Jamaica Gleaner / It’s not an official holiday like Independence Day (August 6), but the Flag Fest Group has started its on the road and social media promotions for party-goers to get their flags ready for March 2018.

But it’s not only about the flags. The event promoters are planning for Flag Fest to bring residents and tourists together in true patriotic form.

Flag Fest is observed worldwide, held annually in countries and places that mark the start of the soca season or Independence weekend, such as St. Maarten in the Caribbean and Rochester, New York. The Flag Fest Group has plans to take the unofficial one-day festival to the next level and make it a pioneering event during Jamaica’s Carnival season for years to come. 

“From the feedback received, a lot of people don’t really understand what a flag festival is. A few are undecided, since it is not an event they are familiar with, while others are waiting for what is going to happen,” Jeremy Wilson, head promoter of The Flag Fest Group, said.               

“Nonetheless, it’s all about patriotic pride, love of soca or anything that persons hold close to their hearts. We thought close to the carnival season would be fitting, so tourists could also represent their country,” he continued.

The flags do not necessarily have to represent a country, but can also include organisations and cliques. The promoters plan to offer packages to groups which purchase tickets, in order to have customised flag designs printed upon request. Wilson told The Gleaner  “thus far we have targeted college and university students islandwide, since that is where you find a melting pot of Caribbean people.”

Flag Fest is a soca event, but Wilson explained “the genres need each other to grow; in Jamaica there is never one without the other, so patrons can expect a little dancehall.”  Local selectors such as Richie Ras and King Taj are on the entertainment line-up, along with a special guest from Aruba who the promoters have decided to keep secret until near the month of the event.

“It is our hope to grow the brand in Jamaica as a full-fledged soca festival, including a stage show for artistes of the genre to come and display their talents during the carnival season,” Wilson said.

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