If you haven’t heard of soca music by now, you’re about to get a full dose of it in 2020 and beyond! This electrifying genre of music can be described as “jump-up music.” It combines East Indian and African rhythms with calypso to formulate a high-powered music, often considered to be the driving force behind every Caribbean carnival celebration. Now that soca is becoming a more recognizable genre of music outside of the Caribbean, a flurry of events and experiences are being created year after year to meet the growing love, appreciation and demand for its sweet, hypnotic sound.
If you’re looking to get on bad and immerse yourself in the sound of the islands, then these seven soca filled events are a must for your 2020 party list.
February 20 – February 26, 2020
Photo Credit: @siriandavis_
“The Mother of all West Indian Carnivals” is one way to describe Trinidad Carnival. It is often featured on travel bucket lists as an experience to have at least once in your lifetime. All-inclusive fetes (also known as parties), boat rides, cooler fetes, j’ouvert and pretty mas on the road for Carnival Monday and Tuesday are a small sampling of things happening during Trinidad Carnival. Carnival goers should plan to attend the bacchanal for at least a week, starting from February 20th – February 26th, 2020. Why You Should Attend: With nonstop partying fueled by intoxicating soca music and a surge of energy that cannot be described, Trinidad Carnival is a soca experience that you have to see to believe. Regardless of the countless stories you hear or videos you see, it won’t compare to being in the midst of the action as it takes place.
Cayman Carnival Batabano
May 7–10, 2020
Photo Credit: @thetomogram
A vibrant festival offering two weekends of color, soca, and togetherness, Cayman Carnival Batabano takes place in May each year on Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. The festival’s name, ‘Batabano’, is a salute to the island’s turtling heritage and refers to the tracks left in the sand by sea turtles as they crawl onto the beach to nest. Finding these tracks was – and still is – a reason to celebrate. Why You Should Attend: Cayman Carnival Batabano has a distinct flavor as the islands are home to a melting pot of over 120 nationalities and is one of the few carnivals that provide million-dollar views like the world famous Seven Mile Beach.
Ibiza Soca Festival
May 8–11, 2020
Photo Credit: Ibiza Soca Festival
Sun, sand, sea and soca are the main components that make Ibiza Soca Festival a must in 2019. The best of Caribbean culture coupled with the biggest internationally renowned soca artists and DJs descend onto the party capital of the world – Ibiza, Spain. From pool parties and wet fetes to the carnivalesque Circo de Soca affair, Ibiza Soca Festival is quickly becoming a soca filled event people will be clawing to get into. Why You Should Attend: The beauty of Ibiza Soca Festival is seeing the various countries around the world representing the love of soca music from France to Switzerland to Germany to Netherlands.
Dubai Soca Fest
June 4–8, 2020
Photo Credit: Dubai Soca Fest
Enjoy 5 days and 4 nights of soca, sun and luxury in Dubai! What better way to combine a travel bucket list destination than with the thumping vibrations of soca music? It’s everything you love about Caribbean Carnival like day fetes, night fetes, all-inclusive events and boat rides combined with the luxury and lavish splendor of the futuristic city of Dubai. Why You Should Attend: Almost any person bit by the wanderlust bug has Dubai on their travel bucket list. Dubai Soca Fest allows attendees to see firsthand the world’s biggest, tallest, most daring, most expensive, most lavish places and things all while catching the best vibes with soca music as the soundtrack to this experience.
Hookie DC Weekend
June 25–39, 2020
Photo Credit: Hookie DC/Kid Mix Photography
Hookie DC Weekend is the only carnival experience in the Washington, D.C. metro area. With an outdoor pool party, a full-scale j’ouvert and their version of pretty mas, soca’s best DJs and artists drive this event in its 10th year. Why You Should Attend: The Hookie Life team has captured the essence of the Caribbean Carnival experience and transplanted it to our Nations Capitol. It offers a sample to those of Caribbean descent who aren’t able to attend carnival in their native islands while simultaneously showcasing the rich, Caribbean culture to local residents in the DC area.
Barbados Crop Over Festival
July 29 – August 4, 2020
Photo Credit: Carnival Jumpers
Barbados Crop Over Festival dates as far back as the 1780s to celebrate the end of the successful sugar harvest season. Today, the festival celebrates everything Bajan with dusk-til-dawn parties, arts and crafts markets and culinary-driven street fares steeped in sweet soca & calypso music. All roads lead to the grand finale on the first Monday in August – Grand Kadooment Day! This grandiose parade takes place along Spring Garden Highway in Bridgetown, the island’s capital. It’s when large masquerade bands dance and jump up in the streets with revelers donning vibrant costumes designed with feathers, jewels and beads. Why You Should Attend: Barbados Crop Over Festival is the perfect introduction to carnival celebration in the Caribbean because it’s easy to plan, budget friendly and held in a stunning location. Check out Carnival Jumpers for packages that include everything from airport pick-ups and accommodations to costumes and fete tickets.
Ubersoca Cruise 2020
November 2020 TBD
Photo Credit: @lionelwhytephotography
Ubersoca Cruise is an experience beyond the music. It combines sweet soca music with the essence of Caribbean Carnival. Add in amazing people from all over the world and on board events geared towards the love of soca and it makes this soca filled event a must for anyone who enjoys soca music. Almost everyone and everything associated with a Caribbean Carnival sails on the Ubersoca Cruise. Enjoy live artist performances and nonstop after parties to comedy shows, a beach j’ouvert and a Wakanda-style ball. Why You Should Attend: Regardless of your connection to soca music, everyone becomes part of the Ubersoca Cruise family in the end and soca music will officially become the soundtrack to your life.