Tobago Festivals: Top Picks

Tobago festivals
Oswin Browne

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Tobago's exciting festival calendar is such a mix of classic events and new additions. Go to Tobago's tourism calendar for the latest dates and info. Below are editors' picks of just some of the great festival events.

Tobago Jazz Experience
Held in April, this annual musi festival lights up Tobago in venues around the island. The 2012 Jazz Experience include singer Angie Stone, saxophonist Arturo Tappin and more. "Jazz on the Beach," "Jazz on the Hill," "Jazz on the Waterfront" -- pick which corner of Tobago you want to hear jazz, and you'll be more relaxed than you thought possible. As king of soca Machel Montano says, "We have soca artists bringing the Carnival energy, along with international ones doing R&B, and Tobago chill-out vibes. You can rock out all night and relax on the beach all day. It's perfection."

Tobago Heritage Festival
Really get a sense of the rich history of Tobago during this event, held in July. Events happen in villages across the island. In the village of Culloden, hear the tale of the African witch Gang Gang Sarah, who had been able to fly -- until she ate too much salt. See the "reel and jig" dance performed, and start moving to the beat yourself. In music performances, listen to the signature fiddle and tambourine being played as Tobago's Speech Bands recount the oral history of the island, along with a "Drag yuh bow, Mr. Fiddler!" shout-out.

Buccoo Goat Race Festival
Like no other event, this festival will have you telling stories to your friends back home. On the Tuesday after Easter, many of the people of Tobago -- and lucky travelers -- head to the westside village of Buccoo to watch goat races. There's even a new $16 million "goat-drome" with a 100-meter grass track. How fast will a goat run for a purse of $400? There's only one way to find out.

Tobago Underwater Carnival
This event -- held July 22-29 in 2012 -- celebrates all things dive in Tobago. Scuba divers love this total immersion, from the daily dive offerings to the photography and marine biology workshops and all of the gear demonstrations.

**Tobago Carnival Regatta
**In February as part of Festival of Wind, this regatta features a variety of competitors: windsurfers, kiteboarders, homemade wooden "bum boats," plus kids literally learning the ropes as they try to get their sea legs.