TOBAGO House of Assembly (THA) Tourism Secretary Nadine Stewart-Phillips yesterday gave the 2018 Tobago Jazz Experience a “thumbs up.”
Speaking to Newsday, Stewart-Phillips said the show surpassed her expectations.
“I would say is basically, the Tobago Jazz Festival 2018 has indeed been an experience that was worth the wait, worth the price, and I am very thankful and pleased for the overall execution,” she said.
The Tobago Jazz Experience featured two shows over the weekend, the first being the Jazz in the East Caribbean Night at Speyside on Saturday, with Jamaican reggae artistes Tarrus Riley and Tanya Stephens.
The event’s closing show at the Pigeon Point Heritage Park on Sunday, dubbed World Music International Night, featured headliners Ne-Yo, Fantasia and Anthony Hamilton. It also featured performances by National Panorama champions bpTT Renegades, ace saxophonist Francis Prime and former music festival winner Latisha Sylvester.
On the Pigeon Point show, Stewart-Phillips said: “I was very very satisfied and outside of the headline acts, even our local acts from Tobago and our Trinidad performers as well. I was very satisfied.”
Asked if she had received feedback from patrons,she said: “I have been going through some messages and a lot of them were saying it was a great show, the best Tobago Jazz Experience they have been to. A lot of persons were saying we can only go up from here. All of the responses thus far have been positive.”
Stewart-Phillips said after the show, patrons also approached her, commending the Tobago Festivals Commission for its hard work. She said the event should be a staple on Tobago’s entertainment calendar for a long time to come.
“That is one of the reasons why, after 2017, an evaluation was done, so that the recommendations that were made by the committee, we were able to start implementation, including putting all festivals under one body so we could market that one body – Tobago Festivals Commission– and of course, managed by the Tobago Tourism Agency.”
Stewart-Phillips said for next year’s event, attempts would be made to ensure two headline acts are retained as early as possible “so that we can start marketing who those persons are to attract much more of our international guests to the destination.”
Last week, chairman of the Tobago Festivals Commission George Leacock said the commission and the THA had retained economist Dr Ralph Henry, head of Kairi Consultants, to do a comprehensive economic-impact assessment of the Tobago Jazz Experience over the past ten years.
This, he said, would determine its viability to the island’s tourism product.
There have been some concerns about the benefits of the event to Tobago’s economy.