Tobago Festivals CEO: Almost 70% of Jazz Experience visitors from Trinidad

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Tobago Festivals CEO John Arnold. Photo by David Reid

TOBAGO Festivals Commission Ltd CEO John Arnold says research has shown the Tobago Jazz Experience has traditionally attracted approximately 70 per cent of visitors from Trinidad.

And he expects that percentage will be maintained or increased for the upcoming Jazz Experience: The Return from April 20-23, given the efforts being made by the commission, THA Division of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation and its supporting agencies to market the island’s signature event.

“You have a festival that has a name, and the jazz following is one that’s known, but the research has indicated that over 65-70 per cent of visitors for Tobago Jazz comes- from the domestic market in Trinidad. I think that will continue,” Arnold said on Thursday on the Tobago Updates morning show.

“The efforts will continue, through the regional and the international markets, for all of those jazz followers and people who follow festivals. And I think just the idea of jazz, the return, is really something that augurs well.”

He said though numbers cannot yet be predicted, all the relevant agencies should “support this effort of bringing people to Tobago.”

Arnold said he has already been receiving phone calls from people in the US.

On Wednesday, he confirmed that acclaimed R&B group Boyz II Men, local singer Vaughnette Bigford and reggae artistes Koffee, Richie Spice and Everton Blender will be among the acts at the event.

Also in the line-up are musician Theron Shaw, saxophonist Tony Paul and singer Sharon Phillips.

Saying the Tobago Jazz Experience: The Return was advertised in the Caribbean Beat magazine, Arnold said a full rundown of three-day event will be revealed at a 4pm news conference on March 7 at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex.

“We anticipated that once that was out, we basically had what was called a soft launch. But the official launch will take place next week Tuesday, and I don’t want to pre-empt that.”

He did say the gospel jazz concert will be held on April 20 and Speyside Jazz on April 22. The event climaxes on April 23, international night, at the Pigeon Point Heritage Park.

Arnold believes the event will be a huge success.

“I can assure that it’s going to be a good festival. I can’t think of the last time I heard this kind of buzz yesterday, I had to literally stop answering my phone. The buzz is just kind of crazy, and I think we have to ride with it. This is all tourism.

“The aim of the festival is to bring people to the island.

“We have so much to offer in Tobago that is much more than the music.”