Soak yourself in some Caribbean culture with this handy list of some of the best festivals from the islands!
The Caribbean Islands are the ultimate festival destination. Some of the most exotic festivals and carnivals take place there and one can happily get lost in the culture and tradition that each of these festivals celebrate. Though most of us are aware of the big names, there are also some really great lesser-known festivals that live up to the insane Caribbean standards.
So the Sherp decided to scour the sun soaked sands of the Caribbean to bring to you some of the most happening festivals there, big or small.
The Trinidad and Tobago Carnival.
Where: The Trinidad and Tobago Islands.
When: February 27 and 28, 2017.
No festival list would be complete without a mention of the formidable Trinidad and Tobago carnival that takes place in Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad, every year. Said to be the mother of all things festive in the islands, this festival is one of the first of its scale and size in the Caribbean. One can witness some of the most dazzling parades and costumes throughout the carnival. Said to serve as inspiration for most of the carnivals and parades that are held in different islands throughout the year, it’s the mother lode of music, art and performances pouring in from every corner of the world. The festival is one of the biggest attractions on the dual islands and is a major contributor to its financial stability.
The dates for the upcoming carnival are February 27 and 28, 2017. Do check out the crazy local delicacies that are almost as famous as the carnival if you decide to drop in!
When: December 26 and January 1, every year.
That the Bahamas are a dream destination what with its scenic beaches and incredible weather is more than common knowledge. They sure know how to throw a party and Junkanoo is one big testament to that. The tradition goes all the way back to the time when the black slaves would get Boxing Day and the New Year off and use those days to celebrate their temporary freedom. The celebrations would extend well into the night with singing, dancing and beating of hand-made drums.
The present day Junkanoo varies, lets say, a little from this tradition. With the first event being held on the December 26, which is Boxing Day and the main event on January 1, its almost a week of glittering parades, intricate costumes and a celebration of freedom. The celebrations continue in to the wee hours of the night and one can experience the most exotic parties that the locals are well known for hosting!
One of the most chilled out festivals, the Sumfest is something that you can attend this year itself. The official dates are July 17 to 23, which gives you ample time to plan out a trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica and immerse yourself in some of the finest music. Anyone who is anyone on the international reggae scene will be up on the stage, which also gives you a chance to check out a lot of new music. This year’s line up is looking absolutely crazy with international acts such as Rihanna, 50 Cent and Sean Paul gracing the stage. Joining them in the line up are Stephen Marley, The Mighty Diamonds and Andy Vernon.
The parties hosted by the Sumfest are especially known. So kick off the festival with the All White Party on Tuesday, followed by three nights of electrifying live performances beginning with Dancehall Night on Thursday, International Night 1 on Friday, and lastly International Night 2 on Saturday.
When: TBA (Probably July-August)
One of the biggets festivals in Barbados, it is also the most culturally rooted. It is a grand celebration of the end of the sugarcane harvest season, as sugar is one of the main sources of income for the island. Through, traditionally singing and dancing around the fire, these simple manners of revelry have evolved into almost a week of happy boozy days filled with parades and dance performances on almost every corner of the island. The breathtaking sights, beach weather and happy disposition of the people are just the icing on the cake.
Where: St. Martin
When: March 9 to 13, 2016
SXMusic Festival just might be the most awaited music festival of the year. With quite an innovative approach to the tried and tested methods of electronic music festivals, the festival is sure to be a completely surreal experience. Described as a music festival in paradise, the festival extends from March 9 to 13. Slated to take place on the breathtaking island of St. Martin, it has some really great acts such as DJ Rebelledo, DJ W!LD, Mia Lucci and The Mekanism are all ready to perform.
One of the coolest things about the festival is that the DJs are urged to hang out and mingle with the crowds, something that goes against the normal policy of whisking the artists away immediately after their performances. So don’t be surprised if you bump into some of the artists casually walking around!
When: January 13 and 14, 2017
Rebel Salute is held every year around the birthday of reggae legend Tony Rebel, which falls on January 15. The festival heeds some extremely authentic vibes and is the perfect place for you to get your rasta on. Some of the most choice reggae acts have had the honour of performing here and it is one of the most iconic festivals in Jamaica. The people who come here are extremely chilled out and know their music. Also, the authentic reggae vibes include a strict no non-vegetarian and no alcohol rule that is duly followed by everyone. A very wholesome and family-friendly experience, attending the Salute is highly recommended by us.
Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival
When: September 1, 2 and 3
With stunning views, great music and delicious food the North Sea Jazz festival returns with all new fervor. If listening to some really great jazz by breezy locales is your idea of fun this year, book your tickets for this stunning festival. Previously having been graced by the likes of Bruno Mars and John Legend, the stage is all set to welcome back crowd favourite Juan Luis Guerra and Kassav’ back on. Jazz lovers from all over the world are known to flock to the event to simmer down and immerse themselves in the chilled out atmosphere!
Where: Cayman Islands
When: November 10 to 20
The Caribbean islands have a lot of history and the locals are extremely proud of it. But no where are pirates celebrated as they are Cayman Islands. Every year, the island comes to life as thousands from the oddest parts of the globe come together to witness grand spectacles celebrating this gritty part of their history. Mock pirate invasions are staged where the ‘governor’ is captured and the town held hostage. The crowds mill around witnessing these elaborately performed performances. The celebrations include food festivals, street dances, a cardboard boat race and yes, an underwater treasure hunt! The festival ends on a joyous note with the locals ‘reclaiming’ the town and the pirates are punished in yet another public spectacle.
Set sail to this crazy festival and you can thank us later.
When: April 21 to 24
Moonsplash is the biggest representation of the independent music scene in the Caribbean. One of the oldest festivals owing its success to independent artists, the festival was started by Anguillian locals Bankie Banx and Sheriff Bob Saidenberg. It began with just a few musicians hanging out together and making music, flanked by their music. As the years have gone by, it has come to be recognised as one the most important festivals in the Caribbean as its main focus has always been the music. Mega acts such as Duane Stephenson, Inner Circle, Gregory Isaacs, Bonnie Wailer, Toots & Maytals, John Mayer and Nas to name a few have rocked out on the venue. The festival is known to shine its the spotlight on a lot of new and fresh talent, introducing it to the thousands who visit it the island every year!