Vincy Mas -- St. Vincent's take on Carnival -- has become one of the hottest parties in the Caribbean: some say it even rivals Carnival in Trinidad. Vincy Mas is certainly the biggest event on the SVG calendar, but this archepealgo nation also hosts some world-famous music festivals, a unique Christmas celebration, and one of the great Caribbean boating events.
© St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority
St. Vincent's Vincy Mas has all of the classic elements of Carnival in the Caribbean: eye-popping costumes, ear-pleasing calypso, steel-pan, and soca music, body-pumping street parties, and of course the joyous parades of J'Ouvert and Mardi Gras. If you missed out on the traditional pre-Easter carnivals, Vincy Mas is your best chance for redemption -- it starts in May and runs through July.
© Basil's Bar, Mustique
Basil's Bar is one of the most famous beach bars in the Caribbean, known as much for its celebrity clientele as its idyllic locale on the posh Grenadines island of Mustique. It's normally a pretty laid-back place, but each winter since 1995, Basil's has hosted a beachfront blues festival that includes a sunset concert on a Sunday night and features with a week of performances from artists like Dana Gillespie and the London Blues Band. The Mustique Blues Festival typically begins the last week of January.
© TooFarNorth via Flickr
The island of Bequia
is known as a yachties' paradise, and never more so than during the annual Bequia Easter Regatta, which attracts boaters from all over the world. For more than three decades, yachts and "double enders" constructed by Bequia's renowned local boatmakers compete in a series of races during the five-day regatta. The boat crews compete for special teak trophies, while island visitors can join in the parties and bring home one of Bequia's famous model boats as an unforgettable souvenir.
Held in conjunction with the Mustique Blues Festival, the Bequia Music Festival features many of the same blues performers plus a diverse array of musical styles, from steel-pan bands to jazz, rock and reggae acts.
Nine Mornings Christmas FestivalNine Mornings may be a few days short of the 12 Days of Christmas, but surely shines brighter in terms of authentic holiday spirit. Nine days before Christmas, Vincentians take to the streets in Kingston and other communities starting in the wee hours of the morning for a celebration that includes parades, bike riding, sea baths, a caroling contest -- and of course some late-night partying to end the day.
Tiny Union Island gets its party on each spring with Easterval, a wide-ranging celebration that includes music, sports, food events, a beauty pageant, boat races, Carnival and J'Ouvert parades, and a star turn by the Easter Bunny. What started as an informal gathering more than four decades ago now gets the whole island involved, not to mention visitors from away.