The upcoming 2020 St. Lucia Jazz Festival, produced in collaboration with prestigious New York-based organization Jazz at Lincoln Center, marks the start of the Caribbean Island’s festival season and also highlights what’s on the way. to become a record travel time for the destination.
Scheduled for May 7-9, 2020, the festival is now in its 28th year and will feature leading modern jazz artists performing at venues across St. Lucia including The Ramp on Rodney Bay and Gros Islet Park. .
This year’s festival continues an initiative launched last year – the first in which organizers from the Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) have teamed up with Jazz at Lincoln Center – to reinvigorate the event with a comeback to authentic jazz performances. Saint Lucia was one of several Caribbean “jazz” concert series which in recent years have featured mainly acts of popular music.
Instead, this year’s Festival is highlighted by jazz legend Chick Corea, who will perform with Carlitos Del Puerto and Marcus Gilmore. A celebration of legendary hard bop trumpeter Roy Hargrove by Willie Jones III and Renée Neufville is also planned. Alphonso Horne and Ruben Fox’s Gotham Kings, London Brass with Theon Cross and Mark Kavuma and Maher Beauroy are also set to perform.
Citing the “successful” inaugural year of the partnership between the Festival de Saint Lucia and Jazz at Lincoln Center, Dominic Fedee, Minister of Tourism of Saint Lucia, said that the Festival’s return to the emphasis on music jazz had revitalized the event and helped generate a wave of visitors in 2019.
“After [nearly] In 30 years the festival has grown so big that we have started to experiment with it a lot, ”said Fedee. “We started to add rap, soca and R&B [music.] When we had our first encounter with Jazz at Lincoln Center, they said, ‘Hey, this isn’t jazz. You have to go back to basics and be a lot more authentic.
As a result, “Saint Lucia has once again become the number one jazz festival in the Caribbean,” Fedee said. “There has been a lot of passion, a lot of hard work and a lot of joy to make sure we tell people through music and through this festival that Saint Lucia is the most idyllic island destination in the world.”
In addition to jazz performances, the 2020 Festival will feature ‘Artists In Education’ initiatives including masterclasses, professional development and live collaborations with St. Lucia School of Music students and local jazz artists. .
“Jazz, like most music in the African diaspora, has the power to bring people of all ages together,” said Cat Henry, vice president of concerts and tours for Jazz at Lincoln Center.
“It breaks down barriers and teaches tolerance and is an invitation to share genuine and contagious joy,” said Henry. “We celebrate our collaboration with the Saint Lucia Tourist Board. We have something for everyone from the serious jazz fan to the first-time island visitor looking for a deep good time.
The 2020 St. Lucia Jazz Festival will coincide with an increase in visitor arrivals for the Caribbean nation.
“We’re at the top right now,” Fedee said. “This year, for the first time in our registration of tourism statistics, we reported more than 400,000 [overnight, land-based] Arrivals. Americans have made a significant contribution to our growth; this market has experienced strong growth of nine and a half percent, ”he said.
“When we bring together hotel guests, cruise stays and yacht visitors, we reach 1.2 million visitors,” Fedee said in 2019, which is a 5% year-over-year increase. other compared to 2018.
Saint Lucia is also expanding its hotel base as arrivals increase, Fedee said. All-inclusive operator AM Resorts will launch a Zoetry resort as well as new Dreams and Secrets properties within two years, while Hyatt Hotels & Resorts is planning a 780-room property project in St. Lucia.
“Over the next 10 years, we are expected to have 3,000 hotel rooms in Saint Lucia to significantly expand our room inventory, bringing tremendous value to our destination,” Fedee said.
Saint Lucia is also making progress in the development of a major cruise port. “We are preparing to sign a memorandum of understanding with Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to build the island’s second largest cruise port in the south, near the airport,” Fedee said.
“This is to strengthen the home porterage activity. We make sure that the cruise port and the airport are part of the same complex; it will be one of the most amazing facilities you will see in the Caribbean, ”he said.
SLTB is also working to refocus island tourism experiences on authentic local experiences. “We’re very, very proud of what’s in Saint Lucia,” Fedee said. “We make sure that we have reinforced the experiences, to make sure that when people come, they can go bamboo rafting, that they can take a carnival tour. [and] also have a new rum distillery experience, ”he said.
“All this is planned for the complete renewal of the tourist product of Saint Lucia. We make sure to perpetuate our architecture and our village tourism, so that when you come, you see the authenticity.