Cultural Festivals

Crop Over

Crop Over is Barbados’ most popular and most colourful festival, and as is evident by its name, it commemorates the end of our sugar cane harvest, and it can be traced back to the 1700's. It attracts thousands of people from all over the world and runs from June to August. It is more than a carnival and there are folk concerts, art and photographic exhibitions, cultural activities and events where local art and craft are on sale.

Calypso/Soca music is one of the most important parts of Crop Over. The calypsonians sing their songs in various "calypso tents", which are really performing venues all over the island. Calypsonians compete for prizes and titles, in several competitions like Party Monarch, Pic-O-De-Crop and the coveted Road March Monarch.

The festival officially begins with the Opening Gala and Ceremonial Delivery of the Last Canes. There are Cavalcades held all over the island where the calypsonians perform, and there is food and drinks on sale.  

Foreday Morning is held on the Friday night before Kadooment and it starts just after midnight and goes until the sun is up. It features T-shirts bands that party behind music trucks, and the revelers cover themselves in mud and paint. It ends at the Mighty Grynner Highway (formerly the Spring Garden Highway) where there are stalls selling food and drinks.

On the Saturday before Kadooment another important event is Bridgetown Market held on the Mighty Grynner Highway which showcases stalls selling food and drinks along with local arts and crafts. The stall plays the popular calypso and soca tunes of the season and there is often live entertainment.

Kiddies Kadooment is for the children, who are decked out in colourful costumes in bands parading before a panel of judges.

The finale of the festival is Grand Kadooment, held on the first Monday of August. It is a riot of colour and the carnival features large, colourful costume bands, each of which has several sections, each with its own theme.  This is a fun day for the revelers as well as the spectators who line the route. Rihanna, our local superstar comes every year for Kadooment, which attracts people from all walks of life. Drinks flow and the revelers party behind large music trucks through the narrow streets, and they end on the Mighty Grynner Highway, where hot and tired revelers can have a swim at Brighton Beach. The party continues until dark. well into the night with more music, food and drinks. By the way Mighty Grynner is one of Barbados’ most famous calypsonians so it is fitting that the Spring Garden Highway was renamed after him.

Holetown Festival

The Holetown Festival is week-long festival held every February in Holetown on the west coast. It was started in 1977 to commemorate the 350th landing of the first English settlers. There is a wide range of entertainment including folk dancing, and a variety of music and free open-air concerts, such as Gospel, Classical, Tuk Band (indigenous to Barbados) and Calypso. Some of the highlights of the festival are:

·         The Opening Gala and steel band concert

·         Nightly concerts

·         Holetown bus tours

·         The street fair and parade

·         The vintage and classic car parade

·         The Holetown Dooflicky and Bajan Carnival

·         Grand Floodlit Tatoo

·         Alfred Pragnell Memorial Talks

·         The Queen of the Festival Pageant

·         Nightly after concert limes and karaoke competition

·         The road walk and run

The Holetown Festival has been designated by the Barbados Government as one of the Seven Magnificent Festivals of Barbados. www.holetownfestivalbarbados.org.

Oistins Fish Festival

Oistins, in the parish of Christ Church, is the fishing village where the famous Friday night fish fry takes place, and over the Easter weekend the Oistins Fish Festival is held there. It began in 1977 and celebrates the importance of the fishing industry and the local fisherfolk. Oistins is also where the signing of the Charter of Barbados occurred in 1652. There are fish-deboning competitions, boat races, net throwing, the climbing of the greasy pole competition, art and craft, music, dancing, and of course food with an emphasis on fish.

Reggae Festival

The Reggae Festival is held every year in April. It started in 2005 and over the years it has grown into a leading Reggae festival with different events, such as Reggae on the Beach, Vintage Reggae, Bajan Reggae Night and the ever-popular Reggae On The Hill held at the picturesque Farley Hill Recreational Park. The line-up of artistes includes popular local, regional and international reggae superstars, with big names like Buju Banton, Luciano,  Anthony B and Capleton performing over the years. This major musical event attracts reggae lovers from around the world. www.thebarbadosreggaefestival.com.

Gospelfest

Gospelfest is the premier gospel festival in the Caribbean, and it is held annually over a two-week period during May. Barbadians are quite religious and mainly Christian, and Gospel music is a very popular genre here. Gospelfest attracts many well-known international Gospel singers, who perform alongside popular local and Caribbean artistes. This festival features different types of inspirational, uplifitng music, including reggae, calypso, jazz and soul. www.barbadosgospelfest.com.

Barbados Food and Rum Festival

The Barbados Food and Rum Festival is held annually in late October.  Barbados is often referred to as the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean, and it is also the birthplace of rum, producing some of the finest rum in the world. This exciting event pairs local chefs and mixologists with international celebrity chefs, who create delectable culinary delights and exciting cocktails. There are a number of events ranging from the Gourmet Safari Dinner Series, that takes diners to some of the finest establishments on the island, to a focus on local street food and food trucks, which are extremely popular in Barbados. This festival offers something for everyone who likes to eat and drink well.   

NIFCA (The National Independence Festival of Creative Arts)

NIFCA is held annually in November. It was started in 1973, during Barbados’ nation-building period, not long after independence in 1966. NIFCA celebrates Barbados’ Independence from Britain, and showcases Barbadian culture through performances in drama, dance, music, literary, visual and culinary arts, photography, art and craft. The slogan is “The Tradition of Excellence Continues”, and talented Barbadians of all ages and all walks of life live up to this, impressing the judges and being awarded gold, silver and bronze awards of achievement, along with amateur awards which are named after local cultural icons. More recently, awards have been added for entries by semi-professionals and professionals, the most coveted being the Governor General’s Award of Excellence. NIFCA is a festival for the people of Barbados, and it encourages the youth to explore our national identity and culture in creative ways, and indeed new entrants and groups participate each year. The finale of NIFCA is the Gala, which showcases the best of the presentations and performances of the festival.

 

 

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