Barbados is known for its vibrant festivals that are a mix of cultural, musical, sporting and culinary events, showcasing the rich history of the island. It’s an opportunity for visitors to become immersed in the essence of the island, meet new people and make the most out of their time on this beautiful island.
Here is a list of the top festivals for you to consider for your next visit.
Crop Over is Barbados’ biggest and most popular festival that runs all summer long. It is a 200-year-old tradition that was originally established to celebrate the end of the sugar cane season. The festival celebrates all that is Bajan with dusk till dawn parties, arts and crafts markets and a culinary-driven street fair. The festival begins with the Opening Gala and Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes as well as the crowning of the King and Queen of the Festival, who are the most productive male and female cane cutters of the season. The other main events include:
- The Bridgetown Market where food stalls sell food and beverages, as well as local arts and crafts with calypso and soca music playing live.
- Cohobblopot, a huge carnival-like show with members of the Kadooment bands displaying their elaborate and stunning costumes.
- The Kiddies Kadooment is an event for children including beautiful costumes and a parade.
- Folk concerts and art & photographic exhibitions are integral parts of the festival, highlighting Bajan history and culture as well as the artistic talents of Bajan.
With the festival rolling all summer long with something to please everyone, this is a festival you cannot miss!
Barbados Reggae Festival
The Barbados Reggae festival is Barbados’ most anticipated reggae event of the year. This music festival has received international acclaim, with performances from leading regional and local reggae artistes. The event entertains 25,000 people from all over the world throughout four events which include concert-type venues and beach parties. This family-friendly event will have everyone grooving along in the warm island breeze.
Holetown Festival Commemorates the anniversary of the first English settlement in Holetown on February 17, 1627. The week-long celebration occurs every year during mid-February and includes a number of activities showcasing the culture and traditions of Barbados. Events include folk singing and dancing, sports and games, street parades, markets and food stalls that offer traditional Bajan cuisine. Some of the featured events of the Festival include the Opening Gala and Steel Band Concert, nightly variety concerts at the Seaside Theatre, the Holetown Dooflicky and Bajan Carnival, the Queen of the Festival Pageant, and the Vintage and Classic Car Parade, ensuring there’s something for everyone. Come along and enjoy the feeling of being transported back in time.
Oistins Fish Festival
The Oistins Fish Festival is an annual event that takes place every Easter weekend in the scenic fishing village of Oistins, Barbados. It celebrates and honors those who contribute to the fishing industry in Barbados. The Oistins Fish Festival is arguably the largest community festival on the island, with activities for the entire family. The festival includes calypso and reggae music playing on the streets, accompanied by lots of dancing that builds up an appetite. Stalls at the festival sell traditional Bajan food like fish cakes, fried fish and pudding and souse which is washed down with a cool Banks Beer.
Local arts and crafts can also be found in abundance as talented craftsmen take the opportunity to display their wares. There are also entertaining competitions like the fish boning competition—a huge attraction for both locals and visitors. To all you seafood lovers, we hope to see you here!
Mid to late May
Gospel Fest is the Caribbean’s top Christian music and arts festival dedicated to Barbados, the Caribbean and the international community. Bajans are very religious people and gospel music plays an important role in their spiritual lives. This festival brings together some of the top gospel artists from North America, the Caribbean and Barbados, including popular international artists like Dr.Bobby Jones and Jeff White. The music of this festival is very diverse, including reggae, calypso, jazz and soul. Whatever your style, you will find the music and the festival uplifting and inspirational.
The Dive Fest invites divers, snorkelers and beach lovers to enjoy Barbados’ natural beaches and marine environments. The festival features events and activities like water awareness programs, scuba and freediving demonstrations and trials, beach cleanups, conservation tips, lionfish hunting and tasting, as well as scuba dives all over the island. It’s a wonderful way to experience the Barbados coast and meet people who enjoy beach and water activities, so whether you swim, float, dive or simply prefer spending your day on the beach, this festival is for you!
The National Independence Festival of Creative Arts showcases the best of Bajan talent, focusing the spotlight on original performances in drama, dance, music, literary, visual and culinary arts, photography and art & craft. The festival is a diverse and exciting event as it embraces creative efforts from all walks of life and encourages participation not only from individuals but from schools, community groups, church organizations, people with special needs and even local penal institutions. The festival provides an important opportunity for Bajans, especially the youth, to embrace the local culture, develop creativity and a spirit of fair competition. The festival closes with the Gala, which features the best of the presentations and performances staged over the period of the exhibition. If you really want to experience the essence of Barbados, book your beach vacation in November.