If you were to send clients to Saint Lucia for a Danilo Perez concert alone (as if the island had nothing else to offer; no spectacular scenery, hotels, or cuisine) they’d be forever grateful to you. Or if you were to get foodie clients to a meal cooked by star chef Nina Compton, or book party-loving clients for the Saint Lucia Carnival, you’d have clients for life. This year’s May-October festival season will be that good, and, in a way, it’s a whole new ballgame for this stunning island.
The Saint Lucia Tourist Board has created a new committee, The Events Company of Saint Lucia, to oversee six major festivals under the banner Soleil: Saint Lucia Summer Festival. The new entity is helping each festival maintain the highest standards, ensuring the participation of international stars, tomorrow’s stars (especially from the Caribbean), quality facilities, and opportunities for locals and visitors to share great cultural experiences. Here’s the line-up:
- Saint Lucia Jazz, May 12-14:
Both the Caribbean artists (e.g. Malavoi, Bluemango) and international stars (Danilo Perez, Vanessa Williams, Rachelle Ferrell) actually play jazz! I call that refreshing and honest programming for a modern jazz festival.
- Roots & Soul, June 16-18:
This series of concerts featuring reggae, conscious hip-hop, Afropunk, and R&B, will directly precede Carnival, so the smart money books stays long enough to enjoy both.
- Carnival, mid-June – July:
Parades, costumes, dancing, music, perhaps a taste of rum…
- Saint Lucia Food & Rum Festival, August 24-27:
This is an island where produce is grown locally, not just shipped in from Florida, and some of America’s star chefs, such as Nina Compton and Doran Payne, are local products as well. Expect sit-down dinners, demonstrations, farm tours, even music.
- Country & Blues Festival, September 15-17:
Creative, smart programming, because country and blues, although often thought of as separate strands, are children of intersecting folk traditions.
- Arts & Heritage Festival, October:
Music, dance, theatre, street parties, art exhibitions, and food that celebrates Saint Lucia’s Creole roots. Remember, the French were here before the English.
Also, contrary to popular opinion, a wide range of accommodations are available on Saint Lucia, and that will only continue to grow. Minister of Tourism, Information, and Broadcasting Dominic Fedee said at CHTA Marketplace that he expects 1,000 new hotel rooms over the next two or three years.