Caribbean Datebook (July/August 2014)

Events around the Caribbean in July and August

  • Photograph ©isitsharp/
  • Photograph by John A Anderson/
  • Having fun at the Cudjoe Head Celebrations. Photograph courtesy Montserrat Tourist Board
  • Photograph courtesy Reggae Sumfest
  • Photograph courtesy Nevis Culturama
  • Photograph courtesy St Lucia Tourist Board
  • Photograph courtesy Aruba International Regatta


Hop to crop

It’s Crop Over time again! That’s right: head over to the most easterly of the Caribbean islands this July and August to experience a different take on Carnival. Barbados’s annual festival has its origins in the country’s largest export in colonial times — sugar — and began as the celebration of the end to a successful sugar crop. Hence, Crop Over. The official start to the weeks-long extravaganza came in June, with the ceremonial delivery of the last canes. The true fun gears up in July and ends in early August, with something happening every day to appeal to the most diverse tastes — from heritage walks to the famous Bridgetown Market to the big Kadooment jump-up. Some highlights:

11 July Pan Fusion, Ilaro Court
26 July Junior Kadooment, National Stadium, Waterford
1 August Pic-O-De-Crop Finals, Kensington Oval
3 August Cohobblopot, Kensington Oval
4 August Grand Kadooment, National Stadium, Waterford

throughout July and August
Where: venues around Barbados
For more info: visit, follow the Barbados Crop Over Festival on Facebook or @NCFBarbados on Twitter, or call +246 417 6610



Take the plunge

One of the best things about being in the Caribbean, apart from meeting its fun-loving people, of course, is that a beach is usually within easy driving (or even walking) distance. Dominica is no different, and with the nickname “Nature Isle of the Caribbean,” it should be no surprise that Dominica also boasts the additional allure of world-class diving. At Dive Fest Dominica, you not only get to immerse yourself in fun activities such as scuba diving, turtle-watching, building sandcastles, an underwater treasure hunt, a whale and dolphin safari, and canoe races, but you also help support the Dominica Watersports Association and learn how conservation preserves the environment for future generations.

When: 10 to 20 July
Where: venues around Dominica
For more info: visit


Turks and Caicos

Race for the Conch Eco-Seaswim
When: 5 July
Where: Grace Bay, Providenciales
What: This annual open-water race has swimmers vying for the chance to heft a hand-carved conch trophy for the top three male and female racers in the 2.4-mile, 1-mile, and half-mile events
For more info: visit or



Calabash Festival
When: 14 to 21 July
Where: venues throughout Montserrat
What: The Caribbean’s Emerald Isle pays homage to the versatile calabash, with a wide range of events, from hikes and boat tours to a food fair and fashion show
For more info: contact Florence Griffith Joseph at or Annie Dyer Howe at, or call +664 492 1743

Cudjoe Head Celebrations
When: 1 and 2 August
Where: Cudjoe Head, Montserrat
What: Despite the macabre way Cudjoe Head got its name (a runaway slave was caught, lynched, and his head hung from a silk cotton tree in warning), what started off as a village day has grown into a two-day street festival, which includes goat water (the national dish), a five-mile fun run, and a handmade goods exhibition
For more info: contact Paul Lewis at



Get skanking

Looking to experience the culture associated with the iconic Bob Marley and the Wailers? Then head down to Montego Bay, Jamaica, for Reggae Sumfest — the twenty-second edition of the festival will continue to ensure that reggae keeps spreading to the widest audience possible. Even as it serves as a platform for upcoming reggae artistes, Sumfest has always been open to international acts, like Usher, Ne-Yo, Mary J. Blige, and Alicia Keys. This year’s edition will include a Dancehall Night (17 July), with familiar names like Busy Signal, Mr Vegas, Bounty Killer, and Aidonia, and two International Nights (18 and 19 July), showcasing Jason Derulo, Wiz Khalifa, Jah Cure, Future, and Sean Paul, as well as recent musical reality TV show star Tessanne Chin.

When: 13 to 19 July
Where: Montego Bay
For more info: visit



Tobago Heritage Festival
When: mid-July to 1 August
Where: venues throughout Tobago
What: Here’s your chance to relive a nineteenth-century wedding at Moriah, watch goats and crabs race at Buccoo, sample Tobago cuisine, or experience a wake and bongo, among many other cultural traditions.
For more info: visit or call +868 639 4441



10th Bonaire Heineken Jazz Festival
When: 1 to 3 August
Where: Fort Oranje and Plaza Resort Bonaire
What: The Andreina Marcano Jazz Ensemble, the Slovenian Nina Strnad Trio, and Trijntje Oosterhuis from the Netherlands are just some of the artistes scheduled to perform at this music festival for jazz and salsa lovers
For more info: visit, follow Bonaire Heineken Jazz Festival on Facebook, or call +599 717 8780 or 780 7835



When: 24 July to 5 August
Where: venues around Nevis
What: Nevis’s answer to the Carnival call celebrates forty years, with kaiso, cricket, drag racing, pageants, horse racing, J’Ouvert, and a street parade — and that’s just a taste from this thirteen-day festival
For more info: visit, call +869 469 1992/0119, or check out Nevis Culturana Festival on Facebook


St Lucia

Jump and wine

Think Carnival, and pre-Lenten revelry comes to mind, but if you missed your chance to experience what the Caribbean had to offer earlier this year, then St Lucia Carnival gives you another chance — over fifteen years ago the dates were moved to July to accommodate international visitors. Look out for the Groovy Soca semi-finals on 2 July, Calypso Monarch semi-finals on 6 July, Junior Carnival on 13 July, Panorama on 18 July, and the Jab Jab Fete on 20 July. But save some energy — this is just the lead-up to J’Ouvert and the Parade of the Bands on the 21st and 22nd.

When: throughout July
Where: venues around St Lucia
For more info: visit or follow Saint Lucia Carnival on Facebook



Aruba International Regatta
When: 15 to 17 August
Where: Surfside Beach
What: With eight classes for both yachts and sailboats, a self-made-boat race, a stand-up paddleboard competition, and micro-boat races, there’s fun afloat for sailors of all kinds
For more info: visit



5th Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival
When: 29 and 30 August
Where: World Trade Centre, Piscadera Bay
What: This festival’s three action-packed stages mean you’ll have to choose between Maná, Niles Rodgers and Chic, Dianne Reeves, Maceo Parker, Bruno Mars, Juan Luis Guerra, Sierra Maestra, and Chaka Khan
For more info: visit, follow @curacaonorthsea on Twitter, or call +599 9 522 5299

Funding provided by the 11th EDF Regional Private Sector Development Programme Direct Support Grants Programme.
The views expressed on this website are those of the the authors and do not reflect those of the Direct Support Grants Programme.