The BVI's Events and Festivals

From full moon parties to culinary festivals, BVI offers excitement year-round

Celebrations allow people to actively participate in geographical histories. Traditions are often passed down for centuries, saying a lot about a culture. Visiting BVI should include attending a festival or celebration in order to truly understand what the culture is about. 

Cultural Celebrations

Virgin Gorda Easter Festival

The easter festival takes place over a long weekend in late March or early April. The island celebrates with a parade that runs through Spanish town. Dancers embellished in sequins carry the spirit of the celebration and costumed stilt walkers representing the spirits of the dead equally entertain. The air fills with the smell and sizzle of Caribbean BBQ flavors accompanied with local drinks like peanut punch and sorrel, and of course music. Vendors sell different types of cuisine, toys for children, and candy. After the parade there is a Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt in Walters Recreation Park.

August Emancipation Festival

Taking place between late July and early August, the Emancipation Festival celebrates the freedom of their ancestors from colonialism. J’ouvert, a large street party, kicks off the celebrations with music, parades, and dancing express their rich cultural history. They also organize Food Fairs showcasing BVI cuisine, gospel and folklore celebrations. Other exciting events known to occur in past celebrations are horse or donkey races, car shows, prince or princess pageants, and tug of war. While these events can be found in several locations, the heart of the event takes place near Carrot Bay, Road Town.

Full Moon Parties

Every month, unless of course there is no full moon, the island goes wild until the early hours of the morning. These celebrations began around 1989 taking place on the beach and have been known to get quite rowdy, staying true to the erratic behavior many people associate with full moons.

 

..a large fireball is placed over the shallows of the beach..

 

Live music fills the air while many visitors partake in drinking a mushroom tea. Many vendors set up around the beach, selling arts and crafts. While these events originally took place at Bomba shack, it was unfortunately destroyed during hurricane Irma. These parties now take place at several venues, mainly on Tortola. At midnight, a large fireball is placed over the shallows of the beach surrounded by hand woven wooden sculptures. 

Culinary Celebrations

BVI Food FETE

This month-long culinary celebration begins in late October. Embracing and honoring the diversity and popularity of BVI cuisine, several food-related events occur, running until mid-November.

Gourmet for A Cause

This is the first food event of the festival; dinner prepared by international top chefs and mixologists takes place on the beach. 

Taste of Tortola 

During the first week of November, this event takes place in Queen Elizabeth II Park. There is a demo kitchen where all chefs present local and international culinary tutorials. Live entertainment, such as music and fireworks, as well as food tastings from the best competitors keep the celebration going. Two competitions take place. During the Fish & Fungi Competition, competitors attempt to create the best version of this national dish for cash prizes. There is also the Mixologist Competition (also available for spectator tasting) celebrating the growing industry of mixology in BVI.

Jost Pork Festival 

During the second week of November, Jost Van Dyke hosts the festival. All featured dishes are centered around pork, embracing the diverse culinary imaginations invloving the ingredient. Several local restaurants participate.

Taste of Virgin Gorda

The last weekend of the month-long festival, Virgin Gorda hosts a more sophisticated evening event, coupled with the sounds of Jazz and artful chef creations. Toad Hall has been known to host the event, featuring top local chefs. You will find a chef cook-off, live music, and photo booths.

Cooper Island Rum Festival

On Sunday, following the Taste of Virgin Gorda festival, lively guests can travel to Cooper Island Beach Club where the host of the party is rum. Skilled mixologists will supply guests with delicious variations of the spirit for a day of lively entertainment.

Sporting Events

Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival

Every year, the regatta takes place during the last week of March. It is the BVI's annual sailing race, taking place in Sir Francis Drake channel. The first 3 days of the event include parties along the coast and a lot of racing at Nanny Cay. After that warm-up event, the next 3 days of non-stop racing take place in the channel. Different divisions compete, such as one-design and bareboat, among others. Outside of racing, the atmosphere is very festival-like. Drinks and food are abundant on land, while dancing and carnival games are offered as other types of entertainment.

Dive BVI Wreck Week

On Virgin Gorda, during mid-May, visitors and locals alike can enjoy the spectacular underwater views, exploring old and new shipwrecks. Reefs full of wildlife are nearby and ready for exploring just as well. While this is an expensive venture, about $895 per person, the trips departs from Spanish Town's Yacht Harbour Marina and includes 12 total dives over a four day period. You get 2 lunches, a farewell dinner, and other extra souvenirs.

Spanish Town Fisherman’s Jamboree

The Fisherman's Jamboree takes place at the same time as the Easter Festival, making this a very lively time for Spanish Town. This deep sea fishing tournament is mainly about seeking out wahoo, but the on-land festival includes music, fresh sea food, and exciting parades.

Highland Spring HiHo Regatta

Every summer, since 1979, windsurfers, yacht racers, and SUP boarders of all expertise levels have come together for the experience of so many like-minded athletes playfully competing in a race. Racing to secluded beaches, this competition is a playful celebration of watersports. Every night, there is a party for spectators and competitors alike.

Music Festivals

BVI Music Festival

Noted to be the biggest music festival on the island, this event takes place every year during the end of May. Located on Cane Garden Bay Beach on Tortola, visitors can enjoy internationally renowned artists of several genres, such as jazz, calypso, reggae, fungi, and rock. The event lasts 3 days, during which guests can dance out all their excitment right on the white sand beach.

Jazz on the Hill

Also in May, you can enjoy the sweet sounds of music while supporting the local St. Mary's School on Virgin Gorda. Not only does this event showcase jazz musicians, but visitors can expect to hear R&B, pop, soul, and gospel as well. Local culinary delights go perfectly with the amazing atmosphere.

 

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