One year ago, on this date, I once again travelled to Saint Lucia to cover the Saint Lucia Roots & Soul Festival there. (Thank you Saint Lucia Tourism, Christopher Gustave, Geraine Georges, Events Saint Lucia.) Back in the Helen of the West Indies, a red carpet was laid out for visiting journalists and writers covering the festival and the allied tourism product. I know there is some rumbling on the recent attachment of the Culture and the Arts ministry with the Tourism ministry in the new Trinidad and Tobago Cabinet (I am among those voices stirring in reasoned disapproval.) The use of a festival as a drawing card for tourist to St. Lucia goes back more than 25 years to the first Jazz Festival there, and more. Their Ministry of Tourism, Information and Broadcasting has a Department of Creative Industries which has a mandate “to create an environment for the rejuvenation and celebration of Saint Lucia’s cultural heritage and the development of a vibrant national creative industries programme.” T&T’s administration of culture and creative industries is spread over multiple ministries with budget allocations not sufficient to create an enabling environment for growth of a cultural industry. All that said, here are the reviews of the event. And as a lagniappe, Tropical Storm Dorian was bearing down on the island on the day we were to fly out cancelling our flights and giving us a couple extra days on the island. That is another story for later this week. Enjoy.
This series of reviews of the 2019 edition of Saint Lucia Roots & Soul Festival was first published in the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.
Dateline: Tuesday, 27 August 2019
Headline: Saint Lucia Roots & Soul Festival: a celebration of native excellence
“As preparations wound down for the debut performances at this year’s St Lucia Roots & Soul festival, (I travelled with 3Canal to their soundcheck), one was struck by the significance of the destination festival to this island’s fortunes.
“While competing for Caribbean audiences with Carifesta in TT on this penultimate weekend in August, this festival has as markers the idea that people will come for the music, and that the business of music and culture outweighs the idea of culture as identity and heritage…”
Dateline: Wednesday, 28 August 2019
Headline: Saint Lucia Roots & Soul Festival: the magnificence of Caribbean music
“If the opening day of the three-day Saint Lucia Roots & Soul Festival last Friday was the intimate precursor to a weekend of soul, reggae and R&B music that moves the masses, then Saturday’s concert was a celebration that left no one wondering whether this three-year-old festival was going down the wrong path. The jam was moving, and the audience was there to support it.
“A few thousand people, St Lucians in the main, along with dozens of music fans from neighbouring Martinique, and others, came together on the rolling green lawn of the Pigeon Island Nature Park venue, among the ruins of Fort Rodney, for a reconnecting with the vibe that was a staple at the hugely popular St Lucia Jazz Festival just a few years ago…”
Dateline: Thursday, 29 August 2019
Headline: Saint Lucia Roots & Soul Festival: the energy of Caribbean people
“ON Sunday, the honour of mashing up Pigeon Island Nature Park grounds at the 2019 edition of St Lucia Roots & Soul Festival went to reggae veterans UB40, featuring Ali Campbell and Astro.
This came at the same time as news was filtering around of the pending arrival of Tropical Storm Dorian, which would cancel flights in coming days.
But Caribbean brio has never been bothered by bad news. Give us good music and we will survive…”
© 2019, Nigel A. Campbell. All Rights Reserved.