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Jamaica Independence Festival

The Jamaica Festival marks the crescendo of the festival activities staged by the JCDC. Since 2008, the independence celebratory activities begin on July 31 and culminate on August 6. The theme “One Love, One Family” guided this inaugural week long celebration.

A number of activities form the backdrop of this highly anticipated moment that resonates with affirmation the proud achievements of this noble country, as well as the experiences of our ancestors who paved the way for a new Jamaica. Indisputably the epicenter of patriotic cultural events, Jamaica Festival contributes significantly to the swelling of national pride and dignity.

This period showcases many exciting events which showcase the talents of Jamaicans. The float parade and grand gala brought back in 2008 forms the zenith of the celebrations, and have helped to strategically revitalize and engender the nostalgic Independence celebrations. Other activities entail:

  • Mello -Go- Roun’
  • Emancipation Vigils
  • World Reggae Dance Finals
  • National Thanks giving Church Service
  • Augus Fair
  • Independence Street Dance

It is important to note that these activities represent the mainstay of this celebratory period.

In 2009, the Jamaica Festival was celebrated under the theme “I believe in Jamaica”. The Jamaica Gospel Song Finals and the National Forum on Emancipation Independence formed part of the activities that were undertaken.


Retrospectively, there were various variables that characterized the Independence Celebrations. The Costume king and Queen Competition was introduced n 1966 with Costume Queen, Costume King in 1975 and Children Costume in 1988. Aditionally, there were other activities that heightened and added a convivial touch to the Indepedence Celebrations. These included :

Seascape – Started in 1985 and was held on Independence Day along Ocean Boulevard and Kingston Harbour. This event included a variety of land and sea events.

Better Village Competition-Introduced in 1973 to promote community spirit and most importantly to build civic pride. Communities organized and beautified their communities within the requirements of judging.

Festival of Fashion- This was an integral part of the Independence activities between 1968 and 1987. This was added to heighten the mood of the celebrations among the people as well as to promote the work of designers and dressmakers. The concept was revived in 1999 with the theme ‘Bandana De Yah Again’.

Floats – This involved the parading of elaborately designed trucks on the streets that captured aspects of the Jamaican culture and experiences, as well as marching groups.

The re-introduction of the Grand Gala and Float Parade again in 2008 ( was revived in 1992 and 2002) significantly heighten the festive mood and brought back 'ole time Festival.'

Jamaica Independence Festival this year, promises to be a more exciting and thrilling experience. It will be bigger and better, share in this spectacular and culturally awakening affair!