|St. Lucia Jazz Festival|
|Genre||Jazz, R&B, Calypso|
The first St. Lucia Jazz Festival was held in 1992 as an initiative to extend the tourist season and increase foreign exchange in Saint Lucia into May which had previously been a relatively quiet period. It was inspired by the launching of the October Jazz Festival in 1991 spearheaded by Luther Francois as Musical Director. Originally 4 locations were used; however today the festival has expanded and several locations around the island are used to host performances (see list below). At first, the festival attendances were small. But as the years passed, word spread helped by coverage on the BET J television network, and it is now a well-established fixture on the Jazz festival calendar.
In 2011 the St Lucia Jazz Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary which was a rare achievement as several other Jazz festivals established in the Caribbean region had failed. More recently, in 2013, Saint Lucia Jazz was rebranded as the Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival. The rebranding included a fashion show branded as Saint Lucia HOT Couture, the Cultural Explosion, Saint Lucia Sound Stage, and Blu Session - Word in an Altered Scale. Dance, art, theatre and culinary arts formed part of the new rebranding experience.
Performers have included George Benson, Mary J. Blige, Boyz II Men, Ciara, En Vogue, Herbie Hancock, Lauryn Hill, India.Arie, The Isley Brothers, Elton John, R. Kelly, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, John Legend, Mario, Branford Marsalis, Ne-Yo, Ocacia, Courtney Pine, Rihanna, Smokey Robinson, Santana, Trey Songz, Angie Stone, UB40, Luther Vandross, Amy Winehouse, American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino, and Malcolm-Jamal Warner. The event is ranked second in the Caribbean after the Trinidad Carnival.
Venues used to host performances include Pigeon Point National Park ("Main Stage" & "Side Lawn"), Derek Walcott Square in central Castries ("Jazz on the Square"), The Great House, Fond D'or Heritage Park, Rudy John Beach Park, Vieux Fort Square, Balenbouche Estate, (the previous three events making up "Jazz in the South"), Soufrière Waterfront, La Place Carenage ("Teatime Jazz"), Duty Free Pointe Seraphine ("Jazz on the Pier"), Rodney Bay Beachfront ("Jazz on the Beach"), Mindoo Phillip Park, Royal St. Lucian Hotel,Fire Grill (Jazz on the Grill), Rodney Bay Marina and Gaiety on Rodney Bay.