An eclectic billing of performers from the Caribbean and the United States combine for 11 nights of revelry during the 24th annual staging of the St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival from April 30 to May 10.
The alluring attraction features jazz, rhythm & blues, hip-hop, soca, reggae, creole, dancehall, and pop music as well as visual arts, crafts and other spectacles to make the island the destination of choice to end and begin the months.
Pop star Robin Thicke and rapper Flo Rida have been touted as headliners but the bacchanal begins with Destra, Sedale, Wildfire, Arthur Alain, Bakanal Band and Invader with a blending of island cultures that includes Jamaica’s dancehall talent Chronixx.
A jazz showcase with Joey DeFrancesco and Alain Jean-Marie will feature Grant Stewart.
Add superstar Jimmy Cliff, two-time Grammy winner Jon Secada, reggae crooner Beres Hammond, Barbados’ acclaimed “saxiest horn player in the Caribbean” Arturo Tappin, Latin sensation Timbalive, soca sensations Krosfyah with Edwin Yearwood and irie fuses with carnaval to deliver jazz plus entertainment.
“This year’s festival continues to infuse artistic events with star-studded musical performances, providing a platform for local artisans, entertainers and cultural enthusiasts to also command world attention during the two-week celebration,” said Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries, Lorne Theophilus.
The diverse music offering of genres continues throughout with “Soufriere Creole Jazz,” a combination of bouyon, soca and jazz musicians that are slated to perform on a night headlined by Jamaica’s Jah Cure.
The National Cultural Centre will host Caribbean cultural icons Ronald “Boo” Hinkson, Derede Williams and Shayne Ross at the Cadet Concert.
“Monchy: Mizik En Kweyol” spotlights more action at Monchy Square in Gros Islet with local bands such as The Royal Saint Lucia Police Band and headliner Derek Yarde Project.
“Jazz on the Square” features free shows from May 6 to May 8 at Derek Walcott Square in the capital city of Castries.
The island wide festival will also venture to Pigeon Island where the most ideal venue for a main stage event stages “Amidst the Ruins.”
Famous for its role in the 1782 Battle of the Saints, the island boasts 44 acres of sloping grasslands, tropical forests, beaches and twin peaks, as well as Fort Rodney where the Atlantic Ocean joins the Caribbean Sea.
Not to be ignored are the works of local artists, designers and crafts persons which promise a display of a potpourri of paintings, clothes, jewelry and souvenirs.
There will also be live demos, art installations, community art and local jazz musicians.
A fashion show on May 6 will showcase the work of designers including Anya Ayoung-Chee, the 2011 winner of the TV show, Project Runway.
Designers from Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Guyana, Cuba and Guadeloupe are expected to introduce their creations.
Presented by the St. Lucia Tourist Board, the festival continues to attract some of the most recognizable and sought after names in the music business and has become a magnet for visitors from the U.S.