Rain, mud and lots of good music characterized the fringe activities over the weekend which ushered in the 2011 edition of the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival. Heavy rainfall through the week into last weekend threatened some of the activities, not to mention causing major issues in terms of transportation in some parts of the island.
We’re not sure what exactly brought all this bad weather but some local prophets have suggested the West Indies’ losses in St Lucia last weekend may have had a little something to do with it. A bad omen, perhaps?
But as they say the show must go on and that it did! This year, despite the rain several events still went ahead and showed that the fringe activities for St Lucia Jazz are gaining a life of their own and giving St Lucians a new appreciation for all types of music.
Local performers are at the forefront of most of these events and they aimed to please, as if sending a message that they indeed deserved to be on the mainstage!
Jazz on the Beach, by the Rex Resorts was the first planned activity on Sunday May 1. A stand-off with the rain way beyond its 12pm start, saw the event getting underway sometime after 3pm.
Patrons started trickling onto the Reduit beach as the first act, Stacy Charles and the Changes band, brought a refreshing ray of sunshine to the stage.
The event also featured 4th World Band, Luther Francois and Rob Taylor. By the time TJ took the stage in the evening, a large and enthusiastic crowd had gathered on the beach, enjoying this wonderful free event. In the end people simply pulled out their umbrellas and swayed along to the sweet sounds.
At the other end of the island, Vieux Fort, Jazz in the South, having to cancel its first Saturday show, took place Sunday at Coconut Bay. Patrons, despite some showers, enjoyed the music, mainly from the French Antilles which rang true and pure. Performers Sony Troupe, Wespe Pou Ayiti and the University of Calypso with panist Andy Narell and Relator, delivered a unique blend of West Indian, French and African music.
Monday May 2, a holiday, Carellie Jazz, in its second year, served up a treat despite showers and muddy grounds. Held at the Carellie Park, it brought together two artistes who opted out of the main stage Jazz, sighting differences with the SLTB. Both “Boo” and Luther Francois thrilled a large and appreciative crowd at the park, while Jamaican Karen Smith wowed the audience with a cabaret style performance of old school reggae and pop songs. Wayne Wonder, a popular Reggae singer did not disappoint either and the DYP band gave Carellie Jazz fans a nice send off as part of this holiday experience. The event was attended by Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister who is the parliamentary representative for the area.
Jazz on the Grill also kicked off on Sunday and Saint Lucia Jazz, facing rain this week, is expected to continue with Jazz on the Square, Tea Time Jazz at La Place Carenage and Jazz on the Pier, coming to a close with main stage activities at Gaiety on Rodney bay and Pigeon Island May 4 to May 8.