Saint Lucia
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2023 Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival A Phenomenal Success!

Buju in full performance mode Friday night
Buju in full performance mode Friday night

Organizers are hailing the success of this year’s Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival, adding that the support from patrons to the many events were “phenomenal”.

The local performers came in for high praise having matched their performances to their foreign counterparts to the appreciation of a very supportive crowd.

The May 5 to 14 extravaganza served up a musical potpourri with a diversification of Caribbean Rhythms, Afro Beats, World Music, and Pure Jazz to an energetic crowd of fans and music lovers.

Despite some setbacks, mainly due to technical issues and meeting schedule times and requirements for artists to perform, the event ran through relatively incident-free.

There was something in it for everyone, and the bustling crowd of locals and visitors from every sphere of life fully consumed and appreciated the many acts that were presented. The production of the festival went up a few notches from its presentation over the years and with some tweaks in here and there, this event has the making of a Mega Jazz Festival for Saint Lucia and the wider region.

“The outpouring of support from patrons at all the events… was beyond our expectation. The numbers were phenomenal and we made a very determined effort this year to make sure we sold as many tickets as we could and even then the support was really phenomenal,” declared Tourism Minister Dr. Ernest Hillarie, at a media briefing, Monday.

Arthur Allain Performing at the Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival 2023
Arthur Allain was phenomenal at the festival as well.

He noted that the online ticket sales were “really excellent’ and by March, the sales had outstripped all online ticket sales from 2016.

Dr. Hilaire also spoke on the success of the fringe events that took place in communities, such as Babonneau, Desruisseaux, Monchy, Soufriere and other districts, which he describes as “fantastic, simply beautiful …and excellent”.

He commented on the “epic performance” of Buju Banton, at last Friday night’s Caribbean Fusion, and that “production was beyond belief”.

Dr. Hilaire also recalled the splendor of the Saturday night show and the closing of the festival, on Sunday, to highlight Mother’s Day.

Boo wooing the crowd Sunday night
Boo wooing the crowd Sunday night

Speaking to the magnitude of the jazz festival, the minister added: “We had a fantastic jazz festival, the numbers were phenomenal…we did not have enough flights for persons who came in and the production was top draw, in terms of the main stage and even community fringe events …

However, he explained, there was a “recurring problem” that centered on traffic management on the island …

Commenting on prospects for the further expansion and promotion of the jazz festival and as revenue generating stream for the local economy, Hilaire declared: “ When it was introduced (in 1992) it was primarily  as a marketing tool and to bring more visitors  to Saint Lucia. Now, it’s a lot more than that.

“It is part of building that creative economy we want …it is part of creating that enabling environment in Saint Lucia for our creatives to thrive and to believe that there are opportunities there for sustaining livelihoods.”

He added, “And this is why that we have restructured all the events and festivals.”