Music festivals in the Caribbean have grown exponentially in recent years thanks to the drawing power of social media. They were already popular but in images of having all that fun on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram has lured many more to the region. Various islands host music extravaganzas throughout the calendar. In the run-up to Christmas there are still plenty of attractions for party lovers to indulge in. From jazz and blues to soca, reggae and r’n’b, there’s a music festival in the Caribbean that keeps your hips swaying and feet tapping.
Reggae Sumfest was created in 1993 when its forerunner, Reggae Sunsplash, vacated Montego Bay. Sumfest celebrates 25 years of presenting the biggest names in Jamaican reggae and dancehall with an expanded seven-night programme this week. It started on Sunday and wraps up on Saturday, July 22. Highlights include Sumfest Blitz, a 90s-themed dancehall bash honouring Kingston’s legendary sound system dances, and Sumfest Heavyweight Clash, with top selectors battling for musical supremacy.
The final two nights are at Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex, an open-air field with food, craft and drink vendors. They are marathon-length concerts beginning at 9 p.m. and ending after 7 a.m. This year’s line-up includes Jamaican dancehall superstar Sean Paul, American-Jamaican R&B/hip-hop artist Sean Kingston, Canadian R&B singer Torey Lanez and Nigerian dancehall luminary Patoranking, veteran Jamaican deejays Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, dancehall’s latest sensation Alkaline, and Sizzla Kalongi, who’ll bring Sumfest 2017 to a blistering conclusion. Also on the last night’s bill is Bob Marley’s son Stephen and his son Jo Mersa.
The Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival runs from Sept. 15 -16.
The 11th edition is presented with an all new line up, with a nice mix of international stars and local talent. Confirmed names so far include Ruben Blades, Maceo Parker, Zuco 103, Jesse van Ruller Trio, nG la banda, Corey Henry & the Funk Apostles and Shirma Rouse, with many more to be announced. For the fifth time, the Renaissance Festival Plaza will be the throbbing heart of the festival. Located on the seaside of Oranjestad, this venue is immensely popular with visitors with its scenic sunsets and soothing sea breeze.
Previous artists who have performed here include George Benson, David Sanborn, Chaka Khan, Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, Prince Royce, Grupo Niche, Earth, Wind & Fire Experience and Kool & the Gang.
Country and Blues Festival, Sept. 27 – 30 is at Pigeon Island National Park in Rodney Bay on the north coast of the island. The Caribbean is not normally associated with country and blues but there are many fans of both genres, so it’s inevitable that a festival could be put together. It is a fusion of genres of music that are rooted in folk traditions, with the musician serving as a storyteller and expressing the emotions, struggles and hopes of real people. This festival reflects the richness, diversity and modernity of these musical styles.
The fourth Elan Trotman’s Barbados Jazz Excursion 2017 runs from Oct. 6-8 and promises to be another humdinger. It is organised by the renowned Barbadian jazz artist Elan Trotman who pays homage to the island’s musical history and diverse culture with an array of special performers including Will Downing, Norman Brown, Brian Simpson, Jeanette Harris, Julian Vaughn, Marion Meadows and soca star Alison Hinds.
From Oct. 27 – 29 the Windsor Park Sports Stadium in Roseau will come alive again for the highly anticipated 20th Annual World Creole Music Festival.
Launched to promote the Dominican tourism product and create a world class platform for indigenous Dominican music, the World Creole Music Festival has become a magnet on the regional music gala calendar. Over three enthralling evenings beginning on the final Friday in October each year, patrons are treated to a cavalcade of star power, from the Caribbean, French Antilles, Africa and North America, arranged to delight the seasoned festival goer and novice alike. The date also ties in with Dominica’s date of independence from British rule, Nov. 3, 1978.