With not a moment to rest, the Events Company of St. Lucia Inc. (ECSL) has launched its plans for Soleil 2018. In a ceremony held on Wednesday November 8 in Atlanta, Georgia, a team from Saint Lucia including Chief Executive of ECSL Thomas Leonce, Minister responsible for Tourism and Broadcasting, Dominic Fedee, and Agnes Francis, Chairperson for the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, unveiled plans for the Soleil Saint Lucia Summer of Festivals to an audience that comprised travel agents, tourism officials and other strategic partners in the United States of America.
“Understanding the value of the international markets to the sustainability of our Summer Festival, we felt it critical to launch in these regions early, while travellers are making the big decision about where to go for the summer,” commented Thomas Leonce, CEO of ECSL.
He added, “Coming out of Soleil 2017, we are well placed to identify the opportunities to make the Soleil Summer Festival even more viable. In 2018 we can look forward to some adjustments to the calendar – a strategic recalibration of the festival elements, so to speak – to create an even more viable product that also sets us apart as a unique tourism destination for festival lovers.”
The Soleil Summer of Festivals will feature, as its core line-up, the Food and Rum Festival scheduled for January 12-14, Saint Lucia Jazz from May 6-13, Saint Lucia Carnival from June to July 2018 followed by Roots & Soul, August 31 to September 2, culminating with Arts & Heritage Month in October.
At the Saint Lucian launch of Soleil 2018, held at Sandals Grande this week, the line-up for Saint Lucia Jazz was officially announced. This highly anticipated event has received much focus given its position as one of the most staple national events next to Saint Lucia Carnival. As such, this festival, which has been given a makeover, is positioned more so now as a Jazz Festival for purist Jazz lovers – a placement that differentiates it from other music festivals in the region and internationally.
In 2018 Saint Lucia Jazz will feature ‘A World of Jazz’ at the Sandals Grande St. Lucian Spa & Beach Resort from May 7. Another hotel venue is the Harbor Club, the newest addition to the Saint Lucia hotel landscape. On May 10 and 11 the Harbor Club will host ‘A Taste of Bourbon Street’, a two-night dinner set featuring Jazzmeia ‘Jazz’ Horn.
Also on May 11, the Royalton Saint Lucia Resort & Spa will host ‘The Lincoln Centre Jazz Experience’ featuring five-time Grammy Award Winner Lalah Hathaway.
Other confirmed international acts include British vocalist and singer-songwriter, Zara McFarlane, soloist Denys Baptiste, Haitian-American performing artist Pauline Jean, worldwide drummer – Guadeloupean Arnaud Dolmen, Cameroonian bassist Etienne Mbappé and the Prophets, Dominican guitarist Cameron Pierre and vocalist Carolyn Malachi. Also appearing is Aziza, featuring saxophonist Chris Potter, double bassist Dave Holland, guitarist Lionel Loueke and drummer Eric Harland. Making the Saint Lucia Jazz line-up as well is Alfredo Rodríguez, an internationally acclaimed Cuban jazz pianist
Saint Lucia Jazz climaxes with an eclectic showcase at the Pigeon Island National Landmark on Mother’s Day, Sunday May 13 showcasing The Frantz Laurac Quartet, Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson and Friends, R + R = NOW, a world class, world-renowned combination of some of the greatest American musicians in the Jazz world including three-time Grammy Award winning pianist Robert Glasper, rapper Terrace Martin, trumpeter, composer and producer Christian Scott, Derrick Hodge – Grammy Award-winning bassist, composer, record producer, and musical director; music producer, keyboardist and beat-boxer Taylor McFerrin, and Justin Tyson – drummer extraordinaire.
Avery Sunshine caps it all off with her thunderous, gospel-bred pipes and heart-to-heart content.
Celebrating Saint Lucia’s Jazz icons, the Soleil Saint Lucia Jazz Festival will feature the ‘Godfather of Jazz in Saint Lucia’ – Luther Francois, Barbara Cadet and Ronald ‘Boo’ Hinkson.
“We are off to a great start,” notes Agnes Francis, Chairperson of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority. “We are confident that we have created a brand and a product that is of the highest international standard; a brand and a product that will excite our international audiences, enticing them to come to Saint Lucia to experience world-class entertainment seasoned with a blend of Saint Lucian hospitality, cultural authenticity and exquisite island beauty.”
The international Soleil Saint Lucia Summer Festival 2018 – Promotional Campaign will be launched over the next few weeks in the United Kingdom and Canada.