By Stephanie Korney, Jamaicans.com
Jamaica’s Reggae Sumfest has been included on the list of the 10 best Caribbean festivals compiled by U.S. News and World Report, which has determined that these are the festivals to enjoy in 2023. While the Caribbean always attracts travelers with its exceptional beaches, rainforests, and all-inclusive resort options, some of the best experiences can be had at the cultural festivals that combine revelry with national history.
Reggae Sumfest, promoted as the largest music festival in the Caribbean, has welcomed visitors for some 30 years. Staged each year in mid-July, the festival began as three days marked by local and international music acts and performers. Over time, it has evolved into a week’s worth of celebration featuring two main concert nights that attract music lovers from all over the globe. In 2023, the festival will run from July 16 through 22. In the past, Sumfest has brought in many international artists, but its more recent focus has been to highlight Jamaican talent, which means visitors can expect to enjoy an authentic island experience at the festival.
Visitors who plan to take in the entire week of the festival can participate in seminars and workshops about the music industry, along with beach parties and other events. The country near the festival’s location in Montego Bay provides opportunities to explore some of Jamaica’s best landscapes, including its caves and rivers, but the chief attractions are the outdoor concerts that last until dawn. Concerts on Friday and Saturday, the two main days of the festival, are free to attend, with fans of dancehall partying all night on Friday, and reggae fans doing their own thing on Saturday.
Those planning to attend Reggae Sumfest should be aware that the event is very popular and lodging must be booked in advance to take advantage of the best selection of accommodations and the numerous hotel packages on offer for festival attendees.
The other major Caribbean festivals worth a visit in 2023 according to U.S. News and World Report include St. Kitts Music Festival in St. Kitts & Nevis: June 22-24, 2023; Trinidad and Tobago Carnival in Trinidad & Tobago: Feb. 15-23, 2023; Junkanoo in the Bahamas: Dec. 26, 2022, and Jan. 1, 2023; Saint Lucia Carnival in Saint Lucia: July 12-19, 2023; Crop Over Festival and Kadooment in Barbados: Aug. 7-14, 2023; La Campechada in Puerto Rico: Feb. 18-19, 2023; Antigua Carnival in Antigua and Barbuda: Aug. 1-8, 2023; and Pirates Fest in the Cayman Islands: Mid-October to late November 2023. Caribana is a Caribbean festival held in Toronto, Canada: Aug. 3-7, 2023.