Live music lovers, rejoice. The Caribbean summer festival season is here. When it comes to music, the Caribbean is a party heaven and summer is no different. Although the islands are known as some of the best vacation spots around, they all have another amazing offer—beautiful live summer music festivals.
The festivals are unique music-filled events that provide direct insights in to the local culture. And while we all love our laid back holiday on the beach, it’s time to set sights on something a bit more energetic and exotic, the Caribbean’s summer music scene. Here is a lineup of five of the best Caribbean music festivals for you to plan your summer beach vacation around.
St. Kitts Music Festival, June 27-July 1
A trip to the Caribbean islands of St. Kitts and Nevis in the last week of June offers the perfect opportunity for you to experience the St. Kitts Music Festival. Now in its twenty-second year, the festival is one of the Caribbean’s most diverse. It features a variety of musical genres, including soca, R&B, hip-hop, reggae and contemporary music. The festival opens with a welcome reception and fete. The second night is soca fusion, the third night is reggae night, while the last night has in international flair. The event usually winds down with a beach party on the final day.
Reggae Sumfest, July 15-21
Every year, Jamaica’s best artists descend to Montego Bay for the island’s largest festival, Reggae Sumfest. The seven-night event offers something you can’t find anywhere else, Jamaican music and culture in its purest form.
The week-long line up has something for everyone, including a beach party, street dance, the Blitz Party at The Hard Rock Cafe, lots of food and of course dancing. The last two all-night shows of the festival are the best, as reggae’s and dance hall’s greatest and dearest will perform all night long. After which, Sumfest closes with a morning tailgate party at the Dump Up Beach.
Anguilla Summer Festival, August 1-12
In case you are heading to Anguilla in late July, early August, Anguilla’s Summer Festival starts on August Monday. The ten day, fun-packed festival is carnival in summer and the biggest event on the island. It is the ideal place to enjoy the best of Anguilla’s culture, food, live calypso performances, jouvert, fireworks, community festivals, kids’ parade, carnival road march and since it is Anguilla, traditional boat racing.
Antigua Carnival, July 27-August 7
Held every year from the end of July to the first Tuesday in August, Antigua Carnival is one of the greatest summer festivals in the Caribbean. For ten days the island hosts thousands of revelers in a range of colorful beach bashes, beauty pageants, children’s carnival parade, talent shows, spectacular parade of bands, massive street J’ouvert and cultural shows. You will love the fun, infectious party atmosphere, local concerts, fireworks, the good food and live music.
Barbados Crop Over, May-August 8
Crop Over Festival is one of the best carnivals in the Caribbean and an experience like no other. The six-week festival has been around since the 18th century and is Barbados’ most popular cultural event. Crop Over runs from May to August and has great fun for everyone.
The festival features a host of festivities, including the Kiddies Kadooment, the carnival-like show Cohobblopot, tons of gastronomy events, and numerous chances for you to fete from dusk till dawn or chill on the beach. The highlight of the festival is the carnival parade, Grand Kadooment which features a parade of masquerade bands and revelers parting in the streets. Crop Over should be on your list of Caribbean things to experience.