In Jamaica reggae is everywhere, a constant of everyday life. Each year, the weeklong festival of Reggae Sumfest celebrates Jamaican reggae music with concerts, dances, and parties. Sponsored by Red Stripe, the most popular Jamaican beer, Reggae Sumfest Jamaica takes place in mid-July in Montego Bay, the island's second largest city and a popular tourist destination.
Reggae Sumfest Artists
Reggae Sumfest Jamaica began in 1992. It has grown steadily in popularity since its inception. It now attracts the top Jamaican reggae music groups, dancehall acts, and even such leading American performers as 50 cent. Jamaican reggae music acts that commonly perform at Reggae Sumfest include Ziggy Marley, Damien Marley, and other sons of the legendary Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals, and the Mighty Diamonds. Dancehall acts such as Elephant Man, Beenie Man, and Sean Paul also regularly grace the stage.
Events for Reggae Sumfest are spread across Montego Bay. The main concerts take place at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex (also known as the Bob Marley Entertainment Center) in the suburb of Freeport. Other events happen at Rose Hall Beach Park, Pier 1 disco, and even at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville in Ocho Rios. Reggae Sumfest Jamaica kicks off with a large party on Walter Fletcher Beach. A highlight of the festival is a street party and parade on Gloucester Avenue, Montego Bay's main thoroughfare.
Indigenous to Jamaica reggae music developed from the earlier musical styles of mento (similar to Trinidadian calypso), rocksteady, and ska. The genre reached its peak in the 1970s, especially with the works of Bob Marley and the Wailers. Marley brought Jamaican reggae music to the attention of the world. He is revered in Jamaica as a national hero and numerous memorials and tributes celebrate his life, including a Bob Marley Museum in Kingston.
Today in Jamaica reggae is an integral part of everyday life and can be heard from speakers almost everywhere. Jamaican reggae music has spawned such sub-genres as dub, ragga, reggaeton, and dancehall. Dancehall is a particularly popular musical type that combines reggae beats with Jamaican rap singing.
Reggae Sumfest Tickets
Reggae Sumfest celebrates the rich heritage of Jamaican reggae music. It attracts visitors from across the world. Because the event is so popular, hotels in Montego Bay are often reserved months in advance. It is best to get a hotel room and flights well in advance. Tickets to Reggae Sumfest Jamaica cost between $80 and $200 depending on the type of ticket and the events that you want to see.
Montego Bay comes alive during Reggae Sumfest. If you are a fan of Jamaican reggae music there is no better place to be.