For 2017 Saint Lucia has launched an ambitious initiative – a Summer of Festivals – aimed at bringing tangible and lasting economic, social and cultural benefits to the country and its people. Building on Saint Lucia’s outstanding artistic talent and rich cultural heritage and on its experience in designing and hosting unique events and celebrations such as the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival, Carnival and Jounen Kwéyòl, this new initiative will increase the benefits that festivals and similar events bring to Saint Lucian communities and to society as a whole, while optimising the impact of public expenditure and improving efficiency.

SAINT LUCIA JAZZ FESTIVAL

12 – 14 May 2017

A return to the original vision of a celebration of Saint Lucian, Caribbean and international jazz music, with events in all parts of the country; a mix of free and paying concerts plus educational activities targeted at Saint Lucian and visiting musicians, culminating on Mothers’ Day, 14th May 2017, in a major concert at the Pigeon Island National Landmark.

ROOTS & SOUL FESTIVAL

16 – 18 June 2017

A festival dedicated to musicians who are setting new trends in reggae, conscious hip-hop, Afro-punk and R&B, with performances, master classes and encounters between artists and other actors in the music business. This event will include a professional marketplace that brings together musicians, record labels, online music stores and platforms, specialized journalists and other actors in order to enhance market access for Saint Lucian and other musicians and producers.

Like Saint Lucia Jazz, there will be free and paying concerts in various parts of the island, again culminating at the Pigeon Island National Landmark, this time on Fathers’ Day, Sunday 18 June. This festival will also mark the launch of the Carnival Season.

SAINT LUCIA CARNIVAL

17th – 18th July 2017

Pumping rhythms, sexy costumes and people dancing under the warm Caribbean sun; welcome to Saint Lucia Carnival! Our cultural landscape morphs into a flurry of chrome-plated steel drums, feathers, and beads making Saint Lucia Carnival amazing to behold.

In the months, weeks and days leading up to Saint Lucia Carnival there are numerous must-see events, whether you’re a Carnival veteran or Carnival newbie. Some of the staple events – the Calypso Tents, Calypso Monarch, Party Monarch, and Carnival Parade – are the deep-rooted cultural aspects of Saint Lucia Carnival but it wouldn’t be Carnival without the ‘whining’ and jumping and non-stop partying.

First-time Carnival revellers take note: ‘whining’ is a Caribbean-wide term used to describe the rotational movement of the hips either to the left or to the right, whichever way your waistline can go really. Before you brave any Saint Lucia Carnival event, don’t be afraid to perfect your ‘whining’ motions. You can bet on someone asking pretty ladies to “take ah whine.” Either way, master the move so that you keep up with the locals and really party like a Lucian.

By the time Carnival Monday rolls around, your dancing skills will help burn off all the yummy calories you’ll be consuming. Let’s face it, Saint Lucia’s Carnival food scene is just as fabulous!

The ultimate Carnival experience is joining a “band”. Competing band members flock together at predetermined locations near the staging area for the beginning of what will be a hyperactive dance session through the city’s streets. With speakers the size of warehouse refrigerators, the vibrations and sounds begin, with only the trance of soca leading you throughout the streets of Saint Lucia.

If you’re still alive at the end of Carnival Monday, many band members will go off to enjoy official band parties or you can opt to go home to revitalize yourself. Don’t worry, you can comfort yourself by the fact that the next day is Carnival Tuesday . . .

SAINT LUCIA FOOD & RUM FESTIVAL

24 – 27 August 2017

This is the revival of a festival that first took place in 2006, a gastronomic event to attract the best chefs, wine connoisseurs, rum fanatics and food critiques from the Caribbean and internationally. Inspired in part by the outstanding achievements of Chefs Nina Compton and Doran Payne, this unique event promotes Saint Lucian and other Caribbean rums, restaurants, chefs, and regionally manufactured food and drink products to a regional and international audience. Enjoy food demonstrations, rum tasting, wine tasting, gastronomic dinners and community culinary experiences, all accompanied by musical and other artistic performances by young artists from Saint Lucia.

COUNTRY & BLUES FESTIVAL

15th – 17th September 2017

Experience an encounter between genres of music that are rooted in folk traditions, with the musician serving as a storyteller and expressing the emotions, struggles and hopes of real people. This festival reflects the richness, diversity and modernity of these musical styles.

ARTS & HERITAGE FESTIVAL

October 2017

(Creole Day celebrations 28th – 29th October)

Building on the celebration of Creole Day (Jounen Kwéyòl), which began in Saint Lucia in 1981, this month-long festival is a celebration of the richness and diversity of Saint Lucia’s cultural, ethnic and artistic heritage. With musical, theatrical and other performances plus seminars and lectures, varied culinary experiences, street parties and art exhibitions, this festival will culminate on the weekend of 28 – 29 October with a celebration of International Creole Day in designated communities, marking the end of Saint Lucia’s first Summer of Festivals.