St Vincent and the Grenadines has a mixture of traditional and modern festivities to reflect the island culture. The population celebrates their island heritage in a major boat race held every year at the Bequia Easter Regatta. The country shows off its Caribbean association in the annual Carnival known as the Vincy Mas. Traditional culture is demonstrated in the Nine Days Christmas celebrations, and the Mustique Blues Festival is a good example of a contemporary music festival in effect.
Mustique Blues Festival
This St Vincent festival is the brainchild of London blues singer Dana Gillespie, and has been running since 1996. It is held over two weeks in January and February on the island of Mustique, although it does visit the island of Bequia for one night in the middle of festival. Since its inception it has been growing in popularity, and is a great place to hear some blues and roots music.
Bequia Easter Regatta
This five-day boat race takes place over Easter on the island of Bequia. It attracts many international professional and amateur sailors who compete in the Caribbean Sea surrounding the island. It is quite a spectacle to watch, and the final day sees huge celebrations going into the night.
This is a typical Caribbean festival filled with parades and pageants, and dancing and music at street parties. It is held over two weeks at the end of June, and the beginning of July annually, and is St Vincent’s most well-known festival.
National Dance Festival
Many performances are held during the month of September to showcase traditional and other dance styles. Shows are put on by schools, community groups and professional dance companies. You can expect to see modern, traditional, creative folk and ballroom dances.
This is held on October 27 every year to celebrate the formation of St Vincent and the Grenadines as a sovereign nation in 1979. Many people are proud of this and use the public holiday to celebrate in public at community events.
Nine Days Festival
As the name may suggest, this festival is held over nine mornings, in the run-up to Christmas Day. It reflects an indigenous culture mixed with Christianity, and is unique to St Vincent and the Grenadines. You will be reminded exactly of where you are as you are woken to the uplifting sounds of traditional steel pan music played at pre-dawn street concerts. Later in the day fêtes and fairs are held in towns and villages around the islands.