Big gains expected from Summer Festival

Minister for Local Government and Culture, Fortuna Belrose, has told reporters that she sees ‘tremendous’ financial gains from the Island’s new Summer Festival.

Belrose said the organizers are looking to work within the same budget  yet offer patrons a lot more.

“One of the things you have to realize is that change is always important in our lives. Some people have difficulty adjusting to change. The Jazz Festival as we know it is not going to be, but there will be a jazz programme within the Summer Festival that is organized and it will be an all jazz event. The programme will still be on during the same period of time – we will have the same focus,” she noted.

Belrose explained that the challenge for Saint Lucia is trying to ensure that the island gets maximum benefits from tourist arrivals.

She recalled that the authorities have said in the past that the Jazz festival has outgrown its usefulness and purpose.

“What we are trying to do now is to ensure that we develop a product that will be more enriching and economically beneficial for the country,” the minister said.

She stated that as a result, the Jazz Festival has been expanded into a Summer Festival that includes jazz, rhythm and blues and gospel over a three to four month period.

“We are hoping that whatever we deliver this year would be the beginning of great things to come for our country,” Belrose said.

Last year,Prime Minister Allen Chastanet announced that there would be no Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival 2017.

In making the announcement, the former Tourism Minister said to spend $14 million over two weeks on one event made no sense.

He also said since BET dropped out, there has been no replacement to televise the event.

During its 25-year existence, the Jazz Festival has  brought together international as well as local musicians, and has featured some of the biggest names in music.

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