St. Lucia ready for Jazz this weekend

BET EVENT Productions Produces Red-Hot St. Lucia Jazz Performances To Air Later On BET and BET J

CASTRIES, St. Lucia – St. Lucia is choc-a-bloc for this weekend’s 17th Annual St. Lucia Jazz festival, one of the Caribbean’s premier musical attractions, produced by BET Event Productions and promoted on top cable networks BET and BET J.

Senator Allen Chastanet, St. Lucia’s Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, reports that hotels are fully booked and that a regional airline is putting on extra flights so patrons can attend the top-rated festival which features Michael Bolton, Air Supply, Angie Stone, Anita Baker, Dianne Reeves, Dionne Warwick, Jonathan Butler, Najee and Wyclef Jean in the line-up this weekend.

Senator Chastanet, who founded the festival along with BET Executive Vice President Paxton Baker in the early ’90s, said straight-ahead jazz on Thursday, nostalgia on Friday and smooth jazz on Saturday and Sunday are the highlights for this weekend’s showdown on the historic Pigeon Island in northern St. Lucia.

“The feedback has been phenomenal (and) hotels are full. In fact, LIAT is putting on additional flights intra-regionally to be able to meet the demand that we are seeing for the festival,” said Senator Chastanet, who reported a 17.7 percent increase in stopover visitors to the island for the first three months of the year.

Cybelle Brown

“We are honored to continue playing a key role in promoting St. Lucia and St. Lucia Jazz over the years,” said St. Lucian native Cybelle Brown, Vice President of Sales and Business Development with BET Digital Networks. “We are extremely proud of this event and will continue to maximize our media resources to achieve increased business to the island. This year’s line-up has generated tremendous support from our digital platform, BET.com, which plans to air and promote exclusive behind the scenes footage of the festival to millions of BET.com users. This is phenomenal for St. Lucia!”

Senator Alan Chastanet

Senator Chastanet reported good feedback to the 2008 St. Lucia Jazz Preview Show which ran on BET J’s popular “Island Lime” Saturday format and featured actresses Kim Fields and her sister Alexis Fields Jackson, as they explored the unique and idyllic attractions of St. Lucia.

“I thought BET J’s pre-show was fantastic and so were the shows of past performances at Jazz,” Senator Chastanet evaluated. “We are always very grateful to the team at BET Event Productions, BET and BET J for the continued exposure they’re giving St. Lucia,” he said, adding that pairing BET’s production team with local producers, a substantial increase in local sponsors as well as increasing the economic impact of the festival have been key goals this year.

Festival acts include the Juilliard Quintet, featuring saxophonist Ron Blake, trumpeter Eddie Henderson, drummer Carl Allen and bassist Ben Wolfe. Others showcasing their skills at St. Lucia Jazz will be saxophonist Jacques Schwartz-Bart; keyboardist Alex Bugnon, guitarist Nick Colionne and neo-soul singer Ledisi; along with top local and Caribbean performers.

St. Lucia’s 10-day jazz celebration focuses on the straight jazz category but also features acoustic, new age, jazz, soul, fusion, R&B and Hip Hop, and it is held in a variety of locations and venues around the island.

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