Exporting Saint Lucia’s Music Scene

Burton Agnes Jazz & Blues Festival – 30th June – 2nd July 2017 | Driffield, Yorkshire, U.K.
The Burton Agnes Jazz & Blues Festival, which began in 2007, is celebrating its tenth anniversary over the weekend of Friday 30th June to Sunday 2nd July 2017. To help them celebrate, they have invited some “very special guests from the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia, home to the internationally renowned Saint Lucia Jazz Festival.”

Following Simon Cunliffe-Lister’s visit to the Caribbean Specialty Expo, the call went out on BurtonAgnes.com – “Come and enjoy the best of Saint Lucian jazz talent, with the island’s famous rum cocktails and Caribbean cuisine.”

The musician and stately homeowner worked with TEPA to find some of Saint Lucia’s hottest musical talents, evaluating ten acts in a specially-arranged showcase and selecting a final line up of four, described on the website as Dynamix – Vibrant young sax-led quartet. Claudia Edward – Caribbean gem and Saint Lucian household name. Rupert Lay Quartet – Steel pans add the quintessential Caribbean edge to this jazz guitar trio. Chrycee – Soulful singer-songwriter with distinctive style.

A festival organiser sourcing talent is certainly a new type of “buyer,” and according to Andrina Simon, facilitating this particular link was very exciting. “Burton Agnes is one of the most prestigious small jazz festivals in the world. We saw it as an ideal opportunity to gain exposure for our young, upcoming jazz artists in an international market, so in collaboration with the British Caribbean Chamber of Commerce, we facilitated the buyer to come to the expo in Saint Lucia. The idea was for him to assess some of our young artists and audition them for the jazz festival, so we worked with the Ministry of Culture to put on a showcase of ten artists, which became part of the entertainment for the exposition.”

Cunliffe-Lister shortlisted a surprising seven artistes from the line-up, and the successful final four will travel to the U.K. with TEPA representatives in June to perform throughout the weekend of the Burton Agnes Jazz & Blues Festival, with Saint Lucia Distillers stepping up to provide the festival-fuelling rum.
There will also be an exhibition of Saint Lucian art in the gallery at Burton Agnes Hall throughout the summer, offering local artists exposure to more than fifteen thousand of the fifty-five thousand visitors who flock to the stately home every year.

For TEPA, the facilitation of traditional export trade is becoming more complex, diverse and exciting than ever before, with skill and talent-based exports requiring a new approach to selling the intangible. The agency is hoping that success stories like the Saint Lucia / Burton Agnes initiative will be an important feature of future expositions and export strategies.

Stately Home Of Jazz Burton Agnes Hall is a house of immense charm and character. It has many unusual features and is fortunate in suffering so little from alterations or additions in its history. Since the Norman Manor House was built by Roger de Stuteville in 1173 the property has never changed hands by sale, though it has passed from family to family on occasions when the male line has ended.

The beautiful proportions of the Hall and its adherence to the principles of Tudor Renaissance architecture (Commoditie, Firmness and Delight) confirm that a professional hand drew up the designs. The architect was in fact Robert Smithson – Master Mason to Queen Elizabeth I and builder of such other famous houses as Longleat, Wollaton and Hardwick. It is the only Smithson house where the plan still exists, in the RIBA collection. In his definitive book on the Smithsons, Mark Girouard called Burton Agnes a ‘splendid and glittering composition’.

Burton Agnes Rocks! ‘Now this is a proper music festival.’ The Times ‘Possibly the most enjoyable jazz concert I’ve ever attended’ The Independent ‘They say that good things come in small packages. This may be one of the summer’s smallest gatherings, but it’s also one of the most sophisticated…’ Daily Mail One of The Daily Telegraph’s Best Festivals for the Over-50s.