The Jamaica Ocho Rios Jazz Festival started in 1991 as an experimental one-day event called at the time The Ocho Rios "Mini" Jazz Festival. It was produced and directed by Musician/Journalist Sonny Bradshaw in an effort to redefine the Jamaican musical landscape and enhance the Tourism product by providing an entertainment atmosphere that whole families could share and enjoy. With that in mind, "Father's Day" was chosen for the event, Carib Inn Beach (Ocho Rios) the venue and the "Greatest Names in Jamaican Jazz" the byline.
In three years the festival grew from one to eight days and became the Caribbean's complete jazz vacation, featuring the greatest names in Jamaican Jazz as well as the very best of international fare. It boasts a Youth Programme, daily free concerts, a large-scale Photo Exhibition and events large and small going on simultaneously all over the Island-Kingston, Montego Bay, Negril, Runaway Bay-Ocho Rios. It has established a "Jazz Hall of Fame" recognising those Jamaican and Caribbean Musicians who have distinguished themselves internationally while contributing to the development of the art form.