Event buzz (Mar/Apr 2023)

Essential info about what’s happening across the region in March and April!

  • Toni Braxton performs at the 2019 Tobago Jazz Experience. Photo by Andrea De Silva
  • Photo courtesy Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority
  • Photo by Salty View/Shutterstock.com
  • Photo by BTMI via MAT/Shutterstock.com
  • Photo by TeamDWP Studios
  • Photo by Ziad Joseph
  • Photo courtesy Montserrat Tourism Division
  • Photo courtesy Pixabay
  • Photo by Keno George

Don’t miss

You can hear fantastic music just about anywhere, but the unique ambiance and people around you make all the difference between just hearing it, and experiencing something that becomes an epic memory for years to come. The Tobago Jazz Experience (20–23 April) combines jazz and other musical styles with the rhythm of Tobago, offering a unique encounter with the island’s cultural heritage, culinary styles, and talent. Spellbinding performances by international headliners like the iconic Grace Jones, phenomenal jazz trumpeter Etienne Charles, contemporary jazz saxophonist Elan Trotman, and others have created Tobago Jazz devotees in the past — and this year promises to be no different.  

A dedicated race village and vibrant shoreside activities are on offer at the St Maarten Regatta (2–5 March), boasting intense windward to leeward racing mixed with short tactical coastal racing. Experience even more action later in the season at Antigua Sailing Week (28 April–5 May).

Some of the greatest drummers, percussionists, and other musicians have performed at Fiesta del Tambor (2–5 March) in Havana. During this “drum party” (as it translates to in English), numerous venues around Cuba’s capital host performances, masterclasses and competitions.

It’s turtle-watching season! Between March and September, locations around the Caribbean become nesting sites for these beautiful, endangered creatures. Guided tours or permits may be required in some destinations for this unforgettable experience. You can learn more on our website at caribbean-beat.com.

In the midst of much pomp, pageantry and fanfare, top local, regional and international jockeys compete for the prestigious Sandy Lane Gold Cup (4 March) at Barbados’ historic Garrison Savannah. The lively atmosphere intensifies the following month as music lovers converge at the Barbados Reggae Festival (27 April–1 May).

It’s a festival of colours and flavours at Carnaval Miami (4 March–8 April). Carnaval on the Mile, Calle Ocho Music Festival, and various art, music and sporting events attract almost a million people annually. Back in the Caribbean, the revelry continues at Jamaica Carnival (12–18 April) and St Maarten Carnival (14 April–3 May). 

The first day of spring brings spirited singing, dancing, tassa drumming, and blanketing each other in abeer as Phagwah or Holi (7 or 8 March, depending on the destination) is observed in Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago. This Hindu festival welcomes those of all backgrounds as the everlasting love of Radha Krishna and the Hindu New Year are celebrated.

Electronic music mesmerises partygoers from sunrise to sunset at the SXM Festival (8–12 March) in idyllic St Maarten.

Then from historical hikes to masqueraders in kilts, St Patrick’s Day celebrations (12–19 March) take centre stage annually in Montserrat — the only place outside Ireland to celebrate it as a national holiday.

Island jazz is back! Trinidad’s Jazz Artists on the Greens serenades audiences on 25 March, with Dominica’s Jazz ‘n Creole Festival following on 30 April. You can read more about the return of Caribbean jazz festivals on pages 26 to 28.

On your mark…! Get set for CHAMPS (28 March–1 April) — the high school track and field meet where athletics stars like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price, Usain Bolt and many of Jamaica’s top athletes first shot to prominence. Cheers also erupt across CARICOM as future Olympians and world class athletes are tested at the 50th CARIFTA Games (7–10 April) in The Bahamas.

Dancing kites, hot cross buns, fish festivals, bun-and-cheese, and goat and crab races signal Easter time around the Caribbean. Take in the Bartica Easter Regatta or the Rupununi Rodeo if you’re in Guyana on Easter weekend (7–10 April).

Finally, Trinidad & Tobago’s Bocas Lit Fest (28–30 April) returns with a hybrid in-person and virtual format celebrating words, stories and ideas, with events for everyone — from budding writers to avid readers to schoolchildren.

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.