Many villages hold street fairs from time to time. For a diary of events and festivals see http://barbados.org/eventcd.htm.
1 Jan New Year’s Day.
2nd week Jan Jazz Festival, contact Gilbert Rowe, T4374537, http://www.barbadosjazzfestival.com.
21 Jan Errol Barrow Day.
Feb The Holetown Festival (contact Alfred Pragnell, T4356264), commemorating the first settlers’ landing in Feb 1627.
Mar The Holders Season is a popular festival started in 1992 with a season of opera, Shakespeare, cabaret with international performers and sporting events such as cricket, golf and polo. Performances are beautifully staged outdoors at Holders, an old plantation house overlooking the polo field. Take a picnic and an umbrella, tickets US$15-90. T4326385, http://www.holders.net.
Mar/Apr Good Fri and Easter Mon. The Oistins Fish Festival, held around Easter, celebrates the signing of the Charter of Barbados and the history of this fishing town with three days of competitions, parades and demonstrations of fishing and cooking skills. A big street party goes on late into the night and lots of fried fish and fish cakes are consumed.
28 Apr National Heroes Day.
Late Apr Congaline Street Festival finishing with a Mayday jump-up in the streets from Garrison Savanna to Spring Garden. Bajan and other Caribbean music. Contact the National Cultural Foundation, T4240909.
May Gospel Fest (contact Adrian Agard, T4307300) and the Celtic Festival, music, dance and sports.
1 May Labour Day.
May/Jun Whit Mon, 7 weeks after Easter.
Jul-Aug Crop Over, parades and calypso competitions over the weekend leading up to Kadooment Day (the first Mon in Aug), and calypso ‘tents’ (mostly indoors though) for several weeks beforehand. The celebrations begin with the ceremonial delivery of the last canes on a brightly coloured dray cart pulled by mules, which are blessed. There is a toast to the sugar workers and the crowning of the King and Queen of the crop (the champion cutterpilers). The bands and costumes have improved but are a pale imitation of what Trinidad has to offer. However, even Trinidadians now take Barbadian soca and calypso seriously and talk of the Bajan invasion. The big crowd is on the Spring Garden Highway outside Bridgetown Mon afternoon, which has roadside music and places selling drinks for 2 weeks before Kadooment. Next to the highway there is Festival village, an area for open-air parties with live music, small entry fee. Baxters Rd Mall runs for a couple of weekends beforehand; the road is closed off for fried fish, music and beer. For information contact the National Cultural Foundation, T4240909, http://barbados.org/cropover.htm.
1 Aug Emancipation Day.
First Mon in Aug Kadooment Day.
Oct Blowin’ in de Windies, a youth jazz festival with school bands from the UK, North and South America participating in performances and workshops.
Nov NIFCA, the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts is a more serious affair, with plays, concerts and exhibitions in the 4 weeks before Independence Day.
30 Nov Independence Day. Several events are held throughout the month commemorating Barbados’ independence from Britain in 1966.
Dec Christmas Day and Boxing Day.