Summer ’17: The LargeUp Guide to the Season’s Best Fests, Fetes + Carnivals

Words by LargeUp Crew
Photo by Justin Pallack

Summer is the ‘off season’ in the Caribbean — there’s fewer tourists, crowds are smaller and generally the world’s attention has moved elsewhere by this time of year. Of course, this is a great excuse to throw a party, which is why so many islands have programmed their carnivals in the summer months. To the north in Europe and the United States, meanwhile, summer means it’s time to get outside and enjoy live music, food, etc. under the sun. It’s the season of music festivals in both continents, and ’nuff of them keep things sunny by programming and featuring reggae, among other Caribbean sounds.

This year we’ve expanded the LargeUp Summer Guide beyond music festivals, to also include carnivals and culture festivals that don’t rely solely on music to draw a crowd. The result is the most complete LargeUp Summer Guide yet, as we look forward to this summer’s big concerts and celebrations across the Caribbean and beyond.

California Roots Music & Art Festival
May 26-28
Monterrey, California


Photo: Josue Rivas

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of Summer in the States and what better way to get the summer started than with some reggae, outdoors, in sunny California? Launched in 2010, the California Roots Music & Art Festival brings some 40,000 people to the Monterrey Fairgrounds, on California’s central coast, over the three-day weekend. This festival’s been growing every year and, after a blowout 2016 edition with Jr. Gong and Stephen Marley, among others, year’s lineup includes Rebelution, Nas, SOJA, Protoje, Jesse Royal, Anthony B, Jah9, Thievery Corporation, Alborosie and Jurassic 5. Cali Roots also has its own beer and its own mobile app, and is one of the most environmentally proactive fests of its size, a “zero waste” event where everything is recyclable and compostable, making this about as guilt-free experience as can be had in 2017.  — Desmond Alphonso.

Jazz Reggae Fest
May 29
Los Angeles, California


Photo: Andrew Quesada

Lots of colleges hold student-run festivals and Spring Fling-style concerts drawing music fans of all ages to their campuses, but few transcend that local appeal to earn international acclaim. Held every Memorial Day since 1987, the Jazz Reggae Fest at UCLA is the largest student-run concert in the country. The roster typically honors the festival’s name with an equal mix of reggae and jazz, along with a bit of hip-hop and R&B. This year’s edition features Protoje and Jah9, with their respective bands, on the reggae side of things, along with sounds from LA’s DJ QBwoy of Jamaican Gold Sounds, plus rapper Daniel Caesar, jazz outfit the Mattson Two and more. — Desmond Alphonso

Martinique Hiking Festival
Martinique
June 1-30


Photo: F. Smith/Martinique Promotion Bureau

Martinique is hosting its first International Hiking Festival (Festival International de Randonnée) from June 1st through the 30th. But what exactly is a hiking festival? It’s 30 different, guided hikes over 30 days collectively showcasing the diversity of the Caribbean’s Ile aux Fleurs. Routes range from a night stroll in the southern town of Sainte-Anne with poet and singer Joby Bernabé on June 9th to a vigrous hike up the dormant volcano Morne Larcher on June 20th. Visit the Festival International de Randonnée site for the full program, and details on each hike. — Jesse Serwer

Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures)
June 2-5
Berlin, Germany

Berlin hosts one of the biggest Carnival celebrations in Europe, called Karneval der Kulturen, in early June. If you didn’t think soca was big in Deutschland, think again: Karneval der Kulturen has an action-packed program with 10 events spread over five days, including the Soca on the Beach fete, and the Berlin edition of Toronto DJ Dr. Jay’s popular series Soca or Die, a Wet Fete and Carnival boat rides. These ticketed events are all already sold out. For street-level action, there’s even a J’Ouvert for hardcore bacchanalists to get their Carnival started with paint and powder, ahead of the main Carnival parade on June 4th. Participating artists and DJs this year include Destra, Deejay Puffy and Willy Chin. — Desmond Alphonso

Caribbean Fashion Week
June 7-11
Kingston, Jamaica


Photo Courtesy: CFW

Caribbean Fashion Week
brings the best in fashion, design and styling from around the world to Kingston, Jamaica, from June 7th through the 11th. Every year CFW draws the world’s attention to the best and emerging Caribbean designers, celebrating the Caribbean’s influence on global fashion and culture, from yaad to the runway. The five-day soirée includes runway shows, a business forum, a gala and a live concert featuring Ashanti and Ghanaian-born British star Fuse ODG, who will also debut his new collection: NANA (New Africa Nation). Front-row ticket holders will enjoy a tour of the newly opened Peter Tosh Museum. Tickets are available here. — Ronnia Cherry

Sierra Nevada World Music Festival
June 16-18
Boonville, Calif.


Photo by Lee Abel

Another great way to kick off the summer in California is with a trip up to the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in Mendocino County.The 24th edition of this kid-friendly festival (all children under 12 enter free) will feature Lee “Scratch” Perry, Chronixx, Horace Andy, Tarrus Riley, Capleton, Barrington Levy, Third World, The Black Seeds, Lakou Mizik, Gentleman, Gappy Ranks, Anthony B, and Macka B, among others, over three nights at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds. Like Rebel Salute in Jamaica, Sierra Nevada is firmly committed to conscious music and living, with performers booked for their positive lyrical content and vendors chosen for their commitment to health and the environment. Sierra Nevada has truly earned its place as a Northern California institution. — Jesse Serwer

Saint Lucia Roots & Soul Festival
Pigeon Island, Saint Lucia
June 16-18

Photo: Nicole Sweet

The island of Saint Lucia is supplementing its popular Jazz Festival (held in early May) and Lucian Carnival with a series of new events throughout the summer, collectively known as the SOLEIL Summer Festival. From June 16 through the 18th, the Pigeon Island National Landmark in the north of the island will be the site of the first annual Saint Lucia Roots & Soul Festival, headlined by Christopher Martin, Etana and Musiq Soulchild. Local acts set to appear include Chrycee, Kayo and Rob Zii Taylor & Phynesse, so in addition to international acts you can also enjoy a nice dose of Lucian culture and sounds. — Jesse Serwer

Bermuda Heroes Weekend (Bermuda Carnival)
June 16-19
Hamilton, Bermuda

Bermuda shares many features with the Caribbean culturally, including a love for soca, steelpan and calypso, but, until recently, this Atlantic island did not have its own Carnival. That changed in 2015 with the introduction of Bermuda Heroes Weekend. Events take place around the island; things get started this year on Wednesday, June 14th, before officially kicking off on Friday the 16th with programming that includes the Five Star Friday concert with soca stars Ricardo Drue, Voice, Sekon Sta, King Bubba FM, Blaxx, Tizzy and the Roy Cape All Stars at the National Sports Center in Devonshire. Other events include “Euphoria: The Ultimate Soca Beach Experience” (Saturday June 17 at Snorkel Park Beach) with DJ Private Ryan, Pan in the Park (Sunday June 18 at Victoria Park, Hamilton) and Super Hero J’Ouvert (at Bernard’s Park, Pembroke), all leading up to the Parade of Bands and Last Lap at Clearwater Beach on Carnival Monday. Check out this highlight video from 2015’s inaugural edition for a taste of Carnival, Bermuda style.

St. Kitts Music Festival
June 22-24
Basseterre, St. Kitts


Jah Cure photo by Nicole Sweet

This year’s St. Kitts Music Festival in beautiful Basseterre, St. Kitts features a little something for (almost) every musical taste. In addition to a roster of heavy hitters from the world of reggae/dancehall (Shabba Ranks, Mavado, Jah Cure) and soca (Ricardo Drue, Ultimate Rejects, Voice), festival organizers have also booked the Goo Goo Dolls and Creedence Clearwater Revisited (which presumably contains members of ‘60s rock icons Creedence Clearwater Revival). The bill also features a reunited Square One featuring Bajan star Alison Hinds — which should be reason enough for seasoned socaholics to buy that ticket to Basseterre. With plenty of local Kittitian acts on the bill too, you can be assured this year’s St. Kitts Music Festival will be far from a staid affair. — Jesse Serwer

Hollywood Carnival
June 22-25
Hollywood, California

Also known as the Los Angeles Culture Festival, Hollywood Carnival has grown incredibly fast since its inaugural edition in 2012. In fact, some have said it’s on its way to becoming the USA’s premier Caribbean culture celebration after New York Labor Day, although the scope of the festival is broader than just the islands. In addition to the three-mile parade down Hollywood Boulevard and the Carnival Cultural Village, Hollywood Carnival has sprouted all of the attendant fetes that go along with a proper Carnival experience worth traveling for. This year’s schedule include events with performers Machel Montano, Bunji Garlin, Fay-Ann Lyons, MX Prime and Rupee and DJ Private Ryan, among others. — Jesse Serwer

Groovin in the Park
June 25th
Queens, NY


Busy Signal photo by Martei Korley

New York’s Groovin in the Park concert targets a mature, largely Jamaican crowd, with veteran reggae acts and R&B stars. In 2014, organizers booked Air Supply; a surprising move to some, but a natural choice given the Australian soft rock band’s massive popularity in Jamaica. This year, alongside reggae icons Lloyd Parks, Leroy Sibbles, Ken Boothe, Tarrus Riley, Freddie McGregor and U Roy, the festival will bring R. Kelly to Roy Wilkins Park, along with the first-ever U.S. appearance by dancehall star Busy Signal. Hotted! This is definitely this summer’s must-see reggae show in NYC. Tickets, which start at $55, are available here. — Desmond Alphonso

Reggae Summerjam
June 30 – July 2
Cologne, Germany

Protoje photo by Yannick Reid

Reggae Summerjam returns to the banks of Fühlinger Lake in Cologne, Germany on July 1st, featuring Nas, Damian Marley, Alpha Blondy, Beenie Man, Toots & the Maytals, Jah9, Kabaka Pyramid, G-Eazy, Patrice, Protoje, Runkus & The OldSkl Bond, Royal Blu, Meta & The Cornerstones, Joy Denalane, The Skatalites and more. With a stellar lineup, multiple stages and colorful parades, expect a great time and amazing music. The festival is known for its peaceful vibe and its unique energy attracts a diverse crowd of reggae lovers from around the world. Due to high demand, it’s best you book your tickets and hotels in advance. — Ronnia Cherry

Vincy Mas (St. Vincent Carnival)
June 30 – July 11
Kingstown, St. Vincent

Vincy Mas tends to live up to its slogan as “The Hottest Carnival in the Caribbean” with a mixture of tradition, innovation and organic social activities. It’s also the first major Caribbean carnival of the summer season, making it highly anticipated by island-hopping soca warriors from other territories, as well as local Vincentians. This year’s Carnival officially kicks off June 30th before culminating with Mardi Gras July 11th but, for many in St. Vincent & the Grenadines, things have already gotten started. Mini carnivals are held in rural areas (such as P’Tani Mas in La Croix) and on the island of Bequia in the run-up to the main festival, while the annual torrent of new music builds anticipation for events like the Soca Monarch competition on July 8th and the fetes (Neon Rave, Dirty Sexy Soca, Bun Wuk) which happen across the island in the last days before Carnival. Everything concludes with a bang on Dimanche Gras, J’Ouvert and Mardi Gras on Carnival Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, respectively. And if that’s not enough feting for you, there’s always Canouan Carnival — the last of SVG’s eight rural carnivals, on the tiny island of Canouan, tails the main event by a few weeks in late July. — Jesse Serwer

St. John Festival
July 4th
St. John, USVI

One of the more intimate carnivals of the Caribbean can be found on the beautiful Virgin Island of St. John aka Love City. As any carnival devotee knows, some carnivals can be quite extensive geographically, spanning multiple towns and parishes. St.John’s Festival has a special niche due to its summertime dates, scenic settings, and complete carnival vibe in the small geographic area of Cruz Bay, the larger of the island’s two towns. Preliminary events, including pageants, food fairs, races, “Pan-o-Rama” steel pan expos and more start in early June; Things turn up a level when the Carnival Village opens later in the month, culminating in the Festival Parade, on Tuesday, July 4th. St.John historically has used its smaller size to a big advantage situating the Carnival Village properly and continually bringing the best entertainment to the main stage. This gives a St. John Festival patron a unique feeling of being close to everything that’s going on. You can check out a more detailed schedule here. — Kaya.lah

Lucian Carnival
July 17-18
Castries, Saint Lucia

The energy of Caribbean carnival shifts to Castries, St. Lucia in July, where weeks of fetes and competitions culminate in the Parade of the Bands on Carnival Monday and Tuesday, happening this year on July 17th and 18th. The Lucian Carnival website seems to be in need of an update for 2017, but you can find the full list of this year’s official events, including the Caribbean Soca Festival on July 9th, and the Ricky T & Friends Soca Explosion on July 12th, here.  — Desmond Alphonso

Reggae Sumfest
July 16-22
Montego Bay, Jamaica

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Jamaica’s largest reggae festival. Reggae Sumfest takes place in Montego Bay, St. James for a full week July 16-22. The weeklong festival takes off with sunset yacht party, a heavyweight clash before a weekend of rhythm and culture with live stage shows. Night 1 features headliners Alkaline, Mavado, Bounty Killer, Tory Lanez, Aidonia, Dexta Daps, Tommy Lee Sparta, Patoranking, Shenseea, Tifa, Jahmiel, Masicka and Ding Dong. Day 2 brings a more reggae-centric lineup with Sean Paul, Sizzla, Beenie Man, Jah Cure, Queen Ifrica, Kabaka Pyramid, Melekú, Mad Cobra, Christopher Martin, Richie Stephens and other special guests. This is a summer favorite and early-bird tickets have already sold out. Head over to reggaesumfest.com for advance tickets. — Ronnia Cherry

Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival New York
July 23
Queens, NY

The New York edition of the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival happens every year on the third Sunday in July, at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens. This year’s lineup features live performances from Konshens, Morgan Heritage, Alison Hinds and Barrington Levy but, as always, the main attraction is the vendors serving up massive quantities of jerk chicken, pork and even jerk ice cream, as they vie for the coveted Dutch Pot Trophy. This is New York’s largest Caribbean food event, and regularly attracts crowds approaching 20,000. If  you’re not in the New York area, but still need your all-day, all-you-can-eat jerk fix, there’s two more Grace Jamaican Jerk Festivals coming up: the second-annual D.C. Jerk Fest at the RFK Stadium Lawn on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 18th, and the original Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival in South Florida, happening this year on Nov. 12 in Broward County’s Markham Park. — Jesse Serwer

Dream Weekend
July 28 – Aug 1
Negril, Jamaica

Dream Weekend returns to the sandy white beaches of Negril during Jamaica’s independence weekend, from July 28th through August 1st. In addition to lively parties like Yush, Igloo, Daydreams and Dream Live, this long weekend promises high energy, bere Appleton Rum and live performances from local and international artists. (Thus far only Masicka has been named; expect more announcements soon). Dream Weekend is anticipated and talked about around the world, and on many a bucket list. If anything, go for the nonstop music and beautiful views. Hotels book up fast, so get there from early. — Ronnia Cherry

Antigua Carnival
July 28-August 8
St. John’s, Antigua

This year is the 60th anniversary of Antigua Carnival, and you can be sure that the Wadadli massive is going to tun up the vibes all the way this year as it celebrates the milestone. Although Antigua Carnival officially takes place for 10 days from late July, the numerous fetes leading up to the summer festive season begin as early as April, while Caribana on Antigua’s smaller sister island, Barbuda, offers a taste of what’s to come in early June. The main event begins Friday, July 28th with the Opening Night concert at the Antigua Recreation Grounds (“Carnival City”), followed by T-Shirt Mas (July 29), the Jaycees Caribbean Queen Show (Sunday the 30th), Panorama (Friday, Aug. 4th), the Party Monarch competition (Saturday, Aug. 5), Calypso Monarch (Sunday, Aug. 7) and the Parade of Bands on Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 7th and 8th. Somewhere in the mix should be the Antigua and Barbuda Mango Festival, which is usually held at Antigua’s Botanical Gardens about a week before Carnival’s climax. For practical advice on maximizing your Antigua Carnival experience, read Donna-Marie McIntosh’s Carnival Checklist. — Desmond Alphonso

Tour Des Yoles Rondes
July 30-August 6
Martinique


Photo: Steve Bennett/Uncommon Caribbean.com

Martinique’s Tour Des Yoles Rondes is one of the Caribbean’s most colorful boat races, with a party atmosphere that’s led many to compare it to a “Carnival at Sea.” Martinicans race yole boats, colorful fishing boats known for their rounded hulls, on other occasions during the year, but the Tour des Yoles ups the stakes, with boaters navigating the entire island in seven stages, in a week-long spectacle that’s as fun to watch as it is challenging to compete in. While the races provide entertainment for shore-side spectators and pleasure boats who trail the action at sea, more action can be found onshore, where Martinicans and tourists revel at raucous, rhum agricole–fueled beach parties. — Jesse Serwer

Barbados Crop Over
August 1-7
Bridgetown, Barbados

Crop Over is the largest and most famed celebrated carnival in the Caribbean. With Barbados’ favorite daughter Rihanna a staple presence at the climactic street parade on Grand Kadooment Day, and celebrities like Lewis Hamilton returning year after year to soak up the Bajan sun, Crop Over has seen a surge in attention recently. Hotels and AirBNB rooms across the island are largely booked already, but there’s still some deals to be had out there. With Barbados’ soca output getting better and better each year, we recommend arriving in time for Soca Royale on July 30th, when the Sweet Soca and Party Monarch titles will be awarded after a night of live music and fierce competition. There’s also Soca on De Hill (“The World’s Greatest Soca Party”) on July 23rd, which this year features a pan-Caribbean roster of Lil Rick (Barbados), Skinny Fabulous (St. Vincent), Ultimate Rejects (Trinidad), Ricky T (St. Lucia) and Patrice Roberts (Trinidad). Visit the National Carnival Federation of Barbados’ website for more information on Crop Over 2017, and check here for updates to the festival calendar. — Jesse Serwer

Reggae Geel
August 4-5
Geel, Belgium

Photo: ReggaeGeel

This year’s 39th annual Reggae Geel takes over Geel, Belgium with deejays and sound systems on Friday, August 4 followed by a massive concert on Saturday, August 5. Europe’s most beloved and oldest reggae festival started with humble beginnings and now has five stages with over 75 acts. There’s the Main Stage with Jah Cure, Steel Pulse, Christopher Martin, Capleton, Chronixx, Raging Fyah, Jesse Royal, Runkus & the OldSkl Bond, Maxi Priest, Royal Blu, BlvkH3ro, Notis Heavyweight Rockaz and Black Uhuru with Duckie Simpson and Mykal Rose. Additional stages include Skaville with The Heptones and The Silverstones, The Yard with Dionne Reid & Sherri Ven Dyer and Hempress Sativa, 18-Inch Corner with Blood Shanti, and Bounce Dancehall with Tanto Blacks, Soul Supreme and Aidonia, along with other top-notch performers. This is a family affair, with children’s entertainment for the yutes and a Reggae Market with Caribbean clothing, music, crafts, jewelry and international art. The festival is also eco-friendly, with a successful waste policy, bottle recycling program and rewards for trading in your plastic cups. Full lineup and tickets are available now. — Ronnia Cherry

Reggae on the River
Aug 3-6
Garberville, Calif.

Photo: Lee Abel

Reggae on the River is the USA’s longest-running reggae festival, and many would say its best — a fiercely independent Humboldt County, California insitution known for its overnight camping and eclectic, organic vibe. For a bit of ROTR history, check out our 2015 feature, “30 Years of Photos from Reggae on the River.” This year’s edition bring some choice pairings: Walshy Fire and Kabaka Pyramid will team for a joint set while Sly & Robbie will back an all-star cast of reggae females: Cherine Anderson, Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt. Other performers include Slightly Stoopid, J Boog, Assassin, Lutan Fyah, Junior Kelly, Ken Boothe, Culture feat. Kenyatta Hill, and Warrior King. — Desmond Alphonso

Anguilla Summer Festival
Aug 2-13
Anguilla, BWI


Photo: Ravi Lloyd
Where most Caribbean carnivals are all about the road, Anguilla Summer Festival is centered in the sea. Seafaring is a cherished and important part of Anguillan culture and, during the 12-day festival, the island’s maritime heritage is celebrated with boat races and beach parties culminating in August Monday at Sandy Ground. It’s not all about getting wet: There’s also dry fetes like the Flow Soca Rave (formerly Soca Monarch, this event takes place this year on Thursday, Aug. 3) and Soca Relapse (Tuesday, August 8) as well as the Grand Parade of Troupes (Friday, Aug. 11), when masqueraders party their way through The Valley, as Anguilla’s downtown is known. Read more about Anguilla Summer Festival and the island’s boatbuilding past in this article by Ravi Lloyd. — Desmond Alphonso

Caribana (Toronto Caribbean Carnival)
Aug 3-7
Toronto

Summer in Toronto wouldn’t be complete without the sights, sounds and tastes of Toronto Caribbean Carnival, always and more affectionately known as Caribana. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, North America’s largest Caribbean carnival officially kicks off on July 17th. But it ramps up into full gear in the week leading up to the vibrant, soca-filled Grande Parade road march featuring the city’s top mas bands chipping along the city’s Lakeshore avenue; this year falling on Saturday, August 5th. From day fetes, boat cruises and late night bashments to Harbourfront Centre’s Island Soul Festival, Carnival King and Queen & Pan Alive competitions at Lamport Stadium and plenty of impromptu limes and blockos, there is never a shortage of things to get into alongside the million-plus tourists who flock to the city to jump, wave and wine. — Sajae Elder

Boomtown Fair
August 10-13
Winchester, England

This year’s edition of Boomtown Fair boasts the longest list of performers and DJs we have ever seen on a music festival. There’s over 300 acts listed on their official website so far which feels far-reaching given that it’s only a four-day-long fest, but when you realize that there’s 11 different performance areas, or “districts,” at Boomtown, the math starts to add up. Some of the names that caught our attention are as follows: Agent Sasco (with the Dub Akom Band), Big Youth x U Roy (yes, these two deejay pioneers will appear as a duo), Brinsley Forde, Channel One Sound, Carl Craig, Cypress Hill, Dawn Penn, Donae’O, Iba Mahr, Jesse Royal, Jamie Rodigan, Lutan Fyah, M.I.A., Mr Vegas, Protoje, Raging Fyah, Suns of Dub, The Specials, Toots & the Maytals and Ziggy Marley. See the full lineup, buy tickets and explore Boomtown’s 12 districts here. — Desmond Alphonso

Rototom Sunsplash
August 12-19
Benicassim, Spain

Rototom Sunsplash is to Europe what Reggae on the River is to the USA: A long-running festival that wins by staying true to its roots despite growing in size. Originally held in Italy, Rototom retained its loyal following even after crossing the border a few years back, and today it’s celebrated as much for its distinctive culture — art symposiums, sustainability programs, yoga workshops — as it is for its top-notch artist lineups. Like Boomtown Fair, this week-long festival books a lot of talent, which is spread across a variety of numerous themed performance areas (“Dub Academy,” “African Village”). This year’s lineup includes appearances by The Specials, Shaggy, The Wailers, Luciano, Big Youth and U-Roy (in another collaborative set from the two deejay legends), Mad Professor, Aidonia, Bugle, The Heptones, Christopher Martin, Mafia & Fluxy, Seun Kuti, Steel Pulse, Chronixx, Youssou N’Dour, Raging Fyah and Black Roots. — Desmond Alphonso

Spicemas (Grenada Carnival)
August 14-15
St George’s, Grenada

The last Caribbean carnival of the summer, Spicemas on Grenada is known for its J’Ouvert morning Jab Jab Mas, when revelers doused in oil, mud and molasses maraud through the streets with devil horns and chains, to the sounds of conch shells and goat-skin drums. That’s only one facet of Carnival in Grenada, a marathon of events that fuels the summer on the Spice Isle. If getting dirty isn’t your thing, come Carnival Monday there’s also Ole Mas, Pretty (Pageant) Mas, Traditional Mas and Monday Night Mas, when T-shirt bands waving fluorescent wands take over the streets. — Desmond Alphonso

Saint Lucia Food & Rum Festival
Aug. 24-27
Venue TBA, Saint Lucia


Nina Compton photo by Lemar Arceneaux

Saint Lucia’s SOLEIL Festival continues in August with the newly revived Saint Lucia Food & Rum Festival, last held about a decade ago. With Lucian-born, former Top Chef contestant Nina Compton earning accolades and rave reviews for her New Orleans restaurant Compere Lapin, this four-day fest will serve as her homecoming while providing an international platform for Lucian cuisine and flavors. There isn’t too much in the way of specific details on this one yet, but organizers promise food demonstrations, rum and wine tasting and community culinary experiences, along with performances by local artists. — Desmond Alphonso

Notting Hill Carnival
Aug 26-28
London, England


Photo: Lizzy Brown

When you talk about international celebrations of Caribbean culture, none has been more significant than London’s Notting Hill Carnival. For over 50 years, the Notting Hill neighborhood in North London has been a pivotal point in the introduction of Caribbean sounds and flavors into broader British culture, specifically during the late August Bank holiday when the area gives itself over to what has now been recognized as the largest street party in Europe. There’s been a bit of tension in recent years as white Brits and immigrants from other areas like Africa have become a larger presence at Carnival, bringing different music styles and tastes to the streets, but it’s still very much driven by reggae, dancehall and soca, with the UK’s top sound systems taking up their positions along the parade route. — Desmond Alphonso