Rum Festival is the biggest festival held in Kingston Jamaica. It offered guests experiences upon experience through a diverse collection of activities. The aim was to increase engagements while offering edutainment. The Jamaica Rum Festival set out to expose rum lovers to the process behind the magic while filling the days with good Jamaican culture.
The two day festival had multiple rum tasting occasions provided by indigenous brands presenting their robust brew. Each ticket had four redeemable sample chits with the option of sampling two wild card rums of choice, and two staple brands creating a rum tour of some sorts allowing guests to visit the different booths and experience what the island has to offer. Yes there are staple rums that locals flock to but Rum Festival found ways of presenting other brands to the mass.
Along with bar hopping and rum sampling the festival provided seminars and booths whose sole purpose was to educate guests on rums. From the Joy Spence experience on the teachings, tasting and situations for the various Appleton rums to the AE booth food pairing educating guests on what rums goes well with what flavours and Rum Festivals heritage house enlightening guests on the life cycle of rums, Rum Festival did its due diligence in deepening the mind surrounding rum.
As night drew patrons gathered around the stage with the expectants of spectacular performances. Day one presented a mix of Dancehall and Reggae acts and day two showed us Reggae greats. Each night had a great line up and pulled an even greater crowd. Rum festival provided avenues for all to enjoy regardless of being an avid rum drinker. It was still the place to be even if only to take in the collective of amazing local music. Rum festival stayed true to Jamaican culture by dishing out good act after good act of the music the world has come to love by presenting the show within Jamaica’s music capital, Kingston.
The production of the festival was impeccable in seeing how organizers managed to double festival venue from its inaugural staging to its 2020 extravaganza. All eyes were glued on the stage as it provided a mesmorising and magnetized view of each performance. The stage details and decor fit the theme perfectly while audio and visual elements were of the highest quality. One big wow factor was the motorized LED screen that would lower or rise to expose a different band on either level of the two tiered stage. Sometimes both bands played during one set and sometimes they took breaks at different times where none was the wiser due to its impeccable execution.
This is the type of entertainment Kingston has been missing. It has been yearning for a musical escape and Rum Festival provided the cultural whimsy. With local greats gracing the stage city goers got to indulge and kick back right in their back yard. Rum Festival is the perfect weekend ticket made all the better with the musical line ups, where it’s not often that the city is presented with the opportunity to revel in the sweet serenades of Coco Tea or is energized by the fire god himself, who never disappoints or shy away from putting on a show. With the talented live band backing the artist and bold visuals complementing the sets it’s easy to see why the crowd stayed for the festivals finale. When it comes to Jamaican music, no matter the medium, one will always have a good time and Rum Festival jammed it into 2 great nights of cultural entertainment.
There was a taste for everyone with night 1 being packed with Dancehall and modern music, and night 2 seeing Reggae and vintage acts. Pick a night or stay for 2, either way both nights were great for the entertainment value. Who will grace the stage next year? We’re not there yet. We’re still thinking back to those of 2020. With Ding Dong and Desha showing the crowd the syvah to Protoje and the gang churning out looks and belting out lyrics ensuring all eyes were faced forward and taking in the live show. The performers came to perform and the patrons came to party and a lot more could be said but it was better if you were there. Until next year where we hope to see a Marley ensemble. In the words of the great Bob ” Bring the culture uptown.”