Asserting that Saint Lucia reached a point of diminishing returns for its world renowned jazz festival long ago, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet disclosed Wednesday that the purpose of the event was being defeated, necessitating a revamp.
Chastanet, a former Tourism Minister, was addressing the opening of the 6th annual Saint Lucia Showcase – North America being held here from July 18-19 at the Harbor Club.
He declared that although this country became famous for its jazz festival, like many other such events in the world, it stopped being a jazz festival and became a music festival.
According to Chastanet, the event was no longer ‘genre specific’.
“Every year we were trying to out-do last year because we were being measured by how many more people came and how big of an artist we were able to get,” Chastanet observed.
“So when I had Coco Palm, believe it or not, it used to hurt me when there would be 30 or 40 rooms in my hotel that were being booked by the Saint Lucia Tourist Board and being paid for by taxpayers’ money.”
“I would say too, that at least one third of the rooms that were booked on the Island were being paid for by taxpayers. So there were production people and there were artists,” the PM told his audience.
“So what we did is that we have brought jazz back to what it was before – a genuine boutique jazz festival.”
“So if you have jazz aficionados and they want to be able to go to one place in order to see 13 or 14 of the best jazz musicians in the world at the time, this is where you will be able to send them, and we have done it in smaller, intimate settings in which it does not disrupt the life of Saint Lucians.”
Chastanet, who is also a former Director of Tourism, recalled that what had happened was that jazz was on Pigeon Island.
“Everybody on the Island was moving to Pigeon Island, so all the restaurants and bars were empty. So the goal here now is to put the actual venues – 400 seater venues, in the villages and do as in North America and have two shows a night.”
“It means you can go to an early show and a late dinner, or you can go to a late show and an early dinner.”