With the integration of Saint Lucia’s artistic product into what was formerly Saint Lucia Jazz, the Saint Lucia Tourist Board (SLTB) has deemed the staging of the re-branded Festival a success which generally met its objectives, but in some instances also exceeding expectation.
A number of new indicators have been added to the metrics by which performance of the Festival is measured. A major one has been the responsiveness of the Festival to the broader creative industries development mandate.
“In fusing the artistic and the culinary product with Jazz, direct benefit to our creative sector, is an obvious outcome to track because Saint Lucian Arts shared as prominent a space as the imported components. In real terms the Festival invested heavily in the marketing of the literary, fine arts, fashion and cuisine, created avenues for promotion, networking, exposure, as well as capacity building,” SLTB Director Louis Lewis explained.
The SLTB director cited the introduction of a fashion component and its obvious success as an innovation, which has clearly justified itself. He described it as a smart product diversification tactic which if prudently handled, will take on a life both in an out of the Festival season.
“I am particularly excited about Hot Couture. While it may be a bit early too predict, it has the potential to deliver a strong legacy both for the exponents of fashion locally, but for value-added to the reputation of Saint Lucia as the Eastern Caribbean art mecca,” Lewis said.
Other than visibility and exposure of Saint Lucian artists and artisans, the SLTB is pleased with the levels of response to and participation in dance and music master classes organized both by the Board and by Labowi Promotions, producers of Jazz In The South. These included workshops delivered by jazz trumpeter Etienne Charles and the FELA Dancers, as well as a musicians’ forum in conjunction with the Eastern Caribbean Collective Organization for Music Rights (ECCO).
The director further contextualized this success in terms of the forging of effective economic linkages between emerging and established economic sectors.
Lewis said: “While the mandate for the creative industries is not directly under the remit of the Tourist Board, it relates to us in two ways. One being that our product development focus must always aim for the retention of what is authentically Saint Lucian. But also because fortuitously, we are even better able to do that given that we fall under the same governmental administrative structure with the creative industries mandate. I would say we scored highly in this inaugural year of the Festival which is tremendous. The Jazz and Arts Festival will improve Saint Lucia’s visibility in the marketplace.”
SLTB Deputy Director of the Board, Tracey Arnold, also cited innovations in the logistical aspects of main stage management, which brought more coherence to key areas such as production, promotions, traffic management and the onsite patron experience.
Arnold said: “Our optimization of social media in pre-promotion and during the staging of main stage events, effectively sharing the excitement and the buzz in real time with audiences the world over was a first, and extremely successful. We had hits as far as Dubai. We have received several commendations from local and visiting media about the seamlessness of our set-up and media facilitation this year. In fact, the consensus from most is that operational areas like traffic and venue management continues to improve.”
In the estimation of Chairman of the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival Committee, Thaddeus Antoine, of the several ‘firsts’ added to the Festival this year, the increase in free shows, and events close to the cultural personality of the country, as well as trending artistic genres like Spoken Word, succeeded in achieving something which the rebranding established as a priority.
“The people feel more ownership of Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival because they can become fully immersed in the buzz, whether or not they make it to main stage or other paid events. Once there is mass popular ownership, and pride in the Festival, we can only improve and maintain our strategic edge as the festival trendsetter in the Caribbean,” Antoine said.
The Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival boasted over 15 island-wide venues, featuring some of the best live performances spiced with the celebration of Saint Lucian Arts, culture and cuisine. It ran a full 13 days from April 30 to May 12.