THA Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transport Tashia Burris has described the 2023 Tobago Jazz Experience as “a resounding success.”
She spoke with Newsday on Tuesday by phone.
The event, which started last Thursday and ran through to Sunday, was held under the theme: The Return: Much More than Music.
“I am just extremely pleased with how the Tobago Jazz Experience this year turned out. It could not be done by one entity alone, it was not the effort of one person alone...but I certainly want to thank members of the public for continuing to support the product, continue to support brand Tobago, continue to support our thrust of becoming the greatest little island on the planet.”
She said it was not envisioned a year ago when the planning began, “that the return would have gathered so much support.
“Especially post-covid19. Jazz has a special place in the hearts of so many Tobagonians, and from what I saw from the beginning, gospel night – the first time we’ve had a gospel night – the overwhelming response that we got, we really started off the jazz festival with a bang. The performances were great: top-quality performances from our international headliners, our local gospel stars, our regional gospel acts.
"The turnout was impressive.”
She said even on Friday night, Seafood Jazz, “The place was ram out, as we attracted a huge crowd of locals and visitors.”
This made way for Speyside Jazz at the Speyside Recreational Grounds.
“Thousands of persons were able to witness the performances from our headline acts,Richie Spice, Everton Blender and a very solid cast of local performers. Again, a very beautiful experience, on the east side of the island. I think I am really lost for words.”
At the final show on Sunday, the international night at the parade grounds of the Dwight Yorke Stadium featured Boyz II Men and Koffee as the main acts.
“We attracted a mammoth crowd.”
She said she is satisfied.
“From all accounts, persons thoroughly enjoyed the weekend. I’ve just been receiving messages of congratulations and positive reviews of all aspects of the staging of the jazz this year, from the artistes, the layout, locations, logistics.
"From all accounts, we had full sailings coming from Trinidad. We had full planeloads of persons coming to enjoy the jazz festival in Tobago.”
She said it had been a long journey, with many sleepless nights and many conversations.
“I think Tobagonians can be well satisfied that we put on an excellent festival. I must thank the Tobago Festivals Commission and all of their staff for all of the hard work that they’ve put in.”
She added that events tourism is alive and well.
“We’ve shown the world that we can put on a world-class event, we’ve shown the world that we have some of the best locations and backdrops to host events, we’ve shown the world that we can welcome the best in the world to be in Tobago and make Tobago the greatest little island, in terms of entertainment and events and just enjoying the island life.”
At the end of every event, a postmortem is held, she said, and this year would be no different.
“We see where we had our challenges, we see where we did not do so well, we see where we performed exceptionally and we continue improving and we continue looking for ways to improve upon the product...
"It's very important that we sell Tobago as an events-tourism destination and we sell Tobago as a premier events-tourism island.”