Datebook | Events Calendar (Jan/Feb 2018)

Events around the Caribbean in January and February, from Bahamas Junkanoo to Guyana’s Mashramani to Carnival celebrations up and down the islands, plus St Lucia’s Nobel Laureates Festival, a marathon in Haiti, and the world-famous Havana Book Fair

  • Photo by T Photography/
  • Photo by Paul Atkinson/
  • Photo by Holbox/
  • Photo courtesy Farrar, Straus And Giroux
  • Photo by Jo Crebbin/
  • Photo courtesy Bequia Mount Gay Music Fest
  • Photo by Ksk Imaging/
  • Photo by Digiclicks/
  • Photo by Kaimook Studio 99/
  • Photo courtesy Angostura

Don’t miss . . .


11 to 14 February

Colour, spontaneity, extravagance, and wild energy jam through Carnival parade routes across the French Caribbean, following weeks of events leading up to the big masquerade. Biguine music, creole dance moves, and general antics will put a spring in your step.


If you’re in . . .


Accompong Festival
6 January

Marcus Garvey said “a people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.” That isn’t the case below the wide-spreading Kindah Tree in Accompong, the headquarters of the Maroon community inSt Elizabeth, Jamaica. Every year, hundreds of Maroons and non-Maroons gather to observe their independence from the British, and the honoured Kindah Tree is the main stage. Storytelling and traditional dances go down under this sacred mango tree — a symbol of unity. Before 1739, Captain Cudjoe, the fierce Maroon leader, held important meetings and ceremonies there.

Today, in the spirit of remembrance, the abeng horn — once used for communication among isolated settlements — is blown to commence the festivities. Women chant and men beat the drums in procession towards the tree. Prepare for libations of white rum flicked into the crowd, to fend off evil spirits and bring luck. But what good is a rum shower without food? To end the ceremony, the crowd gathers for a meal of unsalted and unseasoned pork with yams. And, of course, a sound-system party that continues until dawn.


. . . MIAMI

Art Deco Weekend
12 to 14 January

In downtown Miami, skyscrapers embrace the horizon, and architectural elements from various cultural influences abound. But if you appreciate the historical phenomenon of Art Deco, head over the bay to Miami Beach, which boasts one of the world’s most celebrated collections of Art Deco buildings — described as a “modern take on neoclassical, one that is equally historic, retro, and fabulous.” Over eight hundred structures built between 1923 and 1943 make up the Miami Beach Art Deco Historic District — including a row of lavishly refurbished, rainbow-hued hotels with prime views of the Atlantic.

And even if you’re not into the architecture, but just want to shake a leg and be entertained, the Miami Art Deco Weekend programme will keep you on your feet.

“Art Deco Around the World” is the 2018 festival’s theme, and over 150,000 people will be on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach for educational events organised by the Miami Design Preservation League. There’s something for everyone — theatre shows, Hollywood movie tours, classic car shows, dog shows, fashion shows, culinary delights, and activities for children. Arrive early, as many of the events are free.


. . . ST LUCIA

Nobel Laureate Festival
Last two weeks of January
Venues around St Lucia

Hear ye, hear ye, all devoted followers of Caribbean literature: St Lucia’s highly anticipated Nobel Laureates Festival has returned, and as usual it coincides with the shared birthdate of St Lucia’s two luminaries: Sir Arthur Lewis and Sir Derek Walcott. In 1979, Lewis won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, while Walcott received his Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992. A year later, a captivating and prestigious festival celebrating the achievements of these achievers was launched, and has been a significant literary affair in St Lucia’s calendar ever since.

Music, theatre, and visual arts events always feature on the programme, with distinguished lectures dedicated to Lewis and Walcott being popular highlights. Academics and cultural luminaries such as the late Professor Rex Nettleford from Jamaica, Barbadian author George Lamming, Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck, and many others have delivered the featured address at the annual lectures — impressing audiences and forming loyal returnees. This is the first year of the festival since Walcott’s death in 2017. Expect the organisers to pull out all the stops.

Event previews by Shelly-Ann Inniss


Jump into January


New Year’s Day Junkanoo Parade

Downtown Nassau, Bahamas
Join the “rush” as large groups parade along Bay Street in Nassau with elaborate costumes, dances, horns, bells, and whistles
1 to 2 January


The Next Stage Theatre Festival

Venues around Toronto, Canada
The best of the fringe festival performers return to the Factory Theatre, giving new life to hit shows and artists from previous years
3 to 14 January


Bequia Mount Gay Music Fest

Venues around Bequia
The most anticipated music festival on the island is back, featuring a thrilling lineup making you groove to the blues in a cozy, intimate atmosphere
18 to 21 January


Cayman Cookout

Venues around Grand Cayman
Tastings, tours, dinners, pairings, and unique epicurean experiences in a relaxed setting of fun, friendship, and barefoot elegance
10 to 14 January


Port-au-Prince Half Marathon

Shoe drives, fitness expos — and, of course, marathon day — unite runners from over sixteen countries in the Haitian capital
20 to 25 January


February fever


Antigua Superyacht Challenge 

Off the coast of Antigua
Excitement and unpredictability are in the air, as incredible yachts vie in four daily races along Antigua’s south coast
31 January to 4 February



Venues around Georgetown, Guyana
Guyana’s rich cultural heritage and diversity are celebrated on a grand scale by people from all walks of life
30 January to 23 February


Havana International Book Fair

Havana, Cuba
Authors, publishers, and avid readers gather for an exciting festival of poetry, readings, art exhibitions, and concerts
1 to 11 February


Admiral’s Cup Pro-Am Golf Tournament

Golf courses in St Kitts
A PGA club professional and three amateurs pair up to compete against other teams from golf clubs across the US, Canada, UK, and the Caribbean
3 to 8 February


Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge

The world’s best bartenders compete to become the House of Angostura’s next global ambassador. Skills, charm, cocktail knowledge, and unbridled talent will be on show
11 February

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