FOR the first time in its history the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festiva,l this year will not be produced by Black Entertainment Television (BET) from the United States of America.
A local production company, MCE Sounds, will be taking over, having bid successfully against BET and other production companies from the region.
This is a big boost for the Tourist Board which over the years has been promoting local capacity building in every aspect of the festival.
The Board’s director, Louis Lewis this week spoke of the festival having a greater infusion of Saint Lucia’s cultural heritage, covering the island’s culture and art in all its forms.
“You name it, we have it covered from the spoken word to culinary to entertainment, all aspects of the art form will be covered,” Lewis said.
The festival has been doing much for local artistes and artisans, according to Lewis, especially those who are keen on taking advantage of the several workshops on the different art forms that are in abundance in the country.
Continuing this year there will be workshops for dancers, theatre actors, musicians, would -be chefs and other art forms.
Lewis spoke of an agricultural segment to the festival that will benefit farmers. After all, he noted, the thousands of people who will be visiting the island for the event must eat. As a result an opportunity exists for farmers to provide foods unique to Saint Lucia for their consumption.
The Board, he said, had always been pushing for much local participation in the festival and has succeeded in bringing local artistes to international audiences.