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Saint Lucia launches summer of festivals

"SOLEIL" is a series of six festivals taking place from May through October.

Saint Lucia, whose global reputation for quality entertainment is built on 25 years of experience hosting the Saint Lucia Jazz and Arts Festival, announces SOLEIL - the Saint Lucia Summer of Festivals, a series of six festivals taking place from May through October.

During a launch held on Thursday, Feb. 2, at the Bay Gardens Hotel, Prime Minister Hon. Allen M. Chastanet stated that Saint Lucia continues to create unique entertainment opportunities for visitors.

"The launch of this festival is just the beginning of the exciting plans we have for the industry," he said. "This is part of our drive to continuously diversify and enhance our tourism product. The idea is when you come to Saint Lucia you can stay all summer long with the extensive events calendar and no shortness of amazing places and sites to visit. We will appeal to all types of music enthusiasts from the region and internationally whether it be Jazz, Reggae, R&B—visitors can now choose which event appeals to them most."

The summer of festivals series will kick off on May 12 -14, with Saint Lucia Jazz, a celebration of Caribbean and international jazz music. Events will take place across the island, culminating with a star-studded concert at Pigeon Island National Landmark on Sunday, May 14.

Star-studded headliners include Grammy nominated singer and actress Vanessa Williams and dynamically talented Rachelle Ferrell. Confirmed headliners such as Rupert Lay, steel pannist Victor Provost and Malavoi, hailing from Martinique, will also take the stage. Saint Lucian Jazz music will also be prominently featured with the Rupert Lay Quartet, Michael Robinson, and the Caribbean band Blue Mangó.

In its first year Soleil will also feature:

Roots and Soul (June 16-18): Dedicated to new trends in reggae, conscious hip-hop, Afropunk and R&B, this festival will also mark the launch of Saint Lucia Carnival.

Saint Lucia Carnival (mid-June through mid-July): A variety of musical competitions lead up to the Parade of the Bands on July 17 and 18.  Throughout, Lucian Carnival gives revelers the opportunity to fête throughout the island in true Caribbean fashion.

The Saint Lucia Food and Rum Festival (August 24-27): This gastronomic festival invites chefs, wine connoisseurs, rum fanatics and foodies from the Caribbean and around the globe. Inspired by Chefs Nina Compton and Doran Payne, the event will feature culinary demonstrations, rum and wine tastings, dining events and experiences, and musical performances.

Country and Blues Festival (September15 – 17): The festival will reflect the diversity and modernity of the genres of music that act as powerful storytellers of the past and draw strong parallels to Saint Lucian folk traditions.

Arts & Heritage Festival (October): Building on Jounen Kwéyòl, this month-long festival will celebrate Saint Lucia’s cultural, ethnic and artistic heritage with a variety of performances, seminars, lectures, culinary experiences, street parties and art exhibitions.

Full details about Soleil - the Saint Lucia Summer of Festivals, can be found at: www.stlucia.org/summerfestival.