During your Barbados vacation, Barbados festivals will offer you a colourful, cultural experience. Throughout the year, there are many festivals celebrating a variety of aspects of Barbadian life and heritage.
Visitors are always welcome to join in and enjoy the atmosphere, food and vibrancy of these wonderful celebrations.
Lets look closer at some of the festivals in Barbados you can attend.
Barbados Music Festivals
The most popular Barbados music festivals are the Jazz Festival, Reggae Festival and Crop Over Festival.
Barbados Jazz Festival
The Barbados Jazz Festival started in 1994 and is growing stronger every year. In fact, this Barbados festival won the title of the Best Caribbean Musical Event in both 2000 and 2001.
This festival in Barbados lasts for a week and is held annually, usually in the month of January and of all of the Barbados festivals this one is a must.
The festival uses various venues around the island including the historic Sunbury Plantation House and the modern Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
As well as showcasing local talent from Barbados, the festival attracts a host of internationally famous musicians including Smokey Robinson, Lalah Hathaway and Robin Thicke.
The musicians play throughout the evenings and on many occasions the celebration lasts well into dawn of the next day!
Barbados Reggae Festival
The Barbados Reggae Festival is a week long event held in April of each year. This is the largest and most popular reggae festival in Barbados.
It showcases musical talent from all over the Caribbean as well as local talent.
There are a number of events for visitors to enjoy including Reggae On The Beach, a reggae beach party, and the Vintage Reggae Show and Dance, a celebration of vintage reggae music.
However the climax of this Barbados festival is the very popular Reggae On The Hill event, usually held at Farley Hill.
Crop Over Festival in Barbados
The island’s biggest celebration of all Barbados festivals, The Crop Over Festival in Barbados has been celebrated since the 18th century.
The history of Barbados involved large-scale production of sugarcane at nearly 500 mills on the island. The workers used to celebrate the end of the sugarcane harvest, “Crop Over”, with music, food and competitions.
This annual celebration usually runs for about a month at the start of July to the start ofAugust and festivities are generally held in and around the island’s capital of Bridgetown.
It is essentially one long party that culminates in the final celebration of Grand Kadooment, a massive street parade with lively music and vibrant costumes.
There is traditional food, calypso music and competitions to be enjoyed by visitors and residents of the island. One favourite event is the Party Monarch competition, where participants have to sing and use the stage to be crowned Party Monarch King or Queen.
Barbados Gospel Festival (Gospelfest)
Residents of this island are deeply religious and spiritual, and it should therefore be no surprise that the Barbados Gospel Festival or Gospelfest is celebrating its 18th year of running.
Starting in 1993 and growing in popularity thanks to exposure by the presence of popular religious icons such as Dr. Bobby Jones, this Barbados festival involves concerts, speeches, workshops and discussions held at venues all over the island.
There are hints of other types of music such as jazz but the main focus is on beautiful gospel music.
International artists of the gospel music world come to the island to perform at the festival including names such as Canadian Kay Morris, the UK’s Ian Pitter and Jamaica’s Prodigal Son.
The Barbados Gospel Festival is usually held during the month of May on the island.
Barbados Sports Festivals
There are two popular sports festivals in Barbados. These are The Barbados Hockey Festival and The Barbados Cricket Festival.
The Banks Barbados Hockey Festival
The Banks Hockey Festival began in 1986 and is an internationally renowned event held in August. Local teams and quite often over 70 teams from around the world compete in matches that range in skill level.
The tournament itself is spilt into men’s, women’s, veteran and mixed-team categories with the main venue for this festival being the Sir Garfield Sobers Sports Complex in Wildey. This is home to the island’s world-class Astroturf pitch.
The matches are taken very seriously but there is still a friendly atmosphere with plenty of entertainment laid on for visitors and players to enjoy.
Barbados Cricket Festival
There are cricket festivals held in Barbados every year with cricket matches being played at cricket pitches all over the island. Both local cricket teams taking on other teams from various parts of the globe.
Of these Barbados festivals, The Sir Garfield Sobers Schools Cricket Festival is one of the most popular held over three weeks in the month of July each year.
This is a showcase for young cricketers organised by the Barbados Tourism Authority and a committee including high profile sportsmen from the island, including Sir Garfield Sobers himself.
Other Barbados Festivals
There are a few other interesting Barbados festivals you can visit during your Barbados vacation.
Barbados Food Festival
The Barbados International Food Festival also known as “A Taste of Barbados” is a nine day event held each year in the month of October. It is a celebration of the culinary tastes of Barbados as well as fabulous international dishes.
Visitors can experience gourmet dinners, cooking seminars, gourmet tasting sessions and a sugar & rum safari.
Some of the popular items on the festival itinerary include the The Best Big Bajan Barbeque, Designing By Design and Barbados Sugar Tour.
Many internationally renowned chefs attend the Barbados International Food Festival, offering their advice and a chance to sample tantalising, exotic dishes from the island.
This is all accompanied by wonderful scenery and a range of exciting entertainment.
Barbados Holetown Festival
Holetown Festival in Barbados has been celebrated in the historically important town since 1977. Holetown was one of the first places to be settled in the late 1600s when the English arrived in Barbados, making the island a British colony.
The festival is designed to commemorate this important event and is celebrated in February every year. The festival used to run for a weekend but has now been extended to last for eight days!
Visitors can enjoy all things Bajan at this festival with lively music, traditional food and a carnival atmosphere. Stalls are set up offering a range of authentic items including clothing and arts & crafts.
The Holetown Festival also offers a chance to see a flood-lit Tattoo featuring the police force and a parade of vintage motorcars.
Oistins Fish Festival in Barbados
The Oistins Fish Festival is held every year in the southern fishing town bearing the same name.
The festival was created in 1977 by the wife of the then Prime Minster of Barbados.
She wanted to recognise the contribution made to the island by the hard-working fishermen of the town and help to improve their social status in the community.
Fish and food are a major focus of the festival with plenty of food stalls serving delicious meals and many food competitions too. This is all accompanied by a wonderful party atmosphere and traditional Bajan music.