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Antigua Carnival

Typically, Antigua’s Carnival runs from the last weekend in July until the first Tuesday in August.

From July 28 - August 8 2017, all events for the season are held at the Antigua Recreation Grounds, which for many years is known as "Carnival City".

Before Antigua’s Carnival, visitors can expect a series of excitement including many Pre-Carnival Fetes, and the newly rebranded Miss Antigua Barbuda Pageant, formerly hosted as the Queen of Carnival Pageant that take place in June. This Pageant showcases the talent, culture, and intelligence of the beautiful women in Antigua and Barbuda, and also creates an international ambassador for representation in pageants, namely Miss World and Miss Universe.

Antigua’s Carnival is a spectacle of colour, fun, and excitement waiting to unfold. Melodic music with infectious beats and pretty, creative costumes are just a taste of what you can expect. If you are looking for a combined taste of Antigua’s traditional and modern culture, including lots of feting and the biggest street parties for all of the hardcore party goers, as well as a ANTIGUAN festive environment, then Antigua’s Carnival is definitely the festival for you.

The schedule for Antigua’s Carnival is listed below:

Friday – Glow Parade: Opening Ceremony, and Night of Stars A lighted parade through the capital city with lots of glow sticks, and floats. This is followed by the opening ceremony to declare Antigua’s Carnival officially open. Ending the night is a concert comprising of Antigua’s top musicians.


Saturday – T-shirt Mas: A parade through the streets of St. John’s, but, the only requirement is that you must wear a T-shirt. The T-shirt can be modified to suit your style of choice; in fact, ladies have used T-shirts to make dresses, bikinis, rompers, and the fashion list goes on. Even the men have their input in transforming their shirts to modern styles.


Sunday – Jaycees Queen Show: A Queen Show comprising of delegates from across the Caribbean hosted by the JCI Organization.


Monday – Teen Xplosion: This pageant is specifically geared towards the adolescent age-group. It promotes a competitive forum for the schools in Antigua and Barbuda to showcase their best well-rounded performing arts students. The Teen Xplosion Competition, also creates opportunities for the competitors to become role models for their peers and younger individuals. The training that they receive assists tremendously in their educational, performance, elocutionary and social development.


Tuesday – ESCAPE: The All Inclusive Carnival Fete Just as the name suggests, ESCAPE is a newly added fete during the week of Carnival that allows patrons to forget about everything, and focus on having a really good time. Sounds of music from all genres will simply captivate your mind, and as the name suggests “All Inclusive” allows you to have the ultimate Carnival experience – rum, music, dancing, friends, fun….the ultimate ESCAPE!


Wednesday – Wadadli Jam Band Face Off: In the Caribbean, Jam Bands truly allow us to depict our cultural affection for our style of music – it’s something about the rhythm. Hence, we created an event that will highlight only Jam Bands! Bands from across the island, and the region, play their sweet songs to entice the crowd, each trying to give the crowd the best “Jam” of the night.


Thursday – Junior Carnival: This day has been designated to highlight the youths across the nation. From the Junior Carnival Parade through the streets with children and teens fully decked in creative costumes, to the Junior Calypso and Junior Party Monarch Competitions. The artistry of our local writers and musicians are transferred to our talented youth. This expression in calypso is creatively and competitively displayed on stage. The Junior Calypso and Party Monarch competitions are pathways for those who wish to advance in the adult arena. The youths are the future of Antigua’s Carnival.


Friday – Panorama: Intense rivalry exists between the steel bands, who compete annually for the title of ‘Panorama Champion’, and over the years, this show has gained massive public interest. On this night, recently adapted as a Cooler event, all of the Pan groups will battle, arrangers will put their best work forward to captivate the crowd, and the judges with the melodic sounds of the steel pan.


Saturday – Party Monarch: Dubbed as the biggest event of the Carnival season, also known as Bacchanal (Ba-Ka-Nal) Saturday, with crowds as large as 16,000 people is definitely the premier event. Party songs energize this audience, and nowhere else is this more evident than at the Party Monarch Finals. On the night of the event, Soca Gods and Goddesses engage in not one but two battles royal. An electrifying bolt of musical energy takes over as Groovy and Jumpy performances take centre stage.


Sunday – Calypso Monarch: Calypso in its various genres has been our main stay for Carnival since the inception of the art form. Our calypso music reverberates with its stinging lyrical content and varied musical rhythms. It is the heartbeat of humanity that is the undeniable reflection of our African history and cultural heritage. The long established high standards of the Calypso Monarch Competition are at the pinnacle of Antigua’s Carnival. It is an intoxicating rivalry that infiltrates the very audience that it reaches.


Monday – J’ouvert: Before the break of dawn from as early as 3am, revelers can be seen jumping and jamming through the streets of the capital city, St. John’s. This commemorates the emancipation of slaves when slavery was abolished in the Antigua. J’ouvert Morning brings out the ultimate party atmosphere that cannot be found anywhere else in the world but on the streets of St. John’s.


Carnival Monday: Judging of the Troupes and Groups.In the afternoon, continuing on the act of emancipation, mas troupes and groups can be seen parading, some in costumes, and others in “Monday Wear” outfits jumping and jamming to the hit songs from Antigua and across the region.


Tuesday – Carnival Tuesday: Parade of the Troupes and Groups. On the final leg of the Carnival season, all of the troupes and groups in Antigua will assemble for the spectacle of a lifetime. This colourful parade displays all of the creative, flamboyant costumes, and everything else that speaks of Antigua’s Carnival. Thousands of participants wait annually to be a part of the magnificence, and even more spectators stand on the sidelines to watch the splendour unfold. Last Lap What do you do when you’ve waited 365 for the Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival and it’s about to come to an end? Well, in Antigua, we take one “LAST jump-up” before we pack away our Carnival behaviour. Last Lap is the last event for the Carnival season, and at this point we know that Carnival is about to conclude, so it’s mandatory that we soak up the music, the fun, and the revelry because at the stroke of midnight, Carnival is officially over!

Yes, although some events are for ages 18 and over, in our Carnival lineup we have designated days that are geared specifically to the juniors, and they can also take part in the parades if standing on the sidelines isn’t exciting enough.

Tickets can be purchased prior to the show at the various ticket booths across the island, and of course, from the ticket box office at Carnival City. With the emergence of e-commerce, plans are currently underway to facilitate online ticket purchases.

Mas is an important part of Antigua’s Carnival, and we provide interested masqueraders with contact information for all Mas troupes on our Carnival website and social media pages.

During the months of July and August when Antigua’s Carnival is held, based on arrival figures, most visitors come from US, UK and neigbouring Caribbean islands.

Antigua is a well-known tourist destination with daily international flights from all over the world. To get further information on travel packages, please contact the Antigua Hotels & Tourist Association. Information below:


PO Box 454, Island House, Newgate Street, St. John’s, Antigua

Phone: (268) 462 0374 / 462 3703

Fax: (268) 462 3702

E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Carnival enthusiasts and potential visitors can visit our various sites to access more information on Antigua’s Carnival. Please see below for complete listing:

Website: or
Facebook: Search “Antigua Carnival” or “Antigua and Barbuda Festivals Commission”
Instagram: @abfestivalscommission
Twitter: @antiguacarnival

July 28 - Glow Parade and Opening Concert
July 29 - T-Shirt Mas
July 30 - Jaycees Caribbean Queen Show
July 31 - Teen Splash
Aug 1 - Calypso Classic 
Aug 2 - Caribbean Melting Pot
Aug 3 - Junior Carnival, Jr Calypso Monarch, Jr Party Monarch 
Aug 4 - Panorama
Aug 5 - Party Monarch
Aug 6 - Calypso Monarch
Aug 7 - Jouvert; Judging of the Bands (Monday Mas)
Aug 8 - Parade of the Bands and Last Lap
Th Glow Parade, which takes place in the evening features beautifully decorated, and colourful floats, all lighting up the night sky, depicting a particular piece of our nation’s culture.  
The T-shirt Mas parade has evolved to one of the most anticipated parades for the Carnival Season. With over 15,000 revelers jumping through the streets of St. John’s for this energetic parade, this year will be no different from any other of our successful years. In fact, over twenty T-shirt Mas Bands tend to participate in this parade with mas players showcasing their creativity by wearing original and decorative T-shirt designs.
By hosting the Teen Splash, Junior Carnival,  Junior Calypso Monarch and Junior Party Monarch Competitions, this is our way of showcasing the future of Antigua & Barbuda. We are delighted with the record numbers reached with the level of participation by the youths. We are extremely delighted to celebrate and enjoy Carnival with our future stars.
The Calypso Classic and  Caribbean Melting Pot Concerts  definitely add extra flare to our Summer Festival. For many years, we have extended invitations to our Local, Regional, and International artistes to join us in the celebration and give our patrons the ultimate feeling of GREATNESS!
Panorama, Party Monarch, and Beer Calypso Monarch, wrap up the weekend of excitement. From Friday to Sunday, it's nonstop action and nonstop fun. Pan enthusiasts will flood the gates of Carnival City to witness  Steel Orchestras battle for the Panorama Title and of course, bragging rights.
Groovy and Jumpy Soca enthusiasts will be up front and center for the biggest show, Party Monarch Competition, also known as “Bachannal Saturday”.   With record numbers as high as 14,000 spectators,each year artistes dance, prance, and cause a “Scene” across the stage as they work to dethrone the reigning monarchs.
The Calypso Monarch is a clear visual that Calypso, or rather, “Kaiso” is still alive! The artistes sing their way in an attempt to snatch the crown and be the MONARCH of them all.
From 3pm to 10am on Monday, we celebrate emancipation the “Antiguan Style”. Jamming through the streets of St. John’s from dusk, dressed in crazy attires, mud, paint, water, powder, or anything that you can find is the modern way or rather the evolution of what our forefathers did to celebrate the abolition of slavery.
Carnival Monday and Tuesday are both continuing parades of freedom. On both days, revelers are dressed in costumes both traditional and modern style party mas. Feathers, Beads, Gems, Glitter, and all the other attractive components make up the colourful troupes that parade through the city.
The least anticipated event for Carnival begins at 7pm on Carnival Tuesday and at the stroke of midnight, we turn off the lights on Antigua’s Carnival. Last Lap is the last few hours that true Carnival fanatics have to really give it their all and get one last “Jump Up” before they wait another 365 days to have some summer fun.  


On August 1st 1834, thousands of newly freed slaves paraded the streets to celebrate their freedom as the British Empire Atlantic Slave Trade was abolished. Carnival, therefore, was designed to commemorate the emancipation of slavery, and years later has emerged into a great spectacle of fun, frolic, and creativity. Many islands across the Caribbean region celebrate Carnival, but only one island has been able to merge its traditional and modern festivities, and dub it ‘The Caribbean’s Greatest Summer Festival’. As the tag line suggests, Antigua’s Carnival is held every summer and is highly anticipated by both residents and visitors since its inception in 1957. In comparison to other islands, Antigua’s Carnival is definitely unique, and recognized worldwide for its display of arts, culture, music, revelry, and so much more.
Last year's theme, "Experience Greatness" was the simplest way of describing what patrons and visitors could expect of Antigua’s Carnival 2016. This year, dubbed as the 60th Anniversary, promises to surprise, and entice all patrons, hence, for this year, the theme "Celebrate Greatness", is an invitation to join in the Celebration of the Greatest Summer Festival. A display of creative talents and skills that burst into a kaleidoscope of colour and entertainment, leaving no room for dull moments. From nights of elegant pageantry, to the rhythmic sound of the steel pan or iron band, visitors and residents alike are trapped in a frenzy affirming their cultural gratification at the end of the festivities. For 12 consecutive days, each night promises to bring nothing but back-to-back GREATNESS.


Antigua's Carnival, the Caribbean's Greatest Summer Festival.

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2nd Floor, Pigotts Mall, St. John's. Antigua W.I. (268) 462-0194 / (268) 462-4707

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