The 2019 Saint Lucia Summer Festival launched its third season on Friday, January 25th, 2019 at The Harbor Club in Rodney Bay to a mixed audience of sponsors, partners, entertainers, well-wishers, and the media. The format of the launch event was a show-stopping display of what is in store for this year’s summer of festivals, with each component of the series featured as a miniature of the actual planned large-scale festival.
Guests were ushered through the venue by smartly clad hostesses dressed in the style of flight attendants. Their male counterparts were attired as Ramp Agents providing critical coordinates for directing the curious and excited travelers along the route, making pit stops at strategic venue locations to take in the entertainment and information specific to the festival being showcased at that point.
The creatively designed event took on the form of a travel excursion that promised exciting sights and sounds topped off with delectable eats and refreshing drinks at every destination. The first stop was Market Street, a mini-festival to pay homage to our Arts & Heritage Festival staged every year in October, Creole Heritage Month. Guests were greeted with a display of traditional fanfare, creole dancers, musicians, moko-jumbies, and a chantwell, amidst the busy street.
The travel experience was further enhanced with piped audio alerts providing guests with notifications, building anticipation for the stops ahead.
The second stop was The Harbor Club Julia’s Restaurant where the Saint Lucia Summer Festival’s travelers were greeted by Captain-designate for the evening, Chief Executive Officer of Events Company of St. Lucia Inc. (ECSL), Thomas Leonce.
“With every staging of the Saint Lucia Summer Festival, we seek out new opportunities to enhance our products, as well as develop the mother brand. The Saint Lucia Summer Festival positions Saint Lucia as the mecca in the Caribbean for world-class entertainment, year-round, with five key events planned for the 2019 season, including Saint Lucia Jazz in May, Saint Lucia Carnival in June-July, Roots & Soul Festival in August, Saint Lucia Food and Rum Festival in September and the Arts and Heritage Festival in October. This strategy has opened the way for numerous opportunities for our people both from an economic and a creative standpoint. We have also profited this new position to forge new partnerships and collaborations in an effort to fine-tune and perfect our festivals portfolio. One such key collaboration is with Jazz at Lincoln Center,” stated CEO of Events Company of St. Lucia Inc., Thomas Leonce.
Leonce introduced Jason Olaine from Jazz at Lincoln Center who was on hand to address the gathering. ?“From all of us at Jazz at Lincoln Center, a special thank you to the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, Events Company of St. Lucia Inc. and the people of the island for extending the utmost hospitality to all of us.?On behalf of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis, the board, Executive Director Greg Scholl and staff, we’re honored to be part of the renowned Saint Lucia Jazz Festival.”
The CEO proceeded to unveil the line up for Saint Lucia Jazz which comprises an A-list of world-renowned Jazz Musicians performing at various venues across the island, commencing on Sunday, May 5th, with Caribbean Jazz at Rudy John Beach Park in Laborie, featuring well-known regional and Caribbean jazz artistes and UK born, female Saxophonist YolanDa Brown.
From Monday, May 06th and Tuesday, May 07th, the venues along the Rodney Bay Strip will feature well-known local and regional jazz performances with interesting collaborations between local, regional and international jazz musicians including Russell Hall and Rainbow Family, Patrick Bartley Quintet and Etienne Charles.
Over that same period, other pop-up bands will be featured at various surprise locations.
For the first time in Saint Lucia Jazz history, Saint Lucia Jazz includes a nautical jazz experience with a Jazz Cruise on The Pearl, showcasing Saint Lucia’s dynamic duo Rob Zii and Phyness and New York based Jamaican born Grammy and Emmy nominated Bassist, Russell Hall, the “Bob Marley” of Jazz with Russell Hall’s Monkstafari.
Also included for Saint Lucia Jazz is the community of Gros Islet town where Saint Lucia Jazz takes to the streets with Haitian descendant Jazz musician Jowee Omicil and talented Saint Lucian acts on Wednesday, May 8th.
Come Thursday, May 9th, the main stage will fire up with Saint Lucian Saxophonist Augustin ‘Jab’ Duplessis, followed by Jazz singer Veronica Swift, one of the top young jazz singers in the world, capped off with Grammy Award Winner Jazz Crooner Gregory Porter with special guest Southern Belle, jazz singer, Ledisi.
Friday, May 10th, will kick off with a tribute to Nina Simone featuring Ledisi and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra with a production billed “Nina and Me”. Also highlighted on May 10th is Trinidad born world-class trumpeter Etienne Charles & Creole Soul with Special Guest Melanie Charles followed by Six-time Grammy Award Winner jazz bassist Christian McBride.
On May 10th The Harbor Club will be the host venue for a thrilling, one-of-a-kind jazz performance by jazz royal Catherine Russell with Catherine Russell’s Harlem on My Mind.
On May 11th, we will bring to the stage Jazz Pannist Mario Canonge of Martinique, UK Sweetheart female Saxophonist Nubya Garcia, Somi and Laura Mvula: Songs of Freedom, topped off by five-time Grammy Award Winner Dianne Reeves.
Saint Lucia Jazz will feature on Sunday, May 12th inspirational Gospel Jazz Brunch showcasing husband and wife duo, the Baylor Project, and Shirleyann Cyril-Mayers and God’s Anointed Music Ministry.
As the proceedings continued, guests present at the launch were thrilled with the announcement of the line up for the Roots and Soul Festival which is slated for Friday, August 23rd to Sunday, August 25th.
The Festival will feature, on Friday, August 23rd in the town of Gros Islet, UK based Saint Lucian poet and performer Curmiah Lisette and singer, composer, Naomie Ngozi Grandison.
Roots & Soul moves to the Pigeon Island National Landmark on Saturday, August 24th and will include homegrown folk-rock band Skip Monday opening for the award-winning songwriter, producer, and performer Nigerian superstar Timaya, followed by the flamboyant British pop superstar Leee John who will set the stage for provocative Reggae legend Tarrus Riley featuring Estelle.
On August 25th Roots & Soul culminates with Saint Lucian Sherwinn Dupes Brice paving the way for Saint Lucian-Canadian jazz and R&B balladeer, the young, refreshingly pure yet soulful ZAMANI who will pave the way for, the R&B duo Ginuwine and Grammy Award Winner Mya.
The Roots and Soul Festival will bring the curtains down with the most successful, ageless and timeless reggae group in the world, UB40 featuring Ali Campbell and Astro.
The Food and Rum Festival and the Arts and Heritage Festival will follow.
Full details about the Saint Lucia Summer of Festivals can be found at eventssaintlucia.com.