Event buzz (Jul/Aug 2023)

Essential info about what’s happening across the region in July and August!

  • Photo courtesy Reggae Sumfest
  • Photo by ACHPF/Shutterstock.com
  • Photo courtesy Montserrat Tourism Division
  • Photo courtesy the Marionettes Chorale
  • Photo courtesy Tobago Beyond
  • Photo courtesy BTMI/Visit Barbados
  • Photo by Nicholas Bhajan
  • Photo courtesy CPL T20 Ltd
  • Photo courtesy Anu Lakhan via Flickr (Creative Commons)
  • Photo courtesy Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad & Tobago

Don’t miss

One of the greatest reggae and dancehall music festivals in Jamaica is back! Reggae Sumfest (16–22 July) showcases the island’s indigenous music (and other genres), which continue to influence chart-topping music around the world. Remember Tessanne Chin (Caribbean Beat issue 126 cover girl), winner of American reality TV competition show The Voice? She’s performed at Sumfest, in addition to countless internationally known Jamaican artists like Lila Ike and Protégé. Christened “The Return”, Reggae Sumfest rhythms will rock Montego Bay with its All White Blitz party; Sound System Explosion; Beach Party; and main concert events. Tommy Lee Sparta, Gyptian, Tanya Stephens, Romain Virgo, Morgan Heritage, and more stars are set to mesmerise.

Festival time

It’s time for another explosion of Caribbean carnivals, where music, dance expressions, heritage showcases, and creative costumes do all the talking! Check out Vincy Mas (until 11 July),  St Lucia Carnival (1–19 July), Antigua Carnival (27 July–8 August), and Grenada’s Spicemas (1–15 August), plus Toronto’s Caribana (3–7 August) and London’s Notting Hill Carnival (27–28 August).

Special, fixed price menus showcase the versatile sweet potato at St Kitts & Nevis Restaurant Week (13–23 July). The islands’ “Summer of Fun” continues with Nevis Culturama (27 July–8 August) and Caribbean Premier League (CPL) matches in St Kitts (23–27 August). The St Kitts & Nevis Patriots are the defending champs!

The calabash is a symbol of strength, versatility, and resilience — all characteristics imbued in calabash products like musical instruments, kitchen items, and fashion accessories. Aptly, the Montserrat Calabash Festival (16–23 July) commemorates the anniversary of the catastrophic 1995 eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano.

Enter a time capsule at the Tobago Heritage Festival (mid-July through 1 August) — a showcase of each community’s rich traditions, with cultural shows, dance and music performances, and so much more.

Over in neighbouring Trinidad, the island’s oldest active choral group, the Marionettes Chorale — founded in 1963 — will be Celebrating 60 with concerts in Port of Spain and San Fernando (14–16 July).

The end of the sugar cane harvest is marked by the months-long Crop Over festival in Barbados. Street markets, food festivals, exhibitions, parties like Soca on the Hill (30 July) and the Kadooment Day (7 August) grand parade are just some of the festivities.

Can you think of 25 different ways to prepare breadfruit? Literally, one for each variety found on St Vincent & the Grenadines? The fruit forms part of the country’s national dish of roasted breadfruit and fried jack fish. Through the month of August, the Breadfruit Festival presents innovative ways to prepare it, alongside other cultural activities.

Dozens of speedboats take off from Trinidad in hope of winning their class and the title of the “fastest boat to Tobago” at T&T’s Great Race (19 August). Some of the best vantage points include beaches and lookouts along Trinidad’s north and Tobago’s west coasts.

The CPL (16 August–24 September) — aka “the biggest party in sport” — returns with nonstop action both on the pitch and in the stands, with fixtures in Barbados, Guyana, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Across the English-speaking Caribbean, Emancipation Day (1 August) events commemorate the end of enslavement. Communities celebrate African heritage through a range of activities — from performances and processions, to rituals and remembrances. Trinidad’s Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village houses the largest collection of African-inspired art, craft, jewellery, clothing, and food, while spotlighting cultural talent.

In Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago, Hosay festivities — Caribbean forms of Islamic Muharram observances commemorating the deaths of two of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandsons — run over 10 days in late July, culminating in processions with infectious tassa drumming, and colourful tadjahs (replicas of tombs) and crescent moons spinning on the shoulders of the faithful.

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.