live stage outdoor show at havana jazz festival casa de la cultura

Cuba and its capital Havana has been renowned for being one of the premier musical hotspots of the world. After all, you can see it, hear it and feel it everywhere. From narrow alleys and balconies to blasting speakers from cars to hottest venues and dance floors. But just because we can see it anywhere and everywhere, doesn‘t mean we should ignore a wonderful opportunity to explore particular festivals in Havana. Not only they are unique to each other and are rich in variety, but they offer the best of Cuban music with a spice of international twist as well. We invite to explore our list of top 5 most popular music festivals in Havana where everyone is bound to find something they prefer and admire!


1. Havana Jazz Plaza – Havana’s Annual Jazz Festival

We simply have to start with a jazz festival. After all, we are talking about Cuba! Havana International Jazz Plaza Festival is one of the most important music events in the country.

Festival dates back to 1980 to its first gig. And over the years it became nothing short of a premium jazz experience in Havana and all of Cuba. Performances from such artists as Telmary, Joe Lovano, Interactivo, Alain Perez and others only testifies it.

It is all about diversity in artistic expression, inter influence between different music scenes and a strong presence of international music. Attending the Havana Jazz Plaza Festival will allow you to truly feel that pulse of music that Cuba is known for!


2. Havana World Music Festival

The festival pulses right in the heart of Havana with a profound link to musical culture and heritage. A celebration and showcase of talent from both Cuba and around the world.

What sets the festival apart the most is the broad spectrum of musical genres available to soak up. From hip-hop, folk and jazz to acoustic, reggae, electronic music and more! Havana World Music Festival ensures that everyone will find their moment of groove! In addition to all of this, you‘ll also be able to witness dazzling street art, dance performances and other forms of creativity exploding.

To sum it up, the award-winning Cuban artist said it best about the festival: „The focus of HWM is to give the Cuban people the chance to become acquainted with the musical diversity of Cuba and the world, as well as to encourage exchanges among international and Cuban bands. This can be very beneficial to the musicians, producers and music promoters in our country“

3. Fiesta del Tambor – Havana’s Annual Percussion Festival

Let‘s shift our focus to the drums! Fiesta del Tambor offers a wonderful chance for percussion enthusiasts to attend the biggest drum party on the island.

Featuring some of the best percussionists, drummers and musicians, both international and local, the festival is now operating for more than 15 years and organized by the National Center for Popular Music.

Greatest percussionists and drummers are accompanied by Cuban dance music bands, various dance groups, folklore jazz compositions, and even Drum masterclasses and cultural events. A festival is rich in every aspect of heritage, art, and music.

4. International Salsa Festival

Just as we turned the tides towards drumming, we are now going to put some emphasis on dancing. A form of expression that has been around since 3300 BC!

The festival offers a 7-day adventure with over 100 hours of dance classes with different levels and styles to choose from. Whether its Cuban Casino, Cha Cha Cha, Reggaeton or Rumba with many more available. And once the sun sets, the party will set Cuban salsa clubs on fire!

Capture the very best of Cuban dance and share your love for music and dancing with thousands of enthusiasts, performers, instructors that are bonded by a passion for something rather simple – dancing!

5. Festival de la Timba

While every festival mentioned before had at least some kind of area they specialize in more, Festival de la Timba will be a beautiful mix of everything.

Dedicated to the legacy of the beloved director of the Van Van and happening in August of 2020, the festival‘s program is something intriguing to explore.

The musical side of the festival will allow dancers, musicians, international DJs, and even famous Cuban orchestras to perform. The activities also have theoretical meetings, photographic exhibitions, musicologists and screenings of documentaries such as Legacy by Nathanael Mergui.

If you‘re interested in something alternative and different format, then be sure to check out the potential of Festival de la Timba!

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