Rainy Day Blues for Jazz?

Patrons at Jazz on the Beach

Ahead of the heavy rains here all of last week; one did not get the feeling that Saint Lucia Jazz would be the hottest ticket in town this week. And now that the rain is threatening some of the weekend activities for the 20th edition of Saint Lucia Jazz, feelings have been dampened even more.
With the meteorological office predicting more rain, memories of Saint Lucia Jazz 2004 and 2009 keep flashing. In 2004 heavy rains washed out the finale of Saint Lucia Jazz which was supposed to have featured Babyface and Floetry that year. Yellowjackets down to perform here this year, were also scheduled to perform in 2004.
In 2009 besides the controversy surrounding the booking of Amy Winehouse for Saint Lucia Jazz, heavy rainfall also threatened a number of activities that year. The Thursday night show at Pigeon Island which was supposed to feature Angelique Kidjo, Kassav and the Wailers was first moved to Gaiety then cancelled altogether. While Kassav was incorporated into the Friday event with Winehouse, Kidjo and the Wailers who had prior overseas bookings could not perform. Angelique Kidjo incidentally is also down to perform at Saint Lucia Jazz this Friday with rainy conditions predicted.
Last week the Saint Lucia Tourist Board had to cancel a walkthrough of Pigeon Island with the media due to rain. On Tuesday a second walkthrough was also cancelled for the same reason. Officials of the SLTB, however, still toured the outdoor venue and according to tourism minister Allen Chastanet who was part of that tour, contingency plans are being put in place. “We have no doubt that the shows will go on and the good thing is that we have advance notice as to what the weather conditions will be like this week,” Chastanet says.                 “Today I met with the Tourist Board and the producers of the Jazz festival at Pigeon Island and one of the things we have decided is to use a tile floor that we are going to be using to put over the grass at Pigeon island in key areas to reduce the mud,” he added. The tourism minister also stated that the alternative of putting Friday night Pigeon Island indoors at Gaiety was also being considered in discussion with the producers and the artiste. A statement is expected to come from the SLTB today as to what the plans are for the main stage events which begin tonight at Gaiety on Rodney Bay.
Last weekend, Saint Lucia Jazz saw the staging of some of the fringe activities which were impacted by rainy and muddy conditions.
The mother of the Jazz fringe events Jazz on the Square is expected to commence today, despite waterlogged grounds at the venue, the Derek Walcott Square. The fringe activities continue with Tea Time Jazz at La Place Carenage today as well and tomorrow, while Jazz on the Pier is expected to take place on Friday May 6 at Duty Free Point Seraphine.
The main stage events for Saint Lucia Jazz spearheaded by the Saint Lucia Tourist Board runs from Wednesday May 4 to Sunday May 8.  Two Cabaret style Jazz nights are expected to form part of this, the first on Wednesday May 4 at Gaiety on Rodney Bay with acts like Ledisi, Alison Marquis and Regina Carter and Thursday May 5 with Sixun and Augustin Jab Duplesis.
The original home of Saint Lucia Jazz, Pigeon Island will culminate the event with three shows, the first the evening of Friday May 6 to be headlined by Morgan Heritage which is now in doubt due to the rain. The other two shows; Saturday May 7 will be headlined by Trey Songz and will also feature Taj Weekes and Maceo Parker among others and Saint Lucia Jazz, 2011 will end on Sunday May 8 with performances from Chuck Brown, the Saint Lucia Collective, Mike Stern and Richard Bona and headliner John Legend. All of this weather permitting of course!

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