Let’s see, exchange greasy food-truck food for freshly caught lobster tail and crayfish. Swap out sweltering heat in the desert, for beautiful cool ocean breezes and sparkling turquoise waters. Lastly, let’s remove long long lines, crowded grounds, and squished camping for an intimate setting, zero lines, quite a few yachts and an overall feeling of luxury. This is the difference between music festivals like Coachella, and music festivals in the Caribbean.
Just like everything else in the Caribbean, music festivals are ultra laid-back and insanely fun. Unbeknownst to many outside the region, nearly every island in the region has at least one wildly fun music festival a year. It’s safe to say that anytime you visit the Caribbean, there will be some “festing” going on nearby. Although the Caribbean is super laid-back and friendly, many of the festivals are small and intimate, with 500 or fewer tickets sold to an event. To ensure you get to bask in the sweet sounds and laid-back atmosphere, purchase your tickets well in advance. Wondering which music festival is the one for you?
Here are some of our top Caribbean music festival choices for 2016:
St. Martin’s SXMusic – This is a brand new music festival, and it’s going to be incredible. From March 9-13, an international lineup will take the stage with performances from DJ Jamie Jones, Maceo Plex, Dubfire, Adriatique, Appolonia, Lauren Lane, and so many more. Performances will take place at a variety of venues, such as Kontiki Beach, Loterie Farm, Port De Plaisance Country Club, and Le Dreams Beach Bar.
The Bahamas – Eleuthera All That Jazz – A magical jazz-long weekend set on the small island of Eleuthera featuring miles of pink sandy beaches. The music is for a good cause at this festival – ticket profits will go to the Haynes Library. From March 30 – April 3, global artists such as Gabrielle Stravelli, Art Hirahara, and Solomon Hicks will grace the stage with their presence. The Rainbow Ill in Governor’s Harbour, St. Patrick’s Church, and Fish Fry in Anchor Bay are some of the phenomenal venues.
St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival – At year 25, Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival spans a full 10 days and upwards of 15 venues featuring some of the best live performances, spiced with the celebration of Saint Lucian arts, culture, and cuisine. This is one of the Caribbean’s premier cultural event, and attracts thousands to the beautiful island. The festival will feature over 50 world-acclaimed entertainers and artisans over the course of nine days – April 29th – May 8th. Stages will be set up on over 15 venues throughout the island.
Anguilla’s Annual Moonsplash – Originally an intimate jam sesh on the beach, this is now the longest running independent music festival in the Eastern Caribbean. One of the hottest festivals in entire Caribbean, Moonsplash is a beach reggae experience that was started by the great Bankie Banx himself. Oh, and it takes place at the Dune Preserve Beach Bar, that was handmade by Bankie Banx. From April 21 -24, a showcase of international reggae artists will hit the dune, some that have been around for a while, paired with some fresh talent as well. Tickets tend to sell out early, and the lineup won’t be announced until closer to showtime.
Curacao’s Blue Seas Festival – The international Blue Seas Festival takes place in the iconic Willemstad neighborhood, which is filled with centuries-old mansions, funky bars, and quirky restaurants. Taking the stage this year will be Leon Russell, Lukas Nelson, and Promise of the Real to name a few. From May 6-7 festival goers will not only enjoy talented musicians, but also a colorful island filled with welcoming people, unique culture, and delicious food.
Aruba’s Soul Beach Music Festival – A unique combination of excitement and sophistication nestled on the beautiful island of Aruba, make the Soul Beach Music Festival a regional favorite. During Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-30, thousands will pack the capital city of Oranjestad to hear an international line-up of rhythm and blues headliners and sultry American soul music acts. Five days of power-pumped shows, sizzling fun in the sun on Moomba Beach, and plenty of amped-up late night parties in the clubs.
Nevis, Blues on the Beach Festival – For three nights, a program of international artists featuring the very best of blues, soul, funk and blues-rock will be getting it on directly on the beach at Oualie Bay. Great music, great food, and excellent company, this festival offers everything one needs for total entertainment and relaxation. Talent lineup includes Ian Siegel, Kirk Fletcher, Simon McBride, and the Rhythm Chiefs.
When it comes down to it, music is music no matter where it’s played, but who wouldn’t want to enjoy incredible talent while relaxing in paradise? Whether you like reggae, jazz, blues, electronic music or more, there’s a Caribbean festival perfect for you. In between beats you can relax on the beach or in your private villa, eat some freshly caught seafood, and become pals with the locals. The Caribbean is a truly unique region, and each island is strikingly different. We recommend trying out a few of the festivals, as no two are alike!
If you’re heart is set on Moonsplash on Anguilla, book your stay at the iconic Cap Juluca Resort! The entire island gets booked up quickly, and Cap Juluca is a Caribbean favorite. Happy festing!
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