Event buzz (Jul/Aug 2022)

Essential info about what’s happening across the region to help you make the most of July and August!

  • Photo courtesy Tobago Festivals Commission/Tobago Beyond
  • Photo courtesy Montserrat Tourism Division
  • Photo courtesy Reggae Sumfest
  • Photo by Nature Picture Library/Alamy
  • Photo courtesy Emancipation Support Committee of T&T
  • Photo by Jason Audain
  • Photo courtesy Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.
  • Photo courtesy Pure Grenada Tourism Authority
  • A scene from Flight, directed by Kia Moses. Soleil Short Film Saturday x Third Horizon
  • Melanie Grant, director of Book of Jasmine. Soleil Short Film Saturday x Third Horizon

Don’t miss

Tobago’s rich cultural heritage is on show at the Tobago Heritage Festival, which runs from mid-July to the beginning of August. Visitors can explore the island’s history and culture through events celebrating its dance, storytelling, food, music, and so much more. Crowd favourites include the Ole Time Tobago Wedding in Moriah, as well as Folk Tales & Superstitions in Les Coteaux. The costumes, smiles, and passionate performances are irresistible as Tobagonians honour their heritage and traditions.

Festival calendar

Named for the resilience and versatility of the calabash, the Montserrat Calabash Festival (17–23 July) showcases the creativity of local artisans and the island’s rich culture with live performances, hikes, a family day, boat excursions, and culinary experiences.

The biggest names in reggae and dancehall converge for Reggae Sumfest (20–23 July) in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The star-studded line-up includes Shenseea, Dexta Daps, Spice, Christopher Martin, and some of your favourite legends.

Powerful wind and waves test sailors on the high seas at the Grand Bahama Regatta (21–23 July). Sailors in Class B and C sloops compete in races off Taino Beach, Lucaya for top prizes and the coveted “Champion of the Sea” title.  

Emancipation Day (1 August) commemorates the official end of slavery in British colonies in 1834. It is celebrated across the English-speaking Caribbean with performances, processions, lectures, exhibitions, and historical re-enactments to both entertain and enlighten. 

There are similar celebrations in Suriname a month earlier — their Keti Koti festival, meaning “broken chains”, commemorates abolition in the Dutch-speaking Caribbean (1 July 1863). 

Energetic tassa drumming drives the multi-day Hosay festivities in Trinidad (culminating around 8 August), the island’s incarnation of Islamic Muharram observances. Shia Muslim celebrants carry multi-coloured moons and tadjahs — interpretations of the tomb of Hussein, the martyred grandson of the Prophet Muhammad — on their shoulders through the streets of St James and Cedros. There are also observances in Jamaica, Suriname, and Guyana.

Carnival fever

Vincy Mas (St Vincent)

24 June–5 July

The non-stop action includes main events like J’Ouvert, Soca Monarch, Panorama, and the Parade of the Bands through the streets of Kingstown

Jamaica Carnival

4–14 July

Fusions of reggae, soca, dancehall, and calypso fuel the parades and parties leading up to the National Carnival Road March, where bands of masqueraders compete for supremacy

St Lucia Carnival

7–19 July

Revelry with Lucian flair means parties, competitions, and pumping to the island’s distinctive Dennery Segment music alongside soca and calypso

Antigua Carnival

27 July–2 August

Closely tied to Emancipation commemorations, the festive season of shows and parades culminates with an explosion of colour, music, and celebration in the streets of St John

Caribana (Toronto, Canada)

28 July–1 August

Toronto’s Caribbean diaspora celebrates the region’s culture in an incredible display of visual and performing arts, costumes, and revelry

Crop Over (Barbados)

2 July–2 August

An entire season of dusk-til-dawn parties, arts and craft markets, and culinary street fairs climaxes with an epic masquerade at Grand Kadooment on the first Monday in August

Spicemas (Grenada)

4–13 August

Let the energy of the Jab Jab power you through the Spicemas season, from the Calypso Finals on Fantastic Thursday (4 August) to the Parade of the Bands on Tuesday (9 August)

Havana Carnival (Cuba)

16–26 August

The city is filled with spectacular music, conga lines, extravagant costumes, and fireworks. Strains of traditional and contemporary music fill the air as the parade runs the length of the Malecon

Notting Hill Carnival (London, England)

27–29 August

Samba bands, masquerade bands, steelbands and more bands celebrate the Carnival spirit at one of Europe’s largest street festivals. There are activities for kids, lots of good food, and live music stages playing everything from Afrobeats to house music.

Screen buzz

Leaps of faith

The Soleil Short Film Saturday x Third Horizon series continues this July with Jamaican Kia Moses’ debut film, Flight — which follows a Jamaican boy at a crossroads in his life who sets his sights on flying to the moon; and Barbadian Melanie Grant’s Book of Jasmine — which follows a woman torn between her spirituality and her sexuality, and on a journey for answers.

The July instalment of the series — a partnership between Soleil Space and the Third Horizon Film Festival to showcase short films from the Caribbean diaspora — streams 9th July at 12pm EST on the Soleil Space YouTube channel (youtube.com/soleilspace). Q&As with the filmmakers will follow the screenings.

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.