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St. Lucia Jazz Fest going back to roots

St. Lucia Jazz Fest going back to roots


Hardcore Jazz lovers could expect to get “real jazz” at the 16th Annual St Lucia Jazz festival from May 413, this assurance comes from Public Relations Manager of the St Lucia Tourist Board Kirby Allain.{{more}}

Allain who is on a vigorous marketing campaign in Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Trinidad and St Vincent and the Grenadines said in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT last week Thursday that the festival was “going back to its roots” because patrons had been requesting it.

“We have gone back to the musical genre of jazz and brought back … straight ahead jazz because we have noticed that people have lost that market.

“A lot of the shows around the region are now more R&B and there has been heavy competition from similar festivals, so we have been balancing more and infusing a little bit less of that genre to give people who really appreciate Jazz a chance. If it is going to be called a jazz festival, then we have to make it that,” he emphasized.

He pointed out that because St Lucia Jazz Fest had established a good reputation internationally, many of the big name acts were calling the St Lucia Tourist Board so that they could be part of the show. He said because of the demand to make an appearance at the St Lucia Jazz Fest, the country was at an advantage and was able to bid down appearance fees unlike other music festivals who sought the huge names and had to pay the full price of the high performance fees.

The Public Relations Manager for the St Lucia Jazz Festival said that with new policy directives from government to stay within or under budget and the mandate to have more local acts in the festival, the Jazz Fest committee has “tweaked” the show to ensure that more local artistes get exposure.

Allain said Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Trinidad and St Vincent and the Grenadines were the original supporters of the St Lucia Jazz festival and these countries were second to the UK and USA in annual arrivals.

He said that the St Lucia Jazz Fest was not only a time to enjoy great music but was also planned as an event to “sell St Lucia” since free jazz concerts would be held throughout the island. Allain said that there would also be a Craft Village with 100% local products and last year this innovation injected some $2 million into the economy.

The PRO however expressed concern that many of their regional travelers might refrain from visiting because they were becoming daunted by the high cost of airfares throughout the region. He said that the merger of the two Caribbean airlines would affect not only the St Lucia Jazz Festival but other festivals throughout the Caribbean and urged Caribbean governments to address the extremely high cost of interregional travel.

“Airline travel is of paramount importance to tourism, particularly the economies of the region. If you are going to encourage Caribbean people to enjoy each other’s cultures and islands then there has to be proper regional transport and having mergers that include a monopoly situation just compounds the problem and makes people think twice about hopping onto a plane,” Allain complained.

The opening show of the festival would feature reggae sensation Morgan Heritage, and the Trinidadian royal couple of Soca music Bunji Garlin and Fayon Lyons among others. Some of the international names would include Al Jerreau, George Benson, John Legend, and Natalie Cole.