The Caribbean St Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival is here for 2016, and it’s celebrating its 25th anniversary. With a line-up of blazingly hip performers, it’s the perfect time for music lovers to visit. Long before I considered a holiday to St Lucia, with its lush beauty, attractions and jazz festivals, I sat a world away with rain pattering against the window beneath a blanket-grey British sky.
The scene is some dusty London pub. It’s a chandelier-swinging kind of night with jazz pumping through the walls to the rhythm of clinking glass and growling ambience. Me, I sit in the corner ingesting the new-wave of groove-strung cool when a man approaches. This was a gentleman who spent his St Lucia holidays sailing the seven seas. Above the noise, he speaks in a drawl laced with sea-salt. He says, ‘Like Jazz? I’ll tell you about Jazz.’
It’s how I learn about his St Lucia. His words take me to St James’s Club Morgan Bay resort and its nearby jazz-centric festival of the serener variety. For this contemporary Caribbean swashbuckler, it’s a home away from home. The gentleman spoke of the idyllic setting. ‘No need for buried treasure when the whole island is gold,’ he says.
A holiday to St Lucia is like a painting or, indeed, a jazz melody: wild at parts, and exciting at others. Then the host of sights, activities, and serenity of your St Lucia holiday build to a musical crescendo of volcanic proportions. Afterwards, the melody sinks to a tranquil ambience. Instead of art or song however, locals compare St Lucia to a real human being: Helen of the West-Indies. She’s got a vibrant Caribbean personality combined with an unspoken beauty plucked out of a fairytale. From the surrounding turquoise ocean to the verdant Piton Mountains, St Lucia has a look you get lost in. And she’s got good jazz.
Hotels like The BodyHoliday are a five-minute drive from the jazz-infused Pigeon islands, making it a great place to experience the sounds. So far, St Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival has heard more than 420 hours of music from over eleven thousand songs by close to a thousand artists. This year, the performers include Kool and the Gang, Shaggy, George Benson, Air Supply, Joey Alexander, Omi, and more. It’s safe to say the venue sees its fair share of cool cats. It seems Helen of the West Indies bears witness to waves of soul wash up on her shores for a Bebop pattered St Lucia holiday. She’s an Island built-up with laid-back musical fervour, where double-basses rain from the sky and trumpets grow on trees. But sometimes her best sounds are silent.
If festivals aren’t your thing then the jungle anorak of Lady Lucia hides a multitude of romantic retreats and outdoor adventures alongside its well-known sunspots for sizzling off the Jazz fever. There’s jungle tramways, segway tours, horse-riding and zip lines to enjoy. A jazz festival time-out makes the southern Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa less than an hour’s drive to St Lucia’s famous Pitons, Quilesse Forest Reserve, or La Soufriere’s drive-in volcano. There really is something for everybody. And all this, it only scrapes the surface. A holiday to St Lucia is for more than the jazz enthusiasts. Turns out, it’s a world top for honeymoon destinations, romance and love with several adult-only St Lucia holiday options catered for. As for my new friend, well. He’s already married to St Lucia.
Book a St. Lucia holiday with Kenwood Travel today to experience the world of Caribbean jazz for yourself.