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St. Lucia to launch Summer Festival in Trinidad and Tobago

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Saint Lucia Tourism Authority Caribbean & Events marketing manager Christopher Gustave speaks during the launch of Caribcation at the Harbour Club Media Centre, Rodney Bay, St Lucia, last week. * Abraham Diaz photo

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) St Lu­cia’s 2019 edi­tion of its Sum­mer Fes­ti­vals will be launched in T&T on May 24, 2019, says mar­ket­ing man­ag­er for Caribbean and Events at the Saint Lu­cia Tourism Au­thor­i­ty Christo­pher Gus­tave.

Gus­tave made the an­nounce­ment at the Habour Club Me­dia Cen­ter ay Rod­ney Bay, Saint Lu­cia, dur­ing the of­fi­cial launch of the au­thor­i­ty’s new web­site – Carib­ca­tion.org. The web­site, which caters to the Caribbean mar­ket, is ded­i­cat­ed to pro­vid­ing Caribbean vis­i­tors with the most au­then­tic Saint Lu­cian ex­pe­ri­ence, Gus­tave said.

He ex­plained that Carib­ca­tion was an ini­tia­tive start­ed in 2017 with the aim of cre­at­ing a num­ber of “Saint Lu­cia brand” cal­en­dar events to at­tract more Caribbean vis­i­tors to the is­land. How­ev­er, he said the ini­tia­tive quick­ly grew in­to a stand­alone brand in just one year, re­flect­ing a five per cent in­crease in tourist ar­rivals over the in­au­gur­al year.

The Au­thor­i­ty boast­ed that the brand now has over 14,000 Face­book fol­low­ers, 2,252 In­sta­gram likes and 1776 fol­low­ers.

“Carib­ca­tion of­fers the Caribbean vis­i­tor a plat­form to where ac­com­mo­da­tion pack­ages of up to 65 per cent off can be booked year round,” said Gus­tave.

He said the Sum­mer Fes­ti­val of­fers sev­er­al at­trac­tions, in­clud­ing Saint Lu­cia’s Car­ni­val, which be­gins next month and con­cludes in Ju­ly, fol­lowed by its ul­ti­mate beach par­ty-Mer­cury Fest from Ju­ly 20-21.

Asked why T&T was the cho­sen as the lo­ca­tion for the up­com­ing launch, Gus­tave said T&T was Saint Lu­cia’s sec­ond biggest mar­ket with 20,000 an­nu­al ar­rivals, while Mar­tinique was its first with 32,000 vis­i­tors per year.

The launch is sched­uled to take place at One Wood­brook Place, Port-of-Spain and will fo­cus on all things Saint Lu­cia, in­clud­ing high­lights of this year’s Saint Lu­cia Jazz Fes­ti­val, Car­ni­val, Mer­cury Fest and des­ti­na­tion up­dates, among oth­er key ar­eas.

Me­dia from var­i­ous coun­tries, in­clud­ing T&T, are cur­rent­ly in Saint Lu­cia cov­er­ing its an­nu­al Jazz Fes­ti­val, which has a few changes this year, hav­ing moved from its tra­di­tion­al venue at Pi­geon Is­land, Gros Islet, in the north­ern re­gion, to var­i­ous venues across the is­land. Not on­ly has the lo­ca­tion changed, but al­so the mu­si­cal pre­sen­ta­tion has moved from one ex­treme to the oth­er, do­ing away with the mu­sic fes­ti­val- type ap­proach and re­turn­ing to au­then­tic jazz.

Both the al­ter­ations are not sit­ting too well with some Saint Lu­cians though. Some of them told Guardian Me­dia the change in venue and per­form­ers had caused a de­cline in busi­ness for them. Taxi dri­vers, in par­tic­u­lar, say busi­ness has been very slow in com­par­i­son to years gone by.

How­ev­er, in a pre­vi­ous in­ter­view, the au­thor­i­ty jus­ti­fied its de­ci­sion, say­ing the sole pur­pose was to re­store re­al jazz to the fes­ti­val and to give pa­trons of the fes­ti­val brand op­tions and the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence var­i­ous parts of the is­land dur­ing this peak time. The venues are now spread out and staged in more in­ti­mate spaces.

The over­haul was done in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Jazz at Lin­coln Cen­ter, New York, which teamed up with the Saint Lu­cia Jazz Fes­ti­val for the first time this year.

In an in­ter­view with Guardian Me­dia, Ja­son Olaine, di­rec­tor of pro­gram­ming and tour­ing at the Lin­coln Cen­ter, said the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the au­thor­i­ty and Lin­coln Cen­ter was forged af­ter a line up at the Jazz Fes­ti­val last year was ti­tled af­ter his or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Olaine said he was hap­py to part­ner with the Au­thor­i­ty in its quest to re­turn au­then­tic jazz to the fes­ti­val. He said they have al­so worked with the au­thor­i­ty to host work­shops with var­i­ous jazz greats like Gre­go­ry Porter and T&T’s very own Eti­enne Charles.

An­oth­er prod­uct of this col­lab­o­ra­tion was the first ever Jazz Cruise which took place on May 8 aboard The Pearl. The three-and-a-half hour cruise was well at­tend­ed and of­fered an evening of live or­gan­ic jazz and cui­sine. That event fea­tured lo­cal sen­sa­tion Rob Zii and Phy­ness, Rus­sell Hall and his band fea­tur­ing South African jazz vo­cal­ist Vuyo Sa­tashe and tap dancer Michela Mari­no Ler­man.

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