Kingston Events, Things to Do and Festivals 2014 / 2015

(Kingston, Surrey, Jamaica)

Photo of locals performing at the annual Caribbean Heritagefest in OctoberKingston has a fun lineup of events and festivals, although there is not much in the way of outstanding, world-renowned Jamaican extravaganzas. Most festivals are cultural events showcasing Jamaican music or art, along with many fun parades and family themed celebrations.

Things to do include the many Mas Camp days out, such as the Heineken Startime, as well as the Carnival in Jamaica processions each February, the International Reggae Day concerts in July, and the boozy Kingston Oktoberfest event every October.

Kingston Calendar of Festivals and Events 2014 / 2015


  • New Year's Day - January 1st, a public holiday throughout Jamaica
  • Carnival at Mas Camp - this event is the first of its type in the New Year, with songs and dance for the run up to the Grand Carnival
  • Jamaica School of Dance Concert Season - with a strong Caribbean theme, held at the Little Theatre
  • Rebel Salute Music Festival - showcasing Jamaican culture through music and folk traditions


  • Heineken Startime, Mas Camp - a night of fun and a string of known Jamaican performers
  • Carib Cement International Marathon - mid-February, featuring many leading Jamaican and international runners
  • University of West Indies Carnival - mid-February, week-long festivities and revelry centred around the UWI university students


  • Jamaica Music Industry Awards - early March, with all kinds of concerts hosted by the Jamaica Music Industry (JAMI)
  • SKAZZ - a musical event all over Jamaica in March, blending ska and jazz music, and offering a decent lineup of artists from around the country
  • Carnival in Jamaica - the main event in Jamaica is best seen in Kingston, as there is parading and music galore. This really is party time, with literally thousands of costumed people taking to the streets. Expect plenty of calypso music, as well as reggae and soca (calypso music with soul elements). Notable highlights include the J'Ouvert all-night party and the Sunday Road March
  • Miss Universe Jamaica Beauty Pageant - mid-March, with a lineup of beautiful Jamaican women, each wishing to be crowned with the title of 'Miss Jamaica'
  • Easter - late March / early April - religious festivities are held all across Jamaica, especially on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday


  • Kingston Food Festival - mid-April, has tastes of Jamaica and the Caribbean, with vendors and Michelin-starred chefs cooking up lots of mouthwatering produce
  • Devon House Crafts Fair - with an array of handicrafts and tasty snacks for all to enjoy


  • Labour Day - May 23rd, shops and banks close on this day, which is a public holiday in Kingston
  • Jamaica Horticultural Society Show - a profusion of exotic plants and flowers, at the National Arena
  • All Jamaica Tennis Championship - late May to mid-July, hosted by the Eric Bell Tennis Centre
  • Rukumbine - late May, featuring Jamaican folk music known as 'mento'


  • Edge Urban Art Festival - with painting, sculpture, photography, and other media being shown off across Kingston
  • Caribbean Fashion Week - designers and models from around the world flock to the National Indoor Sports Centre to showcase their threads
  • Jamaica Festival - early June, with much folklore, music and dancing to go round, organised by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission


  • International Reggae Day - this is a big music event in Kingston, and Jamaica as a whole, with musical talent shows and workshops each year, during the first week of July
  • Caribbean Island Swimming Championships - late July, based at the Independence Park sports complex
  • National Gospel Song Contest Finals - late July, a competition to find the 'Gospel Song of the Year'


  • Emancipation Day - August 1st, a public holiday in Jamaica, remembering this historic day in 1838, when Queen Victoria decreed that all slaves were free. Various parties, events and activities take place throughout the city, including traditional Jonkanoo dancing
  • Independence Day - August 6th, flag-waving and Jonkanoo music is a big deal on this day, which marks Jamaica's split from the UK. One of the day's biggest parades is staged at King's House
  • Independence Street Festival - a fun outdoor event with traditional food and crafts, along with processions and Jamaican folk dances
  • August Fair and Jamaica Night - with hearty Jamaican food, storytelling and various local crafts demonstrated


  • Heineken Startime, Mas Camp - a similar entity to the efforts earlier in the year, with plenty of performances and entertainment, and lager and beer flowing


  • Caribbean Heritagefest - mid-October, at Portmore's Jamworld Entertainment Complex, to the south-west
  • National Heroes' Day - late October, national heroes Paul Bogle and Alexander Bustamante are remembered on this day, along with the other noted individuals who have shaped Jamaican society
  • Oktoberfest - late October, one for the Germanic Jamaicans of Kingston. There is always lots of beer and food for locals and visitors, not unlike the original Oktoberfest of Germany


  • Kingston Restaurant Week - early November, with a number of local restaurants offering fixed-price dining and some tasty specialities to get your taste buds in the mood for a great evening out


  • Tastee Talent Contest - mid-December, the Tastee Outdoor Theatre in town is the venue for this finale of a long-running Jamaican talent contest
  • Devon House Christmas Fair - with a host of Yuletide goodies the week before the big day
  • Jonkanoo Food Festival - a pageant and Christmas brunch, attended by many lively characters and locals
  • Christmas and Boxing Day - December 25th and 26th, all churches enjoy Mass on Christmas Eve, followed by feasting, present-giving, and fun in the sun on the day. Both of these days are national holidays in Jamaica