Reggae rhythm and island breeze intoxicate crowds of people as they sway to the anthem of “One Love,” sing in unison, and raise their arms up to a cloudless sky. . . Have you ever wished yourself in this world— where the omnipresent vibe is of chillin’ and spreadin´ the love?
Notice: Reggae Sumfest 2021 is delayed due to COVID-19
The Reggae Sumfest original dates was from in 2021, from July 18-24, at the stunning Montego Bay in Jamaica
It is no doubt that Jamaica has made a huge impact on the world through their distinguished reggae music— and Reggae Sumfest has definitely had much to do with this influence.
As the premier reggae festival on the planet and the biggest party in Jamaica, Reggae Sumfest is an entire week of head bobbin´, drum beatin´, hip-swayin´ fun.
R&B and Hip Hop at Reggae Sumfest
Beyond just reggae, however, Sumfest also explores the musical worlds of R&B and hip hop.
Over the years, Beyonce, R. Kelly, Jay-Z, Ludacris, Alicia Keys, Usher, Lil´Wayne, 50 Cent, Mary J. Blige, Kanye West, and many other huge international sensations have rocked the stages of Sumfest.
Although the festival is known for attracting elite musicians from all over the world, it also does an outstanding job of shining a bright light on their local legends, such as Damian and Stephen Marley, The Mighty Diamonds, and Freddie McGregor.
2019 Lineup with dates
See the list below with all the performers and shows from July 14-20, 2019. The main Sumfest festival days are in July 19-20, with no confirmed names for July 20.
Here’s your awesome list day by day:
The talented Stylo G will perform with music from DJ Jigga, DJ Courtney, DJ Antsman, and Crazy Neil.
Is the big street dance with Skyjuice, Team Shella, and Triple X.
The white dress code is on (great for summer) with music by: Dexta Peppa and DJ Smoke.
Hitting it hard with Blitz all black at hard rock cafe with music by: Crazy Neil, Rolexx, and Bishop Escobar.
An international music fest with DJ’s from all parts of the globe.
The big day of Sumfest with the top names:
Spice, Dexta Daps, Govana, Squash, Spragga Benz, Elephant Man, Chronixx, and more performing at Catherine Hall.
Romain Virgo, Christopher Martin, Jah 9, Buju Banton, and more at Catherine Hall.
The musical lineup for 2017 was just as impressive, starring the likes of Alkaline, Sean Paul, Tifa, Queen Ifrica, Sean Kingston, Mavado, and many, many more.
Peace And Love Through Reggae
Through all of this, it is important to note that Reggae Sumfest is much more than just a music festival. It is an affectionate gathering in one of the most tropically delightful places on Earth, celebrating authentic Jamaican culture, and raising the vibrations of peace and love high enough for the world to feel.
While many people attend the festival for the music, it is the energy of the island that swims in their veins for a lifetime, causing them to return year after year.
At Sumfest, it is not uncommon for nearly everyone to party until the sun rises. Being that the festival is a week long, the only way you will manage to maintain vitality until Sunday is to plan out time to rest. Look ahead at what the week holds, what you can and can’t live without seeing, and get some dang sleep. Your dance moves will thank you for it.
2○ Talk To Your Boss
Without a doubt, you will wish you had planned a longer stay in Jamaica. You may fly in for the tunes and the party, but you’ll want to stay for the intoxicating culture, pristine beaches, and out-of-this-world scenery.
3○ Check Out the Dance Hall
One of the coolest parts of Sumfest are it´s themed night parties. The Beach Party and the International Music Party are two of them, but what is most unique is the Dance-Hall Party.
Dance-Hall is an offshoot reggae genre developed in Jamaica directly from the dance halls, themselves. So, while the tunes are unique and intriguing, the dancing will blow any other dance party out of the water. Don´t worry if you can’t keep up— no one can dance like the Jamaicans dance; plus, watching will be just as fun.
So Why Reggae Sumfest?
It’s time to get down; to get down to reggae in the home of gettin’ down to reggae— Jamaica. It’s time to light up, sway in unison to rhythmic reggae, throw your hands up to the sky, and march to the anthem of “One Love” at this year’s Reggae Sumfest.
Located on the north shore of the island, Montego Bay is the absolute best setting for this type of festival. While the nightclubs (such as Margaritaville and the Blue Beat Ultra Lounge) are top-notch, there is still so much more to be experienced. For that, it is highly recommended to stay for an extra couple of days to explore the surrounding areas.
One of the greatest wonders of Jamaica exist within Glistening Waters: a phosphorescent lagoon that radiates in color by the magic of thousands of bioluminescent microorganisms. When visited at night, you can swim in it´s waters and be engulfed by it´s mystical blue glow. . . A truly outstanding experience.
As well, you can go hiking to Dunn’s River or Mayfield Waterfalls, snorkeling in the baby blue ocean, ziplining through jungle canopies, sunbathe at Cornwall beach, or even check out the Animal Farm and Nature Reserve.
Where to Stay
Since there is no camping at Reggae Sumfest, it is ideal to still sleep and rest up as close to the action as possible. Luckily, there are many choices of accommodation in Montego Bay to fit whichever budget and preference you may have.
Cheap Stay In Montego Bay
If you are traveling alone or would like to save a couple bucks by sleeping in a dorm room (which can be a lot of fun), Mobay Kotchis a fantastic hostel that only costs about $20 per night.
All Inclusive Resorts In Montego Bay
As well, if you are traveling with a group or a have a little more wiggle room in your wallet, there are many superb hotels in the area to relax at.
One of Montego Bay’s favorite hotels, the beachfront HyattZiva Rose Hall for $332 a night, remarkably offers unlimited food (top-notch Brazilian steakhouse type food) and beverages (alcohol included) 24 hours a day, fascinating entertainment, impressive pools with swim up bars, and much more!
Hotels In Montego Bay
However, if you prefer something a bit more modest and affordable, you can still enjoy some luxury in the beautifully secluded Doctor’s Cave Beach Hotel for only $87 a night!
Since the festival brings in tens of thousands of attendees, it is important to book your room ahead of time, using a booking website like booking.com.
What to Eat
All the movin´and groovin´you will be doing at Reggae Sumfest will inspire a bottomless appetite. Luckily, Montego Bay is loaded with nom-worthy cuisine— there is sure to be something for everyone.
If you are looking to treat yourself to something fancy, Marguerite is not only an exquisite seafront restaurant, but boasts of the best darn seafood in Montego Bay, such as their sauteed shellfish, and an award winning wine selection (oouu).
However, if you are more interested in some juicy hangover food, or -better yet- “drunchies” (drunk munchies), you can get your fix over at the local Pork Pit for some delicious and satisfying pork jerk (it’s even been listed in Patricia Schultz’s New York Times bestselling book, 1000 Things To See Before You Die).
As well, if you are looking to for a satisfactory meal, while being kind to both your lovely body and the beautiful environment, Montego Bay also has some mindful and vegan-friendly restaurants, two of which are Adwa Nutrition for Life (great for fresh juices, shakes, and vegan pastries) and Mystic India (delicious buffet-style Indian food).
How to Get There
Since Jamaica is an island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, options to get there are limited to airplane travel, as there are no boat services from international countries. That is, unless you have an affinity for really long distance swimming.
Flights to Montego Bay
Your best bet will be to fly straight into Montego Bay via the Sangster International Airport. They not only have flights from Kingston, but have daily flights from major cities such as Toronto, Miami, New York, and Manchester.
From the airport, they offer taxis and shuttles to your hotel room, as well as car rental services (a good idea if you’re staying on the island for a while and wish to do some exploring).
Getting from Kingston to Montego Bay
The best bus option to get from Kingston to Montego Bay will be taking the Knutsford Express Ltd straight to Montego Bay. It will cost about $23 and take about 4 hours.
You will start out by getting on T1 in St. Catherine, and following that to A1. From there, follow A1 through St. Ann Parish, all the way until you reach Montego Bay. The trip should take about 3 hours and 20 minutes.
Getting from Negril Beach to Montego BayBy Bus
The best bus service to take will be the Knutsford Express Ltd. From Negril Beach Villa you can take a bus straight to Montego Bay for only about $13. It should take about 2 hours.
Negril beach is a beautiful sight to see and the drive to Montego Bay will be delightful, as well. Not to mention, it is very straight-forward drive: all you have to do is head north on the A1, and follow that until you reach Montego Bay. The drive should only take about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Reggae Sumfest History
Reggae Sumfest was birthed in 1993 by fathers Johnny Gourzong and Robert Russell. The inspiration for Sumfest came from the downward spiral of a former local festival, Reggae Sunsplash.
As Reggae Sunsplash eventually died out, Gourzong and Russell imagined an even greater reggae event— one with bigger names, larger crowds, and a stronger Jamaican heart.
As the decades rolled on, their imagined event became a reality, and even exceeded their expectations by drawing in the likes of the biggest reggae, hip hop, and R&B artists in the world, such as Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, Lionel Ritchie, and local sensations such as Beres Hammond, Ziggy Marley, and Gregory Isaacs.
They had grown Reggae Sumfest from an idea into the most authentic reggae festival in the world!
In 2016, Summerfest Productions (in case you were wondering what Sumfest stood for) sold their festival to DownSound Entertainment.
While many worried about what this might mean for the noteworthy Sumfest, it proved to be a huge success. DownSound Entertainment succeeded in spreading “Brand Jamaica” across the globe by presenting authentic culture (“da roots”) and true reggae during the festival.