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Some of the many persons who turned out for the Reggae Sumfest 2015 All-White Party at Pier 1, Montego Bay, St James, in July 2015. 

Music festivals: An integral pull factor for Destination Jamaica

Jamaica is a multidimensional destination with many layers of intrigue and mystique. The diversity of the island belies its 4,411 square miles, boasting many natural wonders, attractions and heart-warming people. Among her many attributes, Jamaica is renowned for world-class events such as its literary, food and music festivals that are staples on the island's calendar of events.

Music has been a conduit of expression for the island's colourful and captivating culture. As the place that gave the world reggae, rocksteady, ska and dancehall music, Jamaica is the destination with year-round musical offerings. Music festivals are a formidable element in the Jamaica Tourist Board's (JTB) marketing mix as it promotes the virtues of the destination. Jamaican festivals have earned the loyalty of music connoisseurs worldwide, who eagerly anticipate the yearly shows. But enjoying music on the island isn't limited to a designated calendar event, as in any given community on any day, music is the order of the day and people are rocking to its infectious rhythms.

JAMAICAN AMBASSADORS

The island's musicians have been incomparable ambassadors in spreading the country's strong cultural heritage around the world. Their musical prowess in the international marketplace has aroused the appetite of music lovers, who journey to the island to experience the music in its birthplace. Jamaica's picturesque scenes and exhilarating activities only add to her allure as the ideal backdrop to the numerous music festivals across the island.

The summer months in particular serve up treats with events like Reggae Sumfest and Dream Weekend. Dubbed the 'Greatest Reggae Show on Earth', Reggae Sumfest is one of Jamaica's premier music festivals. Now in its 24th staging, it remains a celebrated festival that features reggae and dancehall acts delivering scintillating performances. The diverse talents represent the range of the genre of music made popular by Jamaican musicians. This year, Reggae Sumfest will introduce live 360 degree virtual reality streaming for the public to experience the festival on mobile phones, thus adding to the appeal of the event.

Dream Weekend's themed parties, scheduled to take place during Jamaica's Emancipation holidays, have the reputation of a strong fan base among Jamaicans and visitors alike. Now in its eighth year, the live shows, the venues and the food are some of the pull factors that attract patrons. The exposure that Destination Jamaica receives from these festivals is not limited to the rave reviews from patrons, but has much to do with the international media that cover the events.

Music festivals will remain a dominant pull factor among travellers worldwide. Jamaica will continue to benefit from this trend as the demand for Jamaican music increases among international travellers. Summer is a time for festive activities and Jamaican music festivals continue to attract repeat and first-time visitors from around the world. 

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