. Offsite parties will be held at Wavz Beach Negril, Margaritaville, and Woodstock Negril. Featured artists include Laa Lee, Mario, and Stefflon Don. The festival schedule is as follows: May 25 at 10 pm “Best of the 90s” at Woodstock Negril; May 26 features the Red Hot Pool Party at SOC Hotel at 2 pm and Sexy in Black at Wavz Beach Negril at 10 pm featuring 2 Chainz; May 27 at 11 am is the date of the Beach Brunch at Woodstock Negril and the Lingerie Party at Wavz Beach Negril at 10 pm featuring Mario; May 28 features the All White-Water Party at Margaritaville at 4 pm; May 29 is the Bare as You Dare Bikini Booze Cruise at 12 pm; and May 29 features the Beach Glow Rave at Margaritaville.

Reggae Sumfest, Montego Bay, Jamaica

July 16-22, 2023

The 2023 staging of Reggae Sumfest marks the festival’s 30th year in operation. Owned and produced by Downsound Entertainment Limited and headed by Joseph Bogdanovich and his international team, it is the largest and most prestigious music festival in the Caribbean.  As expected from a celebration of reggae, the festival promises unlimited good times with ganja, dancing, and abundant beverages, combined with Rastafarian unity and political awareness in two chief venues: the beach and the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex. The week-long festival begins with Sumfest Family Fun Day on Sunday, July 16, followed by the Free Street Dance on the 17th, the All White Party on the 18th, the Blitz Party on the 19th, and the Global Sound Clash on the 20th.

The two main festival nights are scheduled for Friday, July 21, and Saturday, July 22. Guests should be prepared to party all night as Sumfest crowds tend to continue their activities until sunrise. Festival Night One on July 21 features Tommy Lee; Valiant; Masicka; Chronic Law; 450; Mighty Crown in a final Jamaica appearance; Gyptian; Jah Vinci; Boombox 90’s Badness featuring Harry Toddler, Nitty Kutchie, Mega Banton, Jigsy King, Boom Dandimite, General B, Tony Kurtis, and Silver Cat; TopMann; Pablo YG; Shane O; Roze Don; Stalk Ashjley; Venessa Bling & Moyann.  Festival Night Two on July 22 features Marion Hall,  King Jammy Tribute, Morgan Heritage, Kabaka Pyramid, Romain Virgo, Freddie McGregor, The Big Ship Crew featuring China McGregor, Stephen ‘D’ Genius, the Code Red Band, Dyani, Tanya Stephens, and Richie Spice.

Dream Weekend, Negril, Jamaica

July 28-August 1, 2023


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“The Caribbeans Largest Beach Festival”

Travelers who want a high-energy tons-of-fun experience will be heading for Negril’s Dream Weekend Jamaica. Dubbed the island’s “most incredible music festival” and the largest beach festival in the Caribbean, Dream Weekend attracts some 40,000 people each year to its immersive experience of nonstop music, dance, and fun with eight parties in five days along the famous 7 Mile Beach in Negril. Dream Weekend brings both local artists and star performers to its stages, and the musical comradery on the dance floors cannot be surpassed. Many Dream Weekend nights are themed, and guests are encouraged to attend in costume. Celebrations, known as “Emancipation Celebration,” are scheduled for each day at different locations on the island. Activities include “wet and wild” competitions and guests can mingle with the rich and famous at the events and on the white-sand beaches of Negril. Tropical beverages and tasty cuisine will satisfy even the most discerning palates. The music genres featured include dancehall, pop, house, hip-hop, rap, soca, and more. Guests in 2023 will be treated to the sounds of Shenseea, Stalk Ashley, Wayne Wonder, Chronic Law, Valiant, Ding Dong, Skeng, Banka, Boom Boom, Chromatic, Escobar, Fade, Young Chow, Travis World, Matterhorn, and others.


Jamaica Independence Festival Celebrations, Kingston, Jamaica

July 30-August 6, 2023

Scheduled for staging at the Jamaica National Independence Village, National Stadium, Independence Park in Kingston, the seven-day celebration is presented by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission. The 2023 staging marks Jamaica’s 61st anniversary of independence, and the multi-day celebration will include numerous events displaying Jamaica’s many and varied creative talents. Events will feature award ceremonies, fireworks, barbeques, a float parade, and a Grand Gala designed to revitalize and promote independence celebrations. August 6 is a public holiday marking the date of Jamaica’s independence from Great Britain in 1962. Other scheduled activities are the Mello-Go-Roun’, Festival Queen Contest, August Mawnin’, the Festival Song Contest, and street dances held in the major towns throughout the island, and traditional Jamaican foods like curry goat, rice and peas, jerk chicken, and Jamaican beef patties will be available.

Jamaica Rum Festival, Montego Bay, Jamaica

December 2023


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The Jamaica Rum Festival showcases the island’s excellent production of rum, music, and tasty food. Featured is Jamaican White Overproof Rum, which is known as the finest rum in the world. Dry, clear, and with a light body, It captures the unique characteristics of the island’s sugar cane and the mineral-rich limestone rock loaded with calcium carbonate. There are only four distilleries that make rum in Jamaica: Hampden Estate, Appleton Estate, Worthy Park Estate, and National Rums of Jamaica. The Jamaica Rum Festival celebrates centuries of rum manufacture in the breathtaking panorama of the Jamaican environment. Marked by spectacle, the fourth year of the festival presents the best chance to explore rum tasting, enjoy top-quality cuisine, and the excitement of Jamaican music and entertainment. The festival brings visitors into the heart of the Jamaican experience and provides the world with the unique history of the best rums ever made.

Black Star Line Festival, Kingston, Jamaica

Date TBA

No date has yet been set for a Kingston staging of the Black Star Line Festival, which had its initial presentation in Accra, Ghana, on January 6, 2023. Designed as a festival celebrating Pan-African art, it was founded by Vic Mensa, a Ghanaian American artist, and Black American artist, Chance the Rapper. IT offered a week-long showcase of events that included panel discussions, fine art exhibitions, and nightlife. The week’s offerings climaxed in a large-scale concert at Black Star Square in Accra. The festival is meant to signal the total liberation of all African peoples around the world. The founders seek to align all people of African descent to reunify bonds severed by the transatlantic slave trade. The festival is named for Marcus Garvey’s Black Star Line shipping company that sought to close the division of the people by water. Chance the Rapper has been in discussions with Jamaican representatives to stage a Black Star Line Festival in Kingston in the near future.

Photo – Official Facebook Page for Reggae Sumfest

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