Too much fete? Jamaica Carnival 2017

Jamaica Fete Lineup

The past five years has seen a real change in the landscape of the Jamaican soca party experience. What was once a monopoly of events put on initially by Jamaica Carnival, which was then acquired by Bacchanal Jamaica in subsequent years, has now exploded into a cornucopia of parties and social gatherings promoted by a variety of groups from several different countries. The gradual rise of access to soca music, especially through the internet, has helped to start the countdown towards Jamaica’s Carnival period even earlier. Actually, there could be an argument that it is because of this access, the clamour for more soca based entertainment has been more widespread across the island. Thus, promoters have had to become more creative as they vie for both sponsorship and consumer eyes, and dollars.  So what was just a set of similarly themed, and timed, nightly fetes filled with the usual loyal patrons year to year has seen a surge of new promotional concepts being tried: From Cooler fetes, breakfast parties, soca parties featuring dancehall music, tailgate fetes to even short cruises around Kingston Harbour with the latest soca music from the Eastern Caribbean as the backdrop.


These parties have helped to revitalized the entire Jamaican soca movement and start a certain chain reaction as more parties would mean there would be a need for more disc jockeys who play the genre, which would then mean more segments on the radio dedicated to play the music to help to promote the parties on offer. But there can be too much of a good thing as one look at the events calendar for what is left of April will see what could only be described as a deluge of fetes on the horizon. With a grand total of 20 parties from the 20th – 24th, the last five days of this holiday/party period, and with both the 21st and 22nd having six parties between them. One wonders how exactly will the average Jamaican soca enthusiasts endeavor to support all these premium events listed. Experienced Jamaican party goers will remember a similar boom in events during the Emancipation/Independence Negril weekends of yesteryear which saw Absolute Entertainment, Appleton, Smirnoff and Red Stripe all vying for the same group of partiers. What ensued was complete chaos for a couple years with only the stronger brands surviving, and in some cases, absorbing the smaller events in their packages. Will a similar thing happen after this year’s revelry or will there be another outcome?


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