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Antigua Carnival

"the greatest vehicle of expression"

Antigua’s Carnival is often described as the Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival.  With an explosion of artistic and cultural talent, music, steelbands and calypso, the streets come alive with parades, music bands, and troupes with a multitude of masqueraders in colourful costumes.  Held during the last week of July, and culminating on the first Monday and Tuesday of August, the event attracts locals and visitors alike. 

This is a thirteen-day festival of colorful costumes, beauty pageants, talent shows, and especially good music. The festivities, which celebrate emancipation, range from the Party Monarch and Calypso Monarch competitions of Calypsonians, the Panorama steel band competition, and the spectacular Parade of Bands to the Queen of Carnival Pageant, Mr and Mrs Teenage Pageant and the Jaycees Queen’s Competition. In addition to these major events, the nonstop revelry of this thirteen-day of carnival includes innumerable smaller festivities, local concerts, food fairs and cultural shows.

For the history of the festival you have to step back in time to 1 August 1834 when slavery was abolished.

The Antiguan Carnival is a celebration of music and dance held annually from the end of July to the first Tuesday in August. The most important day is that of the j’ouvert, in which brass and steel bands perform for much of the island’s population.