As an island known for its vibrant tropical energy and diverse entertainment options, Aruba is one of the best destinations in the Caribbean to experience live music. The capital city of Oranjestad is known as a hotbed for Caribbean jazz and Latin music, as numerous clubs and concert halls host live bands throughout the year. Even outside the main tourist areas of Oranjestad, live music can be heard in restaurants and on the beaches. The island is also home to major music festivals, the Aruba Soul Beach Music Festival, an annual event held each May that features internationally renowned soul and R&B artists, and the Aruba Music Festival, a two-day festival that gives welcome to best-selling classics. rock bands, emerging superstars and lesser-known regional artists. While events like the Aruba Music Festival are staged all over the world, few festivals can boast such a unique combination of big-city entertainment and a welcoming Caribbean vibe.
Although only in its eighth official season, the Aruba Music Festival has already attracted an incredible array of top-selling artists. Before becoming the Aruba Music Festival, the event was known as the Aruba Jazz and Latin Festival. Developed in the 1980s to showcase the rich musical tradition of the Caribbean region, the Aruba Jazz and Latin Music Festival was expanded and renamed in 2002. Although the Aruba Music Festival was created as a way Presenting the best international tours, the festival has stayed true to its roots and continues to offer performances by Latin and jazz artists from throughout the Caribbean region.
While this year’s festival lineup has yet to be announced, the event is sure to feature famous classic rock acts, as well as many up-and-coming local, regional and international artists. In recent years, headline acts at the Aruba Music Festival have included well-known classic rock bands like Chicago, The Doobie Brothers, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Queen, and Crosby Stills and Nash. The festival has also attracted a number of internationally renowned singer-songwriters including Lionel Richie, Jackson Browne and contemporary favourite, John Mayer. Before the headliners take the stage each day at the Aruba Music Festival, the side stage heats up with a diverse variety of musical styles, most provided by groups specializing in dance-friendly Caribbean genres.
The Aruba Music Festival takes place each year in Aruba’s state-of-the-art Entertainment Center. The spacious open-air venue allows concertgoers to enjoy the cool evening weather in a picturesque setting located just a five-minute drive from downtown Oranjestad and a fifteen-minute drive from the island’s hotel zone. The Aruba Entertainment Center offers superior acoustics and the open yet intimate design ensures that all concertgoers have great views of the main stage. The venue features a grand general entrance and open grassy areas that allow concertgoers to stretch out on blankets and enjoy a relaxing picnic-like experience, while those who prefer reserved seating will find great views near the stage. Behind the seating areas, various concession stands serve food and drinks, including local beers and snacks.
As the Aruba Music Festival takes place just before the start of the peak tourist season, budget-conscious travelers visiting the island before the winter holidays have an excellent opportunity to experience the vibrant music scene of the island. Tourists visiting Aruba during the fall season will also be assured of excellent weather, as the island lies outside of the storm belt that affects many Caribbean islands.
The Aruba Music Festival will take place this year on the weekend of October 9-10. After this year’s main event schedule is developed, updates on the festival can be found on the official Aruba tourism website (www.aruba.com). As the schedule will be featured prominently in local travel publications, travelers can also contact their resort for more details about the festival.