8 Fabulous Festivals to Enjoy in Barbados

Royal Westmoreland

It is no surprise that Barbados is renowned for its fabulous festivals as it has a lot to celebrate: its wealth of historical heritage, the Bajan culture, our great music and our unbelievable food. Our festivals take place throughout the year, so, if you’re planning a visit, here are some of the great events you can go to.

1. The Open House Programme – January

The Barbados Open House Programme, a special event beginning in mid-January and lasting all the way to March, gives visitors the rare opportunity to see some of Barbados’ most historic and architecturally exciting private homes.

Run by the Barbados National Trust, the event features an array of properties including the Nidhe Israel Synagogue, the Morgan Lewis Windmill, the Belleview, Francia and Valley plantations, as well as other great houses, pirate dens and period homes of the rich and poor dating back to the sixteenth century.

2. The Holetown Festival – February

The Holetown Festival is a week-long event that takes place in February to commemorate the first British settlement in Barbados. The festival features a lively street fair with a unique mix of music, drama, dance, arts and crafts and, of course, some amazing Barbadian food. There are also two parades, the ‘Street Parade’, which has vintage cars, military bands and local dance troupes, and the ‘Holetown Dooflicky’, a parade where everyone is welcome to join in.

The festival also has a tattoo where you can get to see performances and demonstrations by the Royal Barbados Police Force’s Mounted Troop, Police Band and Motorcycle Corps.

3. Holders Season – March

Holders Season is an annual event which has been running since 1993 and presents a variety of international performances which include opera, music and theatre. With globally renowned performers and professional production standards, the events are a big draw, ensuring that venues are always booked to capacity.

4. Oistins’ Fish Festival – Easter

If you are visiting Barbados over the Easter holidays, make sure you don’t miss Oistins Fish Festival. This annual, culinary event takes place over the Easter weekend in the quaint fishing village of Oistins. The festival is a celebration of the island’s fishing industry and the inspired seafood dishes that have become such an integral part of the local cuisine.

Take a walk around the village to see the local craft stalls, chill with a beer and listen to calypso and reggae music, or enjoy the fish cakes, fried fish, pudding and souse available from the many food stalls while watching the popular fish boning and grease-pole competitions.

5. Barbados Reggae Festival – April

Originally from nearby Jamaica, Reggae is a popular style of music throughout the Caribbean and the best place to see live performances in Barbados is at the Barbados Reggae Festival which is held every April.

Showcasing some of the biggest names in reggae, the two-day event draws crowds from all over the world. Past performers have included, Luciano, Buju Banton, Sizzla, Anthony B and Admiral Tibbett.

The festival has grown considerably since it started in 2005 and is now comprised of four separate events, each with a different style of reggae. Music lovers have the chance to go to ‘Reggae on the Beach’, ‘Vintage Reggae’, the ‘Bajan Reggae Night’ and the ‘Reggae On The Hill’ events.

6. The Barbados Celtic Festival – May

It may come as a surprise that Barbados has a Celtic Festival, however, many of the island’s early inhabitants were settlers from Ireland, Scotland and Wales and this cultural legacy can still be seen today.

The actual festival began in the 1990s with a single performance by a Welsh male voice choir and over the years has grown to become a major festival with a plethora of international Celtic musicians turning up to the Barbados Yacht Club to perform their shows.

7. The Crop Over Festival – June

The Crop Over Festival is a cultural tradition in Barbados going back to the plantation days of the 1780s and which celebrates the end of the sugar harvesting season. Such was the importance of sugar to the island’s economy, the festival was and still is, a summer-long event.
If you’re visiting during the summer, you’ll find the Crop Over to be the island’s most vibrant and popular festival with plenty of events taking place. It begins with an opening gala which includes the ceremonial delivery of the last canes to be harvested and the coronation of the season’s most productive cane cutters as the festival’s King and Queen.

The big highlight of the festival is the Barbados Kadooment Day or the Grand Kadooment. Kadooment is Bajan for a major event filled with fun and merriment and the Crop Over Kadooment Carnival is widely considered to be the best in the entire Caribbean. The parade features large calypso bands, elaborate themed costumes and plenty of happy onlookers enjoying the spectacle, soaking up the music and feasting on the local food and drink.

8. Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival – October

An absolute must for food lovers, the Barbados Food, Wine and Rum Festival gives autumn’s visitors the chance to see some of the world’s best chefs create their dishes. Even better, you’ll get to try them and discover for yourself why Barbados is called the culinary capital of the Caribbean.

Featuring a range of gourmet events, each offering a unique culinary experience, foodies will love the mouth-watering extravaganzas on offer, with Michelin standard delights from local and international chefs and the finest wines and cocktails you can find.

Summing up

Barbados’ wide variety of festivals means there is something taking place almost all year round. So, no matter what time of year you visit, you can be sure there will always be something spectacular for you to enjoy. For the ideal place to stay on your visit, check out the magnificent apartments and villas here at the Royal Westmoreland, on the island’s prestigious west coast.