Tobago’s Utopia Weekend brings 2 days of musical fusion

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Annalie Prime –

MUSIC lovers will be in Tobago for Utopia Weekend, featuring two days of jazz, soca, reggae and afrobeats, from July 18-19.

Among the top artistes scheduled to perform are Patrice Roberts, Freetown Collective, Annalie Prime, Adana Roberts, Isasha, Jah Melody and Sharon Phillips. The Katzenjammers Steel Orchestra will provide sweet steelpan music.

The ground-breaking event, hosted by Opulence Promotions, under the direction of Erlan Clarke, will be held at the Speyside Recreational Ground on Saturday and the Buccoo Historical Park on Sunday.

Clarke told Newsday the two-day cultural extravaganza, billed as a hybrid experience, features an “exquisite fusion” of music, food, art and fashion.

Freetown Collective lead vocal Muhammad Muwakil –

“It’s not an all-inclusive. What we’re really doing is showcasing food vendors from the Tobago space, different culinary foods.”

He said the idea was linked to the reopening of the economy after the country’s two-year struggle with covid19.

In April, THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine said although the assembly would not be hosting the annual Tobago Jazz Experience, it would support private jazz ventures on the island. Augustine said the THA would review the viability of the event before lending any support.

Clarke said he immediately seized the opportunity.

Soca star Patrice Roberts. FILE PHOTO/DAVID REID –

“Initially, it was a one-day event (in Buccoo) but after first advertising, the Chief Secretary would have seen it. He indicated that he would have liked to see something in the east that weekend as well. We would have reached out to him and sent in our proposal and idea to execute one in the east, which he would have given the approval for, after consideration.

“So the first part of it, which is the 18th, is a free event which would be funded by the THA.”

On Saturday, from 4pm at the Speyside Recreational Grounds, patrons can expect to see the popular A Team band.

“Based on the trend from previous Jazz Experience shows on that end, Saturday is more a combination of reggae artistes.”

Clarke said the A Team will be doing a full tribute to late soca artiste Dexter Stewart (Blaxx).

On Sunday, the action heads to the Buccoo Historical Park from 2pm.

“When we say art, we’re looking at having a small craft market kind of area that we’re looking at artwork, painting, carvings, jewellery, pottery.”

He added: “Our headline act is Patrice Roberts with a live band. What she’s coming to give is a full concert performance in the space. We also have Adana, Qua, Stephanie Joseph and Freetown Collective.”

He said people have been expressing interest in attending.

“So far, the response has been great. In response to buy-in, the hype is there. Persons are purchasing tickets especially in the Trinidad space more so, ready to come across. The demand is there, the demand is high. Tickets sales right now is going well. It’s trending up, especially in the Trinidad space. In the Tobago space, it has started to trend upwards about a week ago.”

Although this is the first year, he hopes it becomes a fixture on the island’s calendar of events.

With less than one week until the event, Clarke said he is thrilled.

“I’m excited, I’m geared, I’m ready to execute the events. The experience that we normally bring to events from Opulence Promotions, we normally go hard on our execution based on the experience when coming to these things, so we’re definitely have a beautiful show for the two days ready and geared for patrons.”