Lots of international festivals make it onto our bucket lists, but there is one that merits more attention than it has received. Manana Cuba is the first international music festival to take place on the isolated Caribbean island, with the aim of preserving and developing Afro-Cuban, and electronic music.
The first edition of the festival took place in May 2016 following a successful crowdfunding campaign, and the reviews were brilliant. Both participants and attendees lavished praise on the event, thanks to incredible live performances and a number of collaborations between Cuban and international artists.
At the same time, organizers put on a series of workshops designed to share knowledge with local music producers, and hardware companies donated equipment to studios in Cuba. The whole event is designed not only to give Cuban music a platform and a new audience, but to foster cooperation and development in a country that is largely cut off from the rest of the world.
Cuba is a fascinating destination to visit for all sorts of reasons, not least due to the strong musical culture. The city of Santago de Cuba, where the festival is hosted, is particularly famous as a hotbed of music in Cuba.
You can reach the city by taking an international flight to Havana, the Cuban capital, and then a domestic flight to the east of the island. There are also buses for budget travelers.
Manana Cuba offers a unique festival experience and provides real benefits to the local community as well. There are no fixed dates for the next festival, but you can sign up to the mailing list on the Manana website to make sure that you stay up to date with the latest news.