Newly renamed as the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival, the Caribbean’s premier cultural event is expected to attract thousands to the iconic and historic Pigeon Island National Landmark, where the 13 day festival will culminate. From April 30 to May 12, 2013, the festival will take center stage at scenic vistas across the island showcasing a new infusion of arts, scores of artisans and entertainers.
At the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival launch on January 31 in Saint Lucia, Tourism Minister Lorne Theophilus said, “After setting the musical benchmark for over two decades, Saint Lucia as a destination needed to redefine not only itself, but critically its flagship special events activity. As we seek to implement our new strategic focus, it became necessary to forge closer linkages between the traditional festival line-up and a now burgeoning creative industries sector.”
Director of Tourism Louis Lewis remarked that the redefined festival boasts an impressive roster of performers designed to satisfy the most discerning music aficionados. “While the festival has evolved over time, it has more than two decades of history attracting some of the most recognizable and sought after names in the music business,” says Lewis.
The Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival will be comprised of more than 50 artists performing scenic locales such as Pigeon Island National Landmark, quaint and rustic village settings like Fond d’Or Heritage Park in Dennery; Rudy John Beach Park in Laborie; and the tranquil Port Castries waterfront setting of the Pointe Seraphine Duty Free Shopping complex. The 2013 Jazz and Arts Festival will also see the much awaited return of the popular “Jazz on the Square” in the heart of the capital city Castries and a return to the picturesque open-air venue of Balenbouche Estate in the South.
The festival’s new listings of artistic activities will incorporate Drama & Dance, Steel Pan, Spoken Words, Fashion Shows and other cultural extravaganzas at key venues stretching from the northern town of Gros-Islet to Vieux Fort in the South. “Several of our traditional community celebrations like the Friday night street parties, culturally rich Fish-Fries, our Creole music and the like will be woven in the fabric of the redefined Jazz and Arts Festival and showcased in a fresh and exciting way,” said Deputy Director of Tourism Tracey Warner Arnold.
Performances at the Gaiety on Rodney Bay on May 8 and 9 will feature Trinidadian born Trumpet player ETIENNE CHARLES; Cuban jazz pianist ROBERTO FONSECA; contemporary jazz bands from the French Antilles FAL FRETT and electric guitarist THE JOHN SCHOFIELD UBERJAM BAND. Main stage activities at the Pigeon Island National Landmark will begin on Friday May 10, with performances from R&B multi-platinum American singer, songwriter, dancer and actor GINUWINE; Saint Lucian songwriter and producer ACE and the iconic American popular music family group from Gary, Indiana THE JACKSONS.
Headlining May 11 and 10, the new Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival will feature multiple Grammy-winner R&B mega star singer-songwriter, and record producer Robert Sylvester Kelly, more popularly known as R KELLY. Kelly has established his name on the music scene as the King of R&B with dozens of chart topping hits. Other musical hard-hitters include the legendary OJAYS; acclaimed Caribbean maestro DAVID RUDDER, bandleader and mambo musician TITO PUENTE JR.; celebrated guitarist and singer RONALD ‘BOO’ HINKSON and accomplished Senegalese-American hip-hop recording artist, songwriter and record producer AKON.
The festival will open with much fanfare on April 30 at the “people’s auditorium” – the Mindoo Phillip Park – to a line-up that will be announced shortly. The musical presentations are unrivalled with Caribbean jazz, Creole collaborations and African infused funky rhythms that can only be found on the unique stellar lineup of Jazz in the South, Fond d’Or and the Derek Walcott Square.
To be a part of this fabulous, cultural, music spectacular make sure you head to Handpicked Villas for the ultimate in luxury villas in St Lucia, and more information on the best places to stay on this amazing island.