Tobago Fest

Enjoyed Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago so much that you can't wait to come again next year?  Well, here's some good news - you don't have to wait until then!  The beautiful island of Tobago celebrates a mini-Carnival in September.

'Tobago Fest', as this mini-Carnival is known, with its new-style 'mas', is just what the name suggests - a smaller version of Trinidad Carnival.  While Trinidad's 'Greatest Show on Earth' takes place religiously every year on the Monday and Tuesday prior to Ash Wednesday, 'Tobago Fest' offers masqueraders the opportunity to enjoy the revelry at another time of the year - with a distinctly Tobagonian flavour the second time around.

Popular masquerade bands from Trinidad travel across to the sister-isle to participate in both the main event as well as the host of other activities on the agenda - including 'night mas' (which gives you a chance to 'jump up' in the cool evening breeze under the starlit sky), a queen and talent show, steelband competitions, calypso shows and street parties.

But the 'new' has not completely replaced the 'old'.  The 'Tobago Fest' celebrations borrows strongly from the traditional celebration of Carnival - it is not uncommon to see some of these charming attractions:

  • Speech Bands (roving, singing bands that carry greetings, news of the day or jokes from house to house, in local dialect mixed with exaggerated Scottish or English accents)
  • Tobago Bands (masquerade bands dressed in gaudy, extravagant regalia depicting royalty and genteel folk)

These quaint and quirky elements have long been an integral, fun part of our cultural landscape - and have now become popular features at this mid-September celebration of life!