If the seemingly unending flow of patrons from early afternoon into nightime at the close of the Tobago Jazz Experience on Sunday at the Pigeon Point Heritage Park, is a gauge of its success, then the event lived up to its decade-old reputation of being a leading music event on the island.
And while American acts NeYo, Fantasia and Anthony Hamilton were the headliners, whipping patrons into a frenzy during the early hours of Monday morning, the local entertainers also did not disappoint, bringing their A-game to the event Sunday afternoon.
In fact, the local set the mood for what proved to be a scintillating night of music, which patrons thoroughly enjoyed and danced to like there was no tomorrow.
Even before the show began, the pace was smooth.
The bus service, organised at designated points in Crown Point to shuttle patrons to the venue, flowed seamlessly from 3 pm to shortly before 9 pm.
“I thought they say people don’t have money. Look at what happening here. All these buses full and more and more people keep coming,” commented one stylishly-dressed patron at the main entrance to Store Bay in Crown Point, one of the meeting points for patrons.
A male patron, pleasantly surprised at the support for the event, wondered organisers would meet their targets with $7.3 million pumped into the Tobago Jazz Experience.
“I doubt they will make it,” he predicted, though not saying what these targets were.
At Pigeon Point, the show got off to late start, but former Music Festival winner Latisha Sylvester quickly set the mood right with a few soul classics, injecting a jazz feel, including in the tune, Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing.
Sylvester could not benefit from maximum support as patrons were still filing into the Heritage Park at the time of her performance around 4.45pm.
Early patrons, including many foreigners who came to the island specifically for the show, appeared to enjoy her performance.
Next up was ace saxophonist Francis Prime, who, like Sylvester, also put the audience in a party mood.
Launching his set with the popular Wham ballad, Careless Whisper, Prime quickly picked up the tempo with Voice’s (Aaron St Louis) Year For Love.
This had a large segment of the crowd on its feet.
R&B singer Kalpee, a relative newcomer to many patrons, began his performance with a ballad, What About Us.
Kalpee then performed his recent single, Colourful, which he said, was about some of the positive things that have happened in his life and which, to some degree, can also be interpreted as commentary of the racial diversity that exists in Trinidad and Tobago.
“The song is a big deal for me because I recently came back from Sweden and it was a big culture shock because there is no place like home,” he told the crowd.
After a 15-minute musical interlude by deejay Mighty Crush, it was time for National Panorama champions BPTT Renegades to hit the stage.
Led by Tobago-born arranger Duvonne Stewart, the band dominated the stage with their performances of the David Rudder classic, Calypso Music, Lionel Ritchie’s All Nite Long and Voice’s Year For Love.
Renegades’ ended their presentation with a lively performance of Blaxx’s (Dexter Stewart’s) Hulk.
By that time, the crowd was sufficiently hyped for the performances by NeYo, Anthony Hamilton and Grammy and American Idol winner Fantasia.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and his family arrived at the Heritage Park shortly before 9 pm to much applause. Among those attending the event were Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus, THA Chief Secretary Kelvin Charles, Government senator Foster Cummings, Laventille East/Morvant MP Adrian Leonce, former Tobago West MP Stanford Callender and former President of the TT Chamber of Commerce Catherine Kumar. There was no sighting of newly appointed Tourism Minister, Randall Mitchell.