5 Ways to Experience Jamaica's Music Scene

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Jamaica has been synonymous with music for decades. The swaying island has a rhythm that can't be denied, and even though the days of Bob Marley are long gone, this tropical paradise island still attracts travelers with its melodies. If you're heading down for a tropical vacation anytime soon, here's where you can check out the island's unique music scene.

Music Festivals

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It seems like there's a music festival every month in Jamaica! And despite the island's reputation for reggae music, that's not the only genre you'll find represented. The Ocho Rios Jazz Festival is one of the Caribbean's best jazz experiences and features distinguished performers every year. Then there's Dream Weekend which encapsulates five days of pulsing music and beach parties. If you still want some classic reggae, check out Bob Marley's Birthday Bash and the swinging Reggae Sumfest.

On the Street

Like many, finding the most authentic music in Jamaica means you'll have to take to the streets. Held on street corners and in town squares, street parties and dances bring out all the best local performers. Dancers show off their best moves while up-and-coming DJs rub shoulders with established names. Drive around the island and you're sure to find the locals out having a party somewhere, but for better odds be sure to visit Kingston, the nation's biggest city. Try attending with a local escort who can show you the ropes, or research some of the bigger events in public squares where the whole town comes to party.

Bars and Clubs

If you want to take the party indoors, search out the nightlife where you can listen to one of Jamaica's most vibrant genres of music — no, not reggae. Dancehall. Dancehall  features a D.J. singing or rapping over intense dance music. Informed by both dubstep and reggae, this genre thumps through the bars on any given night. From Fiction Nightclub to The Deck to Dub Club there are plenty of bars and clubs in Kingston to get your music fix.

National Dance Theatre Company

The nation's leading performance company is a great place to explore yet another side of Jamaican music and entertainment. The company blends lore and traditions from Jamaica, Africa and the American South with both modern and classical forms of ballet. If you have the chance to see them perform, definitely take it. Innovative, beautiful and creative, these performances will spellbound you.

Bob Marley and Peter Tosh Museums

If you want to learn more about the history and development of Jamaican music, there are two must-see museums detailing the lives of the nation's greatest musicians. The Bob Marley Museum and the Peter Tosh Museum both feature exhibits on the artists' histories, as well as the political and cultural contexts that informed their music.  

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