This brainchild of Byron Lee started as a very small affair in 1990 amidst negative critics and a host of failure prediction from the naysayers. Persistence, commitment and the desire to share the fun and bacchanal scene, and his experience of Trinidad carnival allowed, Lee
set out to create something similar for the Jamaicans. The dream became a reality and today it has become a tremendous success as one of the largest annual event on the Jamaican calendar. Though many had tried their hands in times past at promoting a Carnival in Jamaica no one succeeded. Out of a dream that was natured over the years, came this pageantry that has become Jamaican Carnival.
The first staged parade was held in April of 1990 and had approximately 1400 masqueraders by 1998 that number grew to over 1.2 million. In 1993 Eddie Chai introduced steelpan and to date has not received the acceptance of the general public. With the assistance of the Trinidadian Jouvert Band Mudder International, another aspect of Trinidad Carnival was introduced, Ole Mass but this faded with the introduction of J'Ouvert. The growth being as phenomenal as it was, caused even the naysayers to stand up and take notice, thus forcing the organizers to form a National Committee in 1996 to oversee the staging of the annual Carnival. .
Over the short period that Jamaica has celebrated Carnival, it has gone through many changes, creating a positive force that brings Jamaicans together. It is becoming very local with the emergence of the local designers and Mass Camps. Carnival has done the same for the Jamaican population as it has done in all other countries, united the population, created jobs and is also increasing the Tourism industry.
The reigns of leadership was handed over to one Russell Hadeed who took the baton and smoothly sailed the Carnival to its 10th anniversary. This also saw the return of the man who started it all, Byron Lee, who assisted with the organizing of the anniversary events. Under this new management, Jamaica Carnival is being taken into a new era creating a bigger and more spectacular event. These phenomena that is Jamaica Carnival evolved from a dream of one man and has enveloped the minds of many to become the reality that it is.