Top 5 Annual Events and Festivals in Jamaica

Top 5 Annual Events and Festivals in Jamaica

No one needs an excuse to go to Jamaica, but while you’re there, depending on the time of year, you should check out some of these major events happening across the island.


  1. Rebel Salute

For just over 25 years now, one of the world’s best reggae music festivals takes place at Plantation Cove in St. Ann. Started by reggae icon Tony Rebel, his focus is to promote the best of the Jamaica. This is apparent in the unique tradition of Dancehall artists performing songs with ‘clean’ lyrics under their own names vs. their stage names. This family friendly music festival allows free entry to kids under the age of 12 but restricts those under 18 from entering certain areas like their mini enclosure ‘Herb Curb’ created to offer education about the uses of marijuana in various industries.

When: February


  1. Stepping High Ganja Festival

This two day event is the first and longest running in the Caribbean. After over a decade underground with only word of mouth bringing in those interested in the farming and marketing of products derived from the marijuana plant, its status has now changed. With the medicinal marijuana industry growing larger each day and legislation changing regarding personal use, fabrics made of hemp and wider acceptance of the plant this festival is finding its place in the region. Celebrating Rastafarian culture, fashion, music and more associated with the industry it is an amazing experience that takes place every year in Negril.

When: March


  1. Carnival in Jamaica

Jamaica’s annual carnival rules the month of March, and a little before as many hit the gym to get that perfect body for their costume. Colourful feathers, sequins and barely there costumes and beautiful make up are only the last day, before that there are parties to attend, songs and dances to learn, drinks to be drunk and soca can be heard everywhere you go. The idea is to have fun and let go with the fervor building towards the all night mud and paint covered festivities of Jouvert and then on to ‘Pretty Mas’ the road march everyone associates most with the party atmosphere of Carnival. The pricey costumes are not a must, most parties are low cost for the entry fee and many not marching line the streets the day of the road march partying along with the revelers.

When: Feb – March


  1. Reggae Sumfest

Sumfest is a musical sensation taking place in Montego Bay in Jamaica. Coined as ‘The greatest reggae show on Earth’ – we couldn’t agree more, and what a beautiful setting for it to take place. Every evening sensational themed parties lead up to a weekend of music from sun down to sun up with some of the best reggae stars from far and wide, making for a world-class line up. This truly memorable ‘bucket list’ Jamaican experience with its unique energy will transport you along with the crowd as you share this moment.

When: July

  1. Dream Weekend

Dream Weekend is the weeklong annual party series which is held around Jamaica’s Independence weekend. The ‘weekend’ event includes up to 10 events taking place in Negril with thousands of patrons, including people who fly into the island just for the occasion, all participating in themed activities and parties day and night. Some events have food on sale or included in the price of the ticket and offer fun additions like dancehall lessons or a foam pit. So dress to maximize the fun! Some of the events have age restrictions so be aware before you purchase your ticket if you are under 18. Themes have covered all types of music genres such as a 90s dance party, all white, soca, dancehall, cooler fetes, electronic dance and a concert offering something for all tastes. Special all-inclusive VIP ticket options are available.

When: July-August