Major Events

Music, movies, theater, literature … Here is a quick overview of the main events taking place on the island throughout the year, some of which might affect your choice of vacation dates.

The first event which kicks off the season is also the oldest. Since 1984 the St Barts Music Festival in early January has played host to a symphony orchestra bringing together mainly lead instrumentalists from different symphony orchestras under the baton of a world-famous conductor, usually Richard Buckley. The result is an exceptionally high-quality festival, which has a uniquely friendly atmosphere.

Books are also very much to the fore on St Barts. A whole week is devoted to books every year in mid April during the Book Festival, when there is an opportunity to meet local and international authors and also to swap books at the Book Exchange.

This is followed in late April by the St Barth Film Festival devoted to Caribbean cinema. It offers the opportunity to explore the Caribbean through open-air film screenings on the beach on a giant inflatable screen. The warmth of the meetings between audience, actors and directors make this a popular event with movie-lovers. It should be noted that the films are all screened in the original French version or subtitled in French.

When the curtain falls on the film festival, it rises again at the start of May on the St Barth Theater Festival. This festival has grown continuously since 2002. In tandem with productions by the local theater company SB Artists, it also welcomes celebrities such as Clémence Massart, Jean-Jacques Vanier, Arthur Jugnot, etc.

August brings the brand new SB Jam Music Festival. This major festival of Caribbean music offers you the chance to discover the best music of its kind over four days with performances by groups from all the surrounding islands - from Cuba to Haiti, including Martinique and Guadeloupe. This is an opportunity to discover Zouk Chouv, Compass and Zouk Metal, as well as more traditional music.

Finally there are the local village parties which take place on St Barts throughout the summer, which is the best time for exploring and enjoying the island in other respects.

Sailing enthusiasts also have their major events in St Barts. The famous St Barth Bucket Race attracts about thirty of the biggest and most beautiful sailing ships in the world to St Barts in March.

Comparable in many ways in terms of the prestige and size of the boats and crews is the New Eve Regatta, which attracts a huge fleet of large sailing ships for a regatta around the island on 1st January. Although this is a friendly gathering, it is still hotly contested, much to the delight of the spectators.

Every two years, St Barts also plays host to the more competitive and professional Transat AG2R two-man transatlantic race from Concarneau in Brittany to the island. The distinctive feature of this evenly matched transatlantic race is that it is held using absolutely identical 9 meter single-hulled Figaro Bénéteau boats. The arrival of the competitors creates great excitement on the quays of Gustavia, where hundreds of spectators are waiting. This was especially true in 2008 as two crews made up of sailors from the island were taking part and came second and third. However, the next event will not take place until 2010.

Throughout the year, highly unstable traditional craft are raced in Boulines, to the delight of sailing enthusiasts. About ten crews compete fiercely in regattas, providing spectators with a great show which seems to combine dance with sailing.

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