JM | Jun 2, 2021

Early days yet, Mocha Fest: Those COVID cases you “don’t have” could still be coming

Gavin Riley

Gavin Riley / Our Today

Archive footage of Mocha Fest Jamaica 2019. (Photo:

Organisers of controversy-laden Mocha Fest are today (June 2) alleging that none of its patrons reportedly contracted coronavirus (COVID-19) while partying in Negril, Jamaica.

Some 96 hours after announcing the cancellation of its remaining events due to a tidal wave of criticism, Mocha Fest posted on Instagram that ‘zero per cent’ tested positive for COVID-19 during the five-day extravaganza. 

Ignoring the poorly designed image, Mocha Fest also shared an article from the Jamaica Observer, which cited sources that said most patrons tested negative for COVID-19 on their return to the US. 

“The sources say 1,400 visitors from the United States came to Jamaica for Mocha Fest, with more than 90 per cent of that group leaving on Monday,” the Wednesday article noted. 

Mocha Fest Jamaica made bold claims on Wednesday, June 2 that “zero per cent” of its patrons were infected during their five-day stay in Negril, Westmoreland. (photo: Instagram @MochaFest)

Seeing as the self-proclaimed “wildest urban festival on Earth” has the time to be beating its chest over what a ‘good job’ it did, I have a few questions…

  1. Acknowledging sources who said that patrons had to be either fully vaccinated or present a negative test to be admitted to Jamaica, are you aware that COVID-19 is an airborne virus and could have been contracted en route to the island at respective US airports?
  2. Bearing in mind this was marketed exclusively for tourists, would you still say with certainty no one is sick? And if not, what are you not saying? 
  3. Looking at the memo sent to revellers on Saturday, Mocha Fest said there were many issues ‘outside its scope of control’ and hung Rick’s Café out to dry by blaming its ‘disappointing’ attempts at crowd control. You also said it was a success, so what’s the truth?
  4. Provisions in the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) were broken by Rick’s Café as the venue host of Daytime Urban Splash, but let’s no forget patrons’ role in this as well. If attempts to isolate the Mocha Fest group from the local community were compromised, how can you say definitively that ‘zero per cent’ were infected?
  5. Now I won’t assume Mocha Fest has a doctor or epidemiologist on its organising team but are you aware that the incubation period for the coronavirus can be as long as 14 days?

Frankly, I think this position you all have taken in light of the majority of the Jamaican population’s feelings towards your festivities is downright insulting. 

Imagine if a group of people were asked to make countless sacrifices in the middle of a pandemic, our very own entertainment industry has been shuttered for 90 per cent of that time, only for tourists to come and gallivant in the name of ‘the economy’?

Don’t get me wrong, I also understand that you have a right to salvage a presumably damaged reputation but I also have to remember the isolation policy, which Mocha Fest strongly defended.

We, the Jamaican public, were NEVER to know about this travesty. 

Archive footage of Mocha Fest Jamaica 2019. (Photo:

It is you, Mocha Fest, your patrons, their undistanced social media posts and the government’s silence that gave it away.

Maybe in two weeks when your clients still remain uninfected, people (not me) would have appreciated this piece of showboating. 

God forbid, the worst may be yet to come, so a dose of humility would do you good. 

Keep your energy for Mocha Fest Greece. After all, it is just some days away and I’m sure we’ll meet again in 2022 since bookings have already been opened.


What To Read Next