Home African Caribbean Caribbean Festivals: Second to none
Kieran Etoria King

Social Commentator – Kieran Etoria-King

Looking at Caribbean Festivals, due to its enviable position as a hotbed of vibrant culture, music, and tourism, the Caribbean is home to a number of famous music festivals. Arguably the most well known name among these is Jamaica’s Sunsplash/Sumfest, but there are events all over the region which are equally as big, if not even larger and more vibrant.

For example, the World Creole Music Festival has taken place every October since 1997 in Dominica. Introduced as part of the island’s independence celebrations, this event grew from 10,000 visitors in its first year to 25,000 by 1999, and has attracted the biggest musicians from the Creole-speaking world, as well as acts from other parts of the Caribbean and around the world. This October, in its 16th year, the celebration will host local stars Kreyola and Asa Bantan as well as Haitian duo T-Vice, Barbadian Soca band Krosfyah and reggae giants Tarrus Riley and Damian Marley. The festival has grown into one of the islands largest events, especially for tourists.

Elsewhere, is the St Lucia Jazz Festival, which boasts a long and impressive list of past performers from the genres of Jazz, R&B and Calypso including Amy Winehouse, R Kelly, and John Legend plus other household names such as Elton John, Luther Vandross, UB40 and many more. Having started in 1992, this event has grown so huge that it cannot be contained in one venue, and takes place across more than ten locations around the island. It is one of the most significant dates on the jazz calendar, and the E! network ranks it as the best festival in the world.


Dominican group Kreyola. Photo courtesy dominicanewsonline.com

Meanwhile in Trinidad, Lent is ushered in every year by two days of debauchery at the nation’s carnival. Trinidad’s carnival is similar to those in other parts of the world with regard to it’s extravagant costumes and roots in the mix of African slave culture and European bourgeois parties, but it has developed its own unique flavour, particularly on it’s emphasis on music.

Rather than hired acts, Trinidad has a penchant for putting on huge televised competitions, which musicians travel from all over the world to compete in. The title of Calypso King is one of the country’s highest honours, and comes along with a car, two million Trinidad dollars, and nationwide fame.

The Caribbean has contributed much to worldwide music, and with the abundance of disproportionately large festivals and musical events all over the region, it isn’t hard to see why.



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