Summer is officially here! Sun is shining, the weather is sweet – too sweet, not to be outside basking in the warm air. After spring gently breezes away, summer enters, bringing with it a wave of fun, outdoor events that capture the very essence of summer itself. Whether it’s just a weekend to relax with family, hang out with friends while listening to some of the best tunes, or party all day well into the starry, summer night. No matter what your preference, the summer holds an event especially for you. Here are the summer events we’re most excited about – in the Caribbean and across the Diaspora.

Reggae Sumfest

Where: Jamaica
When: July 12-18
Why: The largest concert festival in Jamaica, occurs annually in Montego Bay. It is quite possibly the best place to experience music. It is mixed with musical performances by reggae and hip-hop artists and plenty of Red Stripe, who is one of the official sponsors of this major event. This is the perfect place to discover new music and a good time.

Caribbean Food Week

Where: London
When: August 24-31
Why: Officially launched in 2012, Caribbean Food Week is organized by Grace Foods UK and is any foodie’s dream. The event has to be one of the most mouth-watering events of the season, and precedes the Notting Hill Carnival (8/29 – 8/31). The week offers countless recipes and simple ways to add Caribbean flavor to any meal.

BVI Summer Sizzle

Where: Tortola
When: July 23-27
Why: All things fashionable and glamourous can be found packed into the four days of Summer Sizzle BVI. The weekend boasts beautiful models, creative designers, and chic parties all in the sun-filled, blue ocean isles of the BVI. This year will mark eight years since the inaugural event, and will include a fashion show and tons of stars including Empire stars, Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett.

Antigua Carnival 2015

Where: Antigua
When: July 25-August 4
Why: Some centuries ago in August, when slavery was abolished people celebrated their freedom in the streets. It was with this spirit of independence that Antigua’s Carnival was organized. Since that time, the festival has morphed into ten days of continuous music, lively dancing, pageants, and road marches. It is held annually during the last week of July into the first week of August.

Carifesta XII

Where: Haiti
When: August 21 – 30
Why: It celebrates the arts from across the Caribbean region, while incorporating relevant social issues that are affecting the area. There will be several different events that capture and discuss the diversity of Caribbean arts and culture, including the Symposium: The Caribbean, A Collective Memory. Carifesta heavily involves the youth in the discussions of Caribbean culture, lifestyle, and various ways to promote and celebrate its diversity.

Curacao North Sea Jazz Festival (NSJF)

Where: Curacao
When: September 3 – 5
Why: It promises moonlight magic! The Caribbean is known for its many jazz festivals, that are held throughout the year, this one is no different. Based on the annual NSJF held in the Netherlands, the festival offers a wide range of musical styles and artists. This year the three day event will include performances from Enrique Iglesias, Emeli Sande, Cassandra Wilson, and Usher.

West Indian Day Parade Carnival

Where: New York
When: September 7
Why: One of the largest events of the Diaspora and is organized by the West Indian American Day Carnival Association (WIADCA), Inc. Though the Association has events that highlight and promote Caribbean “culture, arts, history, and traditions”, the festivities all culminate in the Parade. The event welcomes compas, soca, and reggae artists to perform and participate in the revelry.

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