Though Carnival in Trinidad tends to take precedence in the T&T festival calendar, Tobago more than holds its own in terms of celebrations, and even if your visit doesn’t coincide with some of the bigger events, there’s almost always a beach party or fete to liven things up. Of the annual festivals, August means Great Race, when a flotilla of high-powered speedboats compete to be the first to cross the waters between the two islands. This being T&T, there’s more concentration on partying than maritime action: the whole shebang kicks off with the massive Great Fete outdoor party and stageshow at Pigeon Point, and on race day itself, huge crowds gather at the Store Bay finish line, all the while entertained by blaring soca, rhythm sections, pan bands and copious quantities of rum and beer. A similar scene unravels at the annual round of fishermen’s festivals, which celebrate patron of the trade St Peter by way of friendly beach parties at Castara and Charlotteville: vats of pacro water (shellfish soup) simmer and stacks of speakers get everyone in the mood for dancing. For something gentler, you might check out the Harvest Festivals held in the island’s villages throughout the year, which feature folk singing and dancing, heaps of “blue food” such as dasheen and tannia, and a friendly, community vibe. But the most hyped event on the island these days is the Tobago Jazz Festival, held between April and June by the sea at Plymouth and featuring international acts alongside the best of local talent – past performers include Diana Ross, Elton John, Sting, Emile Sandé, Erykah Badu, John Legend and, of course, T&T’s own Machel Montano.

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