Enjoying the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival 2015
This year's 19th staging of the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival is happening on the three evenings of January 29 to January 31, 2015. Are you ready for some great music?
This "Premier Music Festival in the Caribbean" always gathers the world's most talented entertainers to celebrate all genres of music in Jamaica in January. It attracts tens of thousands of fans from Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean, the USA and Europe. The 2015 staging will once again honor this musical diversity, and we've prepared a short guide to help you get the most enjoyment from it!
Who Will Be On Stage in 2015?
The Festival usually features 20 to 25 live acts performing over the 3 days. Here's a list of some of the awesome performers who are confirmed so far:
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Reggae/Soca Night with Tribute to John Holt
- George Nooks - Jamaican singer of lover's rock reggae and gospel. Often compared to Dennis Brown. Winner of 3 Tamika Reggae Music awards.
- Lloyd Parks & We the People Band - Jamaican reggae vocalist & bass guitar player. Regulars at Reggae Sunsplash and Reggae Sumfest. Once backed Dennis Brown on tour.
- Judy Mowatt - Jamaican reggae artist; part of the "I Threes", backing vocalists for Bob Marley & The Wailers. Nominated for a Grammy Award. Awarded Jamaican Order of Distinction (OD).
- Oscar B - The 'Sweet Voice' from Tobago offers a unique blend of reggae, soca and Ska. Former frontman for Byron Lee & The Dragonaires.
- Josey Wales - Jamaican deejay from St. Mary. One of dancehall's founding fathers. Known as 'The Outlaw' and 'The Colonel'.
- Errol Dunkley - Jamaican reggae vocalist. Breakthrough UK Singles Chart hit in 1979 with "OK Fred", a cover of a John Holt-penned song.
- Cornell Campbell - Jamaican reggae singer and hitmaker for many years; best known for his trademark sweet falsetto voice.
- The Tamlins - Carlton Smith, Junior Moore, and Derrick Lara are among the most widely respected backup singers in reggae, especially for touring in support of Peter Tosh and John Holt.
Friday, January 30, 2015
- Mariah Carey - “Songbird Supreme” appears for her first ever Caribbean performance! Has sold 200+ million records & won 5 Grammy awards, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
- Morgan Heritage - Known as one of reggae's best bands with mellow, R&B-influenced vocals and Rastafarian lyrics.
- Richie Stephens - Jamaican R&B, reggae and reggae fusion singer-songwriter. Once part of Grammy-winning Soul II Soul which recorded at Motown.
- Arturo Tappin - Smooth jazz and jazz/reggae saxophonist from Barbados. Performed for past U.S. President Bill Clinton and twice for Fidel Castro and President Barack Obama.
- Silver Birds Steel Orchestra - From Kingston, Silver Birds was voted Jamaica’s top performing band for the year 2009 by the country’s largest radio and television conglomerate, RJR Group.
Saturday, January 31, 2015
- The Pointer Sisters - American R&B girl group with repertoire including nearly every genre of music. 3 Grammy Awards, inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2005.
- Charlie Wilson - American R&B soul icon brings all of his love to Jamaica for the first time. 'Uncle Charlie' has been nominated for 9 Grammy awards and was named Billboard magazine's No. 1 Adult R&B Artist.
- Peter Cetera - American love balladeer who gained his reputation while singing lead for Chicago. Solo hits such as 'After All', 'Stay with Me', and 'You’re My Inspiration'. Has scored 6 Top-40 singles.
- SOJA - Globe-trotting American reggae band based in Washington. This is its first ever Jamaica performance. Their 2012 album 'Strength to Survive' topped the Billboard Reggae Album Chart.
- Magic! - Canadian reggae fusion band behind the hit single ‘Rude’. Sound distills Caribbean flavor & glistening melodies with a fun, soulful and easy vibe.
Looks like the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival 2015 is going to have some great vibes!
How to Get Tickets
Tickets to the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival 2015 are available now for online purchase. The prices quoted below are in US Dollars. Get them early. Ticket sales at Bill Express will close January 24, and online sales will close at midnight on January 26. After that, you will have to find them at other locations islandwide.
Thursday - $80
Friday - $120
Saturday - $80
Friday & Saturday - $190
All 3 Nights - $270
General Admission grants you access to the general areas of the venue which has no assigned seating or standing areas. This area is occupied on a first-come, first-served basis. Children under 8 are free.
Thursday - $120
Friday - $220
Saturday - $120
Friday & Saturday - $330
All 3 Nights - $450
VIP admission grants you access to the general areas plus an area close to the stage. Unreserved seating is provided. This area is occupied on a first-come basis and is limited to the number of seats available. Children under 8 are free.
Available to "weekend" (Fri/Sat) and "season" (all 3 nights) ticket holders only. Cost is $20.
What Time Do the Shows Start?
Gates open at 4 PM and Main Stage show time is generally 6 PM. It's important to go early to get the best parking and best spot (especially if you have general admission tickets). The show usually ends by 1:00AM.
Getting to the Venue
The three-day Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival 2015 will be held at Trelawny Stadium (formerly known as Greenfield Stadium) in Duncan’s, Trelawny, which is just outside of Falmouth. It features amazing views of the coastline of Jamaica, excellent parking facilities, security, comfortable amenities and plenty of room to completely relax, dance, and enjoy the great music.
Trelawny Stadium is about a 10-minute drive from Falmouth, a 30-minute drive from either Montego Bay or Ocho Rios, about 1 & 3/4 hours from Negril, and about 2 & 3/4 hours from Kingston or Port Antonio. Driving to the event is generally easy because the roads on the North Coast are in good condition.
If you would rather not drive, there is scheduled shuttle service provided by Knutsford Express from Kingston, Ocho Rios and Negril. Buy your tickets online to get there in comfort! There will also be Park & Ride Shuttle service (details soon come).
Helpful Tips for Enjoying the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival 2015
- Don't forget your tickets. And you'll need some cash if you want to buy food and/or drinks. (I can't tell you how many times I've found broken ATM machines at music festivals!)
- Stay warm. You'll be outdoors all evening, and Trelawny can get quite cool at night. Dress accordingly and bring a shawl, sweater or something that will keep you warm.
- Keep your feet happy and wear comfortable shoes! Greenfield Stadium is a large venue. You'll want to be comfortable when walking from the parking lot and standing around listening to music (there's usually more than one stage). Also consider packing an extra pair of socks to keep your feet warm.
- If you're carrying a handbag, choose one you can carry over your shoulder to keep your hands free and one that's large enough to keep keys and things from getting lost.
- Pop a few of those handy pocket-size tissue packs in your handbag or backpack so you won't have any unpleasant surprises after you've stood in line to use the festival bathroom facilities just to find out there's no tissue left! A pack of baby wipes can also come in handy.
- Bring a collapsible umbrella or pick up a cheap rain poncho that can stay in your bag till you need it. The weather in Jamaica can change frequently, and you never know when you may get a rain shower. You'll be happy you came prepared!
- Don't forget a camera, or at least a smartphone with a camera, so you can capture the awesome performances of your favorite artists and share them with jealous friends. Just don't bring any big, fancy still camera equipment, and no video equipment or recording will be allowed.
- If you're alone, make friends. Music is only half of the fun. If you make new friends, you'll double your enjoyment.
Where to Stay Nearby
Whether you plan to attend the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival for just one evening or for the entire weekend, you may want a place to stay. The official festival hotels are Half Moon, Holiday Inn Sunspree, Toby Resorts and El Greco. Here are a few places that are nearby the venue. Also check our pages for other places to stay in Trelawny, Saint James (MoBay) and Saint Ann (Ocho Rios).
Jamaica Jewel Guest House; Duncans - 1 (876) 954-2352
Pineapple Villas, Duncans - 1 (603) 431-4029
Silver Sands Villas and Beach Resort; Duncans - 1 (876) 954-2001
Royal Reef Jamaica, Greenwood (Trelawny) - 1 (876) 953.1700
Retreat Guesthouse Luxury Suites, Falmouth - 1 (876) 954-9858
Royalton White Sands Montego Bay, Falmouth - 1-855-744-8371
Half Moon, Rose Hall, Montego Bay - 1 (888) 830-5974
El Greco Resort, Montego Bay - 1 (876) 940-6116
Toby's Resort, Montego Bay - 1 (876) 952-4370 & 1 (876) 952-6636
Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort Montego Bay, Montego Bay - 1 (888) 465 4329
Iberostar Grand Rose Hall Hotel, Montego Bay - 1-866-276-6393 (US)
Hilton Rose Hall Resort, Montego Bay - 1-800-997-5148
Gran Bahia Principe, Runaway Bay - 1-866-282-2442
Franklyn D. Resort, Runaway Bay - 1-876-973-4124
A Little Background
Nearly two decades ago, Air Jamaica's then-vice-president, Allen Chastenet, set out on a mission to attract more tourists to Jamaica during "soft" periods in the Fall of each year. With the help of producer Walter Elmore and others, he staged an outdoor music festival in November 1996 on the grounds of the historic Rose Hall Great House. The first show attracted an enthusiastic audience of 1,500, and the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Music Festival was born.
In 1998, the Festival moved to James Bond Beach in Oracabessa for a period of five years, generally being staged in October or November. But heavy rains often caused performances to be shortened or cancelled altogether. The decision was made beginning in 2000 to reschedule the popular event to the month of January, making it the kick-off event for the Jamaican entertainment season.
The venue has also changed from time to time, moving from James Bond Beach to Cinnamon Hill Golf Course in Montego Bay from 2001 to 2005. Thanks to international acclaim, attendance grew to more than 35,000 and, from 2006 to 2008, the Festival's new home became the Aqueduct at Rose Hall.
Air Jamaica relinquished the title in 2009 and the Jamaica Tourist Board became the new sponsor of the renamed Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival. The event also got a new home at the Greenfield Stadium (now Trelawny Stadium) in Falmouth, Trelawny, which has won unanimous approval from patrons.
Festival Contact Information
To get more information about the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival 2015, check out these links:
Have a great time!!