Reggae Sumfest & Other Caribbean Summer Music Festivals Happening In 2023

Caribbean summer music festivals have become the prime destinations for international visitors who want to witness the rich culture of the islands through the live performances of Caribbean-born, internationally-acclaimed artistes. You may be familiar with Jamaica-based Reggae music festival, Reggae Sumfest, set for July 16- 21, 2023 that has made its name since 1993 as “The Greatest Reggae Show On Earth” because every year the festival pulls millions of visitors to the island who have an affinity of Reggae and Dancehall songs and entertainers. Beyond Jamaica, here are other Caribbean countries that will feature the hottest summer music festivals in 2023.

St. Kitts

St. Kitts Music Festival

Warner Park Stadium

Bassaterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis

June 22-24, 2023

Since its inaugural staging in 1996, when it was known as the Shak Shak Festival, the annual St. Kitts Music Festival has earned the reputation of being the most diverse music festival in the region. It was originally a jazz festival but has evolved into a festival of all Caribbean genres and has featured the top artists of all and thousands of fans from the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Caribbean. Its events blend Soul, Soca, Jazz, R&B, Calypso, Meringue, Zouk, Cadence, Dancehall, Reggae, Gospel, and Blues, into a magical experience for everyone. In addition to the music, the festival unites visitors and locals in discovering the highlights of St. Kitts, from its rainforest to its pristine underwater marine world to its amazing beaches. It also features all-night parties, the chance to enjoy excellent Caribbean cuisine, and life’s pleasures in a tropical paradise. On June 22, performers include Mr. Bagnall, Nicha B, Stadics, Akaiiusweet, Kollison Band, Nu Vybes Band Intl., Kes the Band, Patrice Roberts, Skinny Fabulous, Preedy, Dexta Daps. On June 23, performers are 313 Gamily, Byron Messia, Govana, Skillibeng, Chronixx, Koffee, and Anthony B. On June 24, performances will be from Romain Virgo, Erica Edwards, Valiant, Air Supply, Burna Boy, Teejay, and Gramps Morgan.

Turks and Caicos

Music and Cultural Festival 2023

Downtown Ballpark, Grand Turk

Late July-Early August

The week-long festival takes place for one week every year on the two islands of Turks and Caicos. The festival hosts both international and local artists playing a range of musical genres in a number of venues from the end of July to the beginning of August. Visitors enjoy hip-hop, reggae, R&B, and gospel music throughout the festival, which also celebrates the local island culture and traditions. A beauty pageant crowns a Miss Turks & Caicos as the festival fuses local music and culture in an environment that includes global superstars and music legends from around the Caribbean region.


Anguilla Summer Festival

The Valley

July 30-August 7, 2023

The Anguilla Summer Festival is held yearly around the first Monday in August, a date known as August Monday or Emancipation Day. The ten-day festival features boat races, costumes, parades, parties, and live music performances. Many of the events take place at Sandy Ground and Meads Bay, while parades are held in the Valley, the capital of Anguilla. The Summer Festival is the biggest holiday celebrated on Anguilla and is a typical Caribbean emancipation celebration with its origins in years of African-influenced traditional Monday fairs and bazaars. The first Summer Festival was held in 1940 and began as a boat race, but has evolved into one of the largest beach parties in the Caribbean. Highlights of the festival include J’ouvert, the Grand Parade of the Troupes, a kiddies’ parade, the Miss Anguilla pageant, and a bathing suit competition. Musical celebrations include soca and reggae night, the Leeward Islands Calypso Monarch competition, the Prince & Princess Pageant, Junior and Senior Calypso competition, and a Ms. Talented Teen competition. There is plenty of local food and beverages, and the rum is free-flowing.


Crop Over Festival

Bridgetown, Barbados

August 7·August 14, 2023

The Crop Over Festival honors a centuries-old tradition celebrating the culture of Barbados and its harvest time. The celebration originated in the 1680s from those held at the end of every sugar season to mark a successful harvest. It has roots in the African Yam Festival and the British Harvest Home Festival. It became popular in the 1780s when Barbados was the largest sugar-producing country in the world. The original celebration was organized by the planters who offer liquor and food as incentives to enslaved laborers, who also had their own celebrations that features singing and dancing and ancestral traditions. Crop Over festivals were discontinued after World War II, not to be celebrated again until the 1970s when the festival was updated and additional cultural elements were added. Today, thousands of people attend Crop Over, one of the oldest festivals in the region. Most of the festival events take place in Bridgetown, the capital city. A king and queen of the crop are chosen during the festival, and there is a focus on Calypso music. The climax of the festival is Grand Kadooment, which is when the epic masquerade parade is held.

St. Lucia

Wellness Music Festival

September 25-October 2, 2023

This festival is designed to combine wellness and music in order to “feed the mind, body, and soul.” Events take place throughout the island for a week and bring together artists and musicians from around the world while also offering a Wellness Village that features savory cuisine and conversation about health topics, spa treatments, and more. Guests may enjoy various spa treatments and locally-sourced dining with vegan and vegetarian options. The goal is for visitors to leave the festival feeling nourished and centered.

Costa Rica

Limon Carnival

Puerto Limon, Cost Rica

October 12, 2023

Said to be the biggest party enjoyed by the Afro-Caribbean community of Costa Rica, it has been celebrated since 1949 on a day originally knowns as “Colombus Day.” Today, Costa Ricans celebrate the immigrants who settled the country and recognize the landing on Uvita Island in 1502 by Colombus on one of his voyages. The festival features lots of calypso and reggae music, colorful costumes, fireworks, and opportunities to enjoy the cuisine of the region, including the famous “rondon,” a seafood stew; “caribena,” patis, or meaty pies made with onions and spices, and Jamaican-style jerk. Bands known as “cimarrona” entertain the crowds from morning until night as the festival celebrates the diverse Afro-Caribbean population, European residents, indigenous people, and those of Asian descent. A Children’s Parade is one of the festival highlights, as is the crowning of its Kind and Queen. The Dia de las Culturas features traditional music genres, dances, and songs. The Grand Parade culminates the festival on its last day.


Food and Rum Festival

Bridgetown, Barbados

October 19, 2023-October 22, 2023

The Food and Rum Festival in Barbados is meant to offer a wide variety of colorful and flavorful experiences to the thousands of visitors attending every year. The festival fills the streets of Bridgetown for four days, and there is something for everyone, from street food to visiting gourmet restaurants to trying the famous vegetarian treat, cou cou, which is made of corn and okra. The highlight of the food festival is Barbados rum made from local sugar cane and with a 40-percent alcohol content. Bartenders showcase their skills to the enjoyment of crowds as they make their cocktails. A variety of rums are available for tasting, and the food events are held in various places around the island. Dishes include flying fish, breadfruit, and sweet potato pudding. There are also food-truck mashups, rum tours, breakfasts on the beach, and community pop-up diners, along with a sunrise celebration, Rise and Rum, on Copacabana Beach.


World Creole Music Festival

Roseau, Dominica

October 27-October 29, 2023

The unique World Creole Music Festival, which is now one of the signature Caribbean festivals, has been held for over 20 years in Roseau, the capital city, for the enjoyment of visitors who enjoy music and other performances from various Caribbean music genre artists. It began in 1997 to develop Dominica’s art, music, and entertainment industries, and to promote the country as a tourist destination. It focuses on the celebration of Creole music and culture of the Creole-speaking countries of the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa. The Creole music genre features diverse styles and rhythms with the addition of African rhythms like Soukouce and Zydeco from New Orleans. Other world music forms have also been featured at the festival, including dancehall, reggae, soca, and salsa. The festival symbolizes the world’s Creole heritage and coincides with International Creole Day and celebrations of Dominica’s independence.

About the author

Stephanie Korney