Summer festival season is back in the Caribbean.
After a two-year hiatus due to Covid, the area bustles with dancing, brilliant costumes, music, regattas, rum, food and the sights and sounds at events that showcase the diversity of the islands .
Here’s a look at some of the biggest and boldest:
27 Reggae Sumfest returns July 18-23 to Montego Bay. Jamaica’s premier music festival coincides with the country’s 60th anniversary celebration of independence throughout the year. Underlining the importance of Sumfest, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said: “Reggae Sumfest is known to be the biggest reggae show in the world. Jamaica is his birthplace, so we’re thrilled to be partners in making sure more and more people come to us.”
Bartlett said Jamaica is using Sumfest to open new markets in the Emirates, Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.
Visit www.reggaesumfest.com for tickets, artist lists and other information.
The Nevis Culturama Festival celebrates its 48th anniversary from July 21 to August 2. Photo credit: Nevin Tourism Authority
The 22nd edition Taste of Holy Crosstaking place June 23 at the Divi Carina Bay Resort & Casino, is a food festival that features 50 of the island’s best-known chefs, bartenders and baristas serving a variety of recipes inspired by local traditions.
Favorites include fish and mushrooms, callaloo stew, johnnycakes, a glazed fruit treat called fracos and pâté, a flaky crust filled with salted fish, chicken or beef. To find out more, visit www.tasteofstcroix.com.
Barbados’ crop festival, which marks the end of the sugar cane growing season, is back on the calendar in July and August with parties, parades, live music, street vendors, market stalls and food trucks. Most events take place in the capital city of Bridgetown.
Crop Over culminates with Grand Kadooment Day on August 1 when costumed revelers parade through the streets from morning until night.
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley announced earlier this year that Barbados will have a Modified Crop Over this year without sacrificing fun and safety. “We’re happy about this because we know that after two years of no Crop Over and no release, people are looking forward to more than this opportunity.” Visit www.barbadoscropoverfestival.com to find out more.
The Montserrat Calabash Festival, which takes place July 17-23, celebrates the hard-shelled tropical vegetable. Photo credit: Montserrat Tourism
Montserrat Annual Calabash Festivalwhich takes place from July 17 to 23, is named after the hard-shelled tropical vegetable that can be harvested young to eat or harvested ripe to be dried and used as a utensil or bowl.
This year’s festival includes a large gospel concert, island bus and boat tours, an Irish lecture series, market day, food fair, hike and road relay race. The website www.visitmontserrat.com has more details about the festival.
The weekly Thursday fish fry at PTV Stubbs Diamond Plaza on Providenciales in Turks and Caicos operates throughout the summer season. The open-air setting features more than a dozen restaurants and souvenir vendors, live music, and cultural performances.
Provo will also be the location of the Race for the conch one-mile and half-mile swim races June 25. Proceeds from the race in the waters of Grace Bay are donated to local charities. More information can be found at www.turksandcaicostourism.com.
Turks and Caicos also invites visitors to TI Summajam From June 23 to 25 on Grand Turk. Rita Gardiner, Summajam Committee Director, said the three-day music and culture event promises to “bring back the good old days of Grand Turk with a dazzling and dynamic display of culture, music, entertainment, food/drink island, sports competitions, a beauty pageant, a talent contest and entertainment for all ages from 2 to 92.” To learn more about the events, visit the Turks and Caicos Tourism website.
Anguilla summer festival, scheduled for July 29 through August 7, includes the Eyes Wide Shut Concert at Sandy Ground, parades, costume revelers, street fairs, road races and the Champion of Champions Boat Race. Go to www.carnivaland.net/anguilla-summer-festival.
Dates from 25 Saint Kitts Music Festival are June 23-25, and this year’s lineup includes R&B and rap headliners Sean Paul, Beres Hammond, Wale and Keyshia Cole.
Musical genres range from reggae and dancehall to hip hop, soca and jazz. Performances take place at Kim Collins Athletic Stadium in Basseterre. Bonus events include lunchtime concerts with local musicians, beach parties, boat rides, and official after-parties. Visit stkittsmusicfestival.com for more.
There’s also a lot going on on the neighboring sister island of Nevis. The Mango and Food Festival, July 1-3, is an entire weekend celebrating the island’s 44 varieties of mangoes and the creative cuisine that comes from them. Participating celebrity chefs and Nevisian chefs must prepare every dish of every meal they cook or demonstrate must include Nevis mangoes. Several events take place throughout the weekend. For more information, visit nevisisland.com/mango-festival/.
The Nevis Culturama Festival, meanwhile, celebrates his 48th birthday from July 21 to August 2. As the name suggests, Nevis culture in all its forms is celebrated here, including dance, drama, poetry, music, performance, and arts and crafts. Visit www.nevisculturama.com.