Show Me Your Jazz Hands!

Where the musical stars come to shine…

Saint Lucia Jazz Festival draws top performers and patrons from around the world. Truth be told, there’s none like it.

“JAZZ TAUGHT ROCK ‘N ROLL ALL IT KNOWS” MAY NOT be an original slogan, nor is it technically correct, but it certainly captures the mood as Saint Lucia ’s pioneering Jazz Festival continues to break new ground.

The event has grown significantly in stature to embrace numerous musical forms showcased in the historic surrounds of Pigeon Island National Park and various venues and locations island wide. At this quasi-fringe gathering, art, fashion, craft and theatre are as much a part of the experience.

If the extravaganza is national in outlook, a cultural awakening second only to Carnival, it’s international in scope and recognition, drawing patrons from North and South America, Africa, Asia, Europe and around the Caribbean. A cosmopolitan mix then, reflected in the range of sounds and broad appeal of mainstream jazz, acoustic, fusion, R&B to soul, soca and reggae.

Conceived as a catalyst to extending the winter tourism season, it is now rated among the top three jazz festivals in the world by the renowned producer George Wein. Ultimately, the authorities are hoping that Saint Lucia  can “do a Montreux” and seep into global consciousness but that may remain an elusive aspiration. For now, they can reap the rewards of a successful venture from a limited budget, not least the fostering of genuine pride in community in rural areas, a widening of the accommodation base and an annual injection of around EC$60 million into the local service economy. One of the primary goals of increased international awareness has undoubtedly been achieved and the plaudits are well earned.

Highlighting more local talent has always been a mainstay, but a galaxy of foreign music stars have also appeared on the main stage in the last decade; from Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys to Rihanna and Seal.

Overall, though, the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival is hugely impressive event with a rolling roster of top-notch artists. Traffic and travel times are a problem to the Pigeon Island site, but with stellar hotel accommodation and friendly, warm hospitality, you won’t even mind the hustle.

Leave a Comment