None but the particularly foolish would suggest things aren’t nearly as bad as officially declared, given that the Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival has been drawing record crowds. The same cockeyed optimists would probably agree with suggestions that child labour and poverty do not exist in India, given the thousands who attend the IPL cricket games!
The success of the event thus far is further proof that regardless of how tough the times, still we remain determined never to miss a good time. Which of course serves the festival’s promoters. As the governor general recently observed: “We Saint Lucians are used to hardship.” Ain’t nuthin’ new about that.
But seriously, it should be noted that a large number of those attending the regular events and the freebies are returning nationals and visitors who have saved a few extra US dollars and Euros especially for this respite from harsh realities at home. And what can be wrong about that? Why have some of us, including some talk show hosts, been accentuating the negative and ignoring the fact that as a result of the festival a few more dollars will be in circulation here, if only for the month of May?
It is commendable that finally some people realized the festival’s survival would depend on locals buying into it. All praise to the new Tourist Board for embracing the idea and officially endorsing fashion and the arts. Earlier some had seen such things as bastardizing the festival’s “purity.”
And so this year, quite apart from the main stage paying events, which are the draw for visitors here, events like the Opening at Mindoo Phillip Park and Jazz on the Square are back.
Jazz on the Square, a freebie event at Derek Walcott Square, opened on Wednesday evening with a Soca package comprising Mantius, Q’pid, Ricky T and Ambi who
turned up the heat following opening performances by violinist Karen Briggs and K’rib fusion.
On Thursday, Martinique’s Eric Ildefonse and Harvey Millar raised the blazing midday heat in the city with the LIME VIP stand, the Heineken beer garden, local craft and food stall all adding to the atmosphere. Tea Time jazz also played out to a packed La Place Carenage on Wednesday and Thursday. The Gospel Connection featuring Angelle, Godman, A.J and Malana backed by the band Higher Definition brought the message in full force on the first day while Trish and The Derek Yarde Project raised the roof with great party vibes on Thursday.
The Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival continued with main stage Jazz events for purists on Wednesday, May 8 and Thursday, May 9. On Thursday, Etienne Charles may just have stolen the thunder of headliner Roberto Fonseca while both Fal Fret with their contemporary
Creole Jazz sound, and John Scoffield with some funk-infused Jazz, were superb on day two.
The Festival continued Friday night with performances by the Jacksons, Ginuwine and Ace. The party continues today at main stage Pigeon Island with Tito Puente Jr, Tony Allen and the Fella dancers, Luther Francois, Robbie Greenidge & David Rudder and headliner Akon.
Sunday’s finale, which will be headlined by R. Kelly features Emrand Henry, Ronald “Boo” Hinkson, the O’Jays and Brian Culbertson. No doubt, thousands of visitors and
Saint Lucians will be partying and grooving all weekend long to some great music. I, for one, cannot imagine a better precursor to next week’s Budget debate!