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‘Soleil’ Jazz Not So Bright

Image: Vanessa Williams warms up Mother’s Day.
Image: Vanessa Williams warms up Mother’s Day.
Vanessa Williams warms up Mother’s Day.

THE first jazz festival under the Soleil brand of festivals for the summer ended on Sunday with the jury still out on its impact on the tourism sector on a whole.

Jamming to the beat.

While first-time venues like Royalton Saint Lucian scored big on Friday evening in patron support and quality of music, the Main Stage events at Pigeon Island National Landmark over the next two days could not boast the same.

Saturday’s event produces a woeful gathering in comparison to previous years. The day’s performances included Bluemango with Jean Caze and Malika Tirolien, Kenny Garrett, Richard Bona with Mandekan Cubano.

Sunday’s offering, usually the centre-piece of the festival, was miles ahead in terms of crowd support, with the big attraction being Vanessa Williams, Rupert Lay Quartet, Victor Provost Quartet, Rachelle Ferrell and Malavoi. However, that crowd support failed to match the usual high numbers on previous final days of the festival.

If anything, one good thing emerged from this year’s festival – it carried the jazz theme throughout its four-day span, which was the case in its early years until it evolved into a music festival with various genres of music included.

Image: There was plenty music but the patrons were few.
There was plenty music but the patrons were few.

As to whether this will remain is unclear. However, the high level of professionalism and standards from local artistes featured in the festival was glaring.

Image of Richard Bona
Richard Bona

Michael Robinson’s set was nothing short of top quality, as were Ronald “Boo” Hinkson and the Young Stars, Bluemango with Jean Caze and Malika Tirolien and, of course, the enthusiasm of the Laborie Steel Pan Orchestra.

Image of Nancy Charles enjoying the mood.
Nancy Charles enjoying the mood.

Crowd support certainly dipped this year but jazz enthusiasts did have a ball and the musicians — local and foreign — did deliver. Here’s a look at some of the faces at the park. However, poor marketing of the festival seemed to have cost it its usual positive accolades this time around.

Image of Rachelle Ferrell
Rachelle Ferrell

The second festival under the Soleil brand kicks of next month, namely the Roots and Soul Festival.

Image: Laborie Steel Pan Orchestra ‘steel’ the show.
Laborie Steel Pan Orchestra ‘steel’ the show.

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