Why Barbados is a Magnet for Music Lovers
With its laid back lifestyle, festival culture and stunning landscapes, Barbados has long been an attraction for singers, musicians and DJs. Today, it offers visitors a wealth of opportunities to indulge their passion for music, whether that be folk, gospel, calypso or techno. Here we’ll show you why music lovers will adore the musical events the island has to offer.
Vujaday House and Techno Festival
Barbados’ Vujaday Music Festival puts the island on a par with Ibiza when it comes to attracting the top, international house and techno DJs. After an exceptionally successful launch in 2018, this five-day house and techno festival is set to raise the bar even higher next year. With over 30 DJs in the mix, it will become Barbados’ biggest ever electronic festival.
What makes Vujaday different is that each day of the festival takes place at a different location.
This year, events took place at luxury beach clubs, private villas, beachfront bars and even at an 18th Century plantation. The festival, which is held at the beginning of April, aims to create a unique musical experience while giving event goers the chance to visit more of our stunning island.
London Elite Sunshine Music Festival
If you’re more into soul, head to Barbados in November for the London Elite Sunshine Music Festival. Bringing you some of the UK’s finest contemporary soul artists, such as Alastair Rapattac and Omar, together with DJs like Desi G and Phil Philo, you’re sure to have a fantastic time.
The festival runs several events over the course of a week, including a ‘Dress in White’ night at the beautiful Mullens Heights Hotel, a beach party with unlimited champagne at Nikki Beach, an 80’s themed ‘Dress as You Dare’ party at the Dukes nightclub and a catamaran cruise party.
Barbados Gospel Music Festival
For centuries, Barbadians have used Gospel music to celebrate their African heritage and each May they hold the Gospelfest, a three-day event of non-stop performances. Today, this has become the Caribbean’s premier Gospel music and arts festival, featuring some of the most renowned singers and choirs, together with comedians, mime artists and dance acts.
The festival draws performers from all over the Caribbean as well as from the UK, North America and even as far as Africa. Over the years, its various events have been held in stunning locations, such as Heroes Square, Farley Hill National Park and the Jackie Opel Amphitheatre, and have featured artists such as Candi Staton, Richard Smallwood, Donnie McClurkin and Kirk Franklin.
For the ultimate feel-good, head on down to some of these great events where you can sing along and dance to some of the best vocalists performing the greatest Gospel songs.
Barbados Reggae Festival
Jamaica isn’t the only place in the Caribbean that loves to celebrate Reggae music. Here in Barbados, we’ve been holding an annual Reggae Festival since 2005. The week-long event, held every April, is popular with Barbadians and visitors and attracts over 25,000 spectators who flock to see some of the amazing performers in concert.
The festival runs four events, each held at different locations, and showcases different styles of reggae music, including vintage, modern and Bajan reggae. In the past, artists such as Buju Banton, Sizzla, Anthony B and Admiral Tibbett have performed at the festival.
Celtic Music Festival
With Scotland, Wales and Ireland being 4,000 miles away, a Celtic music festival is not what most people would expect to find on a tropical island. However, many of the country’s inhabitants share a Celtic heritage, with their ancestors having settled here, some of them forcibly, during the long centuries of British rule.
Over recent decades this cultural legacy has seen a resurrection in the form of the Barbados Celtic Festival, which now attracts well-known performers from Ireland, the UK and North America. Taking place at the Barbados Yacht Club, expect everything from ballads to bagpipes and fiddles to folk music. You may even get to sample a Bajan haggis, though it’s a tough decision whether to wash it down with Scotch Whisky, Irish Whiskey or Bajan Rum.
The festival has featured a long list of great folk musicians, including Hamish Stuart (Average White Band), Eddi Reader (Fairground Attraction), Sandra Macbeth, the Peatbog Faeries and the Riddell Fiddles, just to name a few. The festival is held in the last week of May.
Soca and calypso events
Like Reggae, Soca and Calypso are music genres native to the Caribbean and where ever you go in Barbados, you’ll find local bars and venues hosting live bands playing this kind of music. The one place you are bound to hear lots of Soca and Calypso is at the annual Crop Over, Barbados’ biggest carnival, which celebrates the end of the sugar cane harvest. Here you’ll find bands taking part in carnival parades and competitions and playing in bars and in public spaces.
Our passion for music, in all its rich varieties, means visitors to Barbados are in for a musical treat. You can indulge yourself at one of our fantastic festivals, enjoy live music at one of our clubs or bars, or just take in the rhythms and beats that you’ll hear everywhere you go on the island.
If visiting Barbados is on your playlist, the magnificent apartments and villas here at the Royal Westmoreland are within easy reach of all the island’s best musical events.