Tobago hotels boss: THA’s Jazz cancellation should have been sooner

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Singer Sharon Phillips performs at Tobago Jazz Experience 2023. File photo –

TOBAGO Hotel and Tourism Association (THTA) president Alpha Lorde believes an announcement about the cancellation of the Tobago Jazz Experience should have been made much earlier.

The Tobago Festivals Commission, in a release on March 8, announced that the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) will not be hosting the Jazz Experience this year.

The commission said this was due, in part, to the “current model of the festival not being deemed as sustainable.”

As a result, the commission said there are plans to shift the bulk of the management of the event to private promoters.

In February 2023, Chief Secretary Farley Augustine announced the THA’s hosting of Tobago Jazz for the first time since the covid19 pandemic, but revealed that the plan for the future was to let private companies take charge.

But while jazz enthusiasts were mulling over the confirmation of the cancellation of Tobaago Jazz Experience, a promotion company, BlackTwoSugars, hosts of Jazz on the Beach 2023, announced the inaugural staging of the Tobago Jazz & Music Weekend, scheduled for April 25-28.

In a release on March 11, the company said the line-up of artistes during the three-day extravaganza includes Bajan Grammy winner Arturo Tappin, Trinidad’s finest jazz ensemble Elan Parle featuring Caribbean jazz queen Vaughnette Bigford, and Tobago’s very own Kye De Vere and Kay Alleyne.

In an interview with Newsday on March 12, Lorde said while he supports the THA’s decision to review the viability of the Jazz Experience, the timing could have been better.

“I would have probably liked the announcement much earlier and a more strategic partnership with the private sector on transitioning to a private sector-led initiative. Even if it was supported by the private sector or not, I think making the announcement at this hour, when persons may have decided already, ‘I’m coming to Tobago for jazz,’ kinda leaves the thing in a state of flux. My only difficulty with it is the time with which they took to make the announcement.”