As the first Caribbean city to be appointed to the Network, and long been considered the economic, social and cultural center of the English speaking Caribbean, Kingston has given the world 6 distinct musical genres: mento, ska, reggae, rocksteady, dub and dancehall. With music and cultural activities at its core, Kingston boasts the region’s only Visual and Performing Arts College, numerous sound systems, recording studios and music venues.
Activities such as Reggae Month/ it’s Kingston for February is one of the city’s largest music project. Started in 2009, it celebrates the unique cultural significance of reggae and is branded “Kingston for February.” During February, the city hosts free weekly concerts in public parks, stages large-scale music events in open air venues and in Trench Town and erects a Festival Village and Reggae University.
Other activities such as Jamrock Summer, Arts in the Park, Paint Jamaica, Kingston on the Edge, International Reggae Day, Blue Mountain Music Festival enliven music and engender creativity by artists and residents alike.
Kingston aims to:
1. Use the creativity of its people, specifically in music, as a driver for sustainable urban development. In particular, the city is focused on using music and the arts to redevelop and revitalize Kingston’s inner city communities often referred to as “Downtown Kingston.” The people of Downtown Kingston are among the most vulnerable and disadvantaged but also among the most creative and innovative. The vision is to continue to support and channel that creativity through institutional means for the betterment of those communities and ultimately the city.
2. Convert derelict buildings for use as creative incubators and performance venues, promote appreciation for creativity and provide an outlet of creative expression.
3. Provide access to music and the arts through innovative use of venues and emerging technology.