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Jamaica Festival Songs - Popular (Winning) Songs Since 1966

by Wellesley

Jamaica National Flag

Jamaica National Flag

The Jamaica Festival Song Competition, also called the Popular Song Competition, and before 1990, known as the Independence Festival Song Competition, first took place in 1966.

It is one of the highlights of the Jamaica Independence Festival which was initiated in 1962 with the objective of showcasing Jamaica's literary, fine, and performing artists, and also to celebrate the Jamaican culture.

The Jamaica Independence Festival was the brainchild of then Minister of Community Development (and later Prime Minister), Edward Seaga.

And now, by popular demand, here (below) is a list of the all the winning festival song titles, and their singers, since 1966.

But just before...

New! Here Is The Complete Playlist, Including The Most Current Winner (2019)

1966-2019 (Year on Year)

  1. 1966 - The Maytals; Song: Bam Bam

  2. 1967 - The Jamaicans; Song: Ba Ba Boom

  3. 1968 - Desmond Dekker & The Aces; Song: Music Like Dirt

  4. 1969 - The Maytals; Song: Sweet and Dandy

  5. 1970 - Hopeton Lewis; Song: Boom Shaka Laka

  6. 1971 - Eric Donaldson; Song: Cherry Oh Baby

  7. 1972 - Toots & the Maytals; Song: Pomps and Pride

  8. 1973 - Morvin Brooks; Song: Jump In The Line

  9. 1974 - Tinga Stewart; Song: Play de Music

  10. 1975 - Roman Stewart; Song: Hooray Festival

  11. 1976 - Freddie McKay; Song: Dance This Ya Festival

  12. 1977 - Eric Donaldson; Song: Sweet Jamaica

  13. 1978 - Eric Donaldson; Song: Land Of My Birth

  14. 1979 - The Astronauts; Song: Born Jamaican

  15. 1980 - Stanley & The Turbines; Song: Come Sing With Me

  16. 1981 - Tinga Stewart; Song: Nuh Wey Nuh Betta Dan Yard

  17. 1982 - The Astronauts; Song: Mek Wi Jam

  18. 1983 - Ras Karbi; Song: Jamaica I'll Never Leave You

  19. 1984 - Eric Donaldson; Song: Proud To Be Jamaican

  20. 1985 - Roy Rayon; Song: Love Fever

  21. 1986 - Stanley & The Turbines; Song: Dem A Fe Squirm

  22. 1987 - Roy Rayon; Song: Give Thanks and Praises

  23. 1988 - Singer Jay; Song: Jamaica Land We Love

  24. 1989 - Michael Forbes; Song: Stop and Go

  25. 1990 - Robbie Forbes; Song: Island Festival

  26. 1991 - Roy Rayon; Song: Come Rock

  27. 1992 - Heather Grant; Song: Mek Wi Put Things Right

  28. 1993 - Eric Donaldson; Song: Big It Up

  29. 1994 - Stanley & The Astronauts; Song: Dem a Pollute

  30. 1995 - Eric Donaldson; Song: Join De Line

  31. 1996 - Zac Henry & Donald White; Song: Meck We Go Spree

  32. 1997 - Eric Donaldson; Song: Peace and Love

  33. 1998 - Neville Martin; Song: Jamaica Whoa

  34. 1999 - Cheryl Clarke; Song: Born Inna JA

  35. 2000 - Stanley Beckford; Song: Fi Wi Island A Boom

  36. 2001 - Roy Richards; Song: Lift Up Jamaica

  37. 2002 - Devon Black; Song: Progress

  38. 2003 - Stefan Penincilin; Song: Jamaican Tour Guide

  39. 2004 - Stefan Penincilin; Song: Ole Time Jamaica

  40. 2005 - Khalil N Pure; Song: Poverty

  41. 2006 - Omar Reid; Song: Remember The Days

  42. 2007 - Neville 'Gunty' Winters; Song: Woman A Di Beauty

  43. 2008 - Roy Rayon; Song: Rise and Shine

  44. 2009 - Winston Hussey; Song: Take Back Jamaica

  45. 2010 - Kharuso; Song: My Jamaica

  46. 2011 - Everton David Pessoa; Song: Oh if We

  47. 2012 - Abbygaye Dallas: Song: Real Born Jamaican

  48. 2013 - Competition was suspended. Read more.

  49. 2014 - Rushane "Deep Jahi" Sanderson: Song: I Love JA

  50. 2015 - Lee-Roy 'Ancient Priest' Johnson: Song: Celebration Time

  51. 2016 - Oneil “Nazzleman” Scott: Song: No weh like Jamaica

  52. 2017 - Suspended (Second Time). Read More.

  53. 2018 - Oneil “Nazzle Man” Scott: Song: A Wi Home

  54. 2019 - Raldene Dyer: Song: Big Up Jamaica

  55. 2020 - Buju Banton: Song: I Am Jamaican

  56. 2021 - Stacious: Song: Jamaican Spirit

What's My All-Time Favourite?

I have quite a few, including some of Roy Rayon's.

But if you poke me, I'd have to say this one below, Eric's Donaldson's Sweet Jamaica, click to PLAY on YouTube.

Love it, Love it, Love it!!!!!

By the way, if you are interested in purchasing copies of any of them, simply Google the name of the artiste and the title of the song, or visit our Amazon partner page by clicking this Jamaica Festival Songs link.

You may also simply do a YouTube search and watch the videos there.

You are also welcome to visit my YouTube Channel where I share lots more of the real Jamaica.

So, do you know (remember) any of these? What's your favourite?

Please share your feedback in the the comment link below.

Comments for Jamaica Festival Songs - Popular (Winning) Songs Since 1966

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Nov 20, 2019
Favourite festival song
by: Winston Broadbell

Hands down Eric Donaldson's "Land of My Birth"!!!!!

Jul 20, 2019
Land of My Birth
by: Owen G. Walker

I love and really appreciate all the songs. However the one that appeals to me most is Eric Donaldson’s " Land O My Birth"

Jul 14, 2019
Festival Song Winners
by: Anonymous

Hello Wellesley,

What happen to the 1962 to 1965 songs? Is there any way that I can get mp3's of all the Festival Winners Songs including those from 1962?


Jul 14, 2019
Festival Songs
by: Nigel Goymer

Love them all but for me Hopeton Lewis' Boom Shaka Laka is the best.

Jun 26, 2019
Favorite festival song
by: Claudine Tardiel

Yes Wellesley Gayle. My favorite was in the yr 1992 by Heather Grant. Big up!!

Aug 31, 2016
Festival Song 2013
by: AckeeEater

I have compiled a directory of all the Festival winners from 1966 on through 2016 for a radio show in the US. I have issues with only five of them-- one I found only a 1-minute clip, another is of poor quality, two I cannot find at all but I know the names.

The most egregious case though is for 2013. Everything I read says, like you did, that a different format from the normal open contest will be used. Well, what was the result of that? I cannot find that anywhere!

So, I'm asking here, do you know which tune emerged as winner? (I will also write the JCDC.) Thanks.


Jul 03, 2016
my favorite song
by: Maxwell

I can't choose because I love them all.I hope to see my name on the list one day.

Apr 18, 2016


Aug 07, 2015
very informative
by: Anonymous

My vest song was Toots and the Maytals Bam bam

Aug 06, 2015
by: Anonymous


Aug 03, 2013
by: Leslie-Ann

Good information, good memories. What would make it complete would be the writers of those songs.

Jul 31, 2013
Its the season now
by: Anonymous

Love hearing these songs.

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About The Author

wellesley gayle - booking link

A patriotic Jamaican who adore its culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' since April 2007.  

To date, he serves over 9,300 unique readers / viewers per day.

His efforts have earned this site featured positions in local publications, including the Jamaica Gleaner's Hospitality Jamaica, Carlong Publishers, as well as recognition from numerous prestigious international agencies and universities. Read more about him here.

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