The annual Honey Jazz Barbados Festival had their launch at Frank Collymore Hall where producer Ebonnie Rowe announced that this year’s festival “features a week of activities January 19-28 at venues across the island from St. Philip to St. Lawrence Gap to Bridgetown to Surfer’s Bay! Jazz enthusiasts will have an opportunity to enjoy a dinner/show combo, a freestyle jam session, even a cooldown Sunday Yoga session. There is something for everyone!”
Rowe, while acknowledging that sponsorship had been challenging, was clear in her commitment to producing the Festival against the odds, saying that “you don’t give up when you have a passion for something just because things get hard”. She went on to announce that they are excited to have the support of the Canadian High Commission who will be flying in Canadian artist Shakura S’Aida to do some vocal coaching with the artists and to make a special appearance this evening on the Concert stage.
Her Excellency High Commissioner Marie Legault spoke at the launch and said she is excited about partnering with the brand since they have a shared vision in promoting women. She commented, “Personally I am very passionate about gender issues, about women’s rights as is the Government of Canada. Ebonnie is a trailblazer who has been working assiduously for over 20 years to support young women. We are very happy to be associated with her initiatives.” She assured although this was the first time they areworking with Honey Jazz it would not be the last and that she will also be hosting a special reception for Honey Jazz at her private residence to celebrate the Festival and welcome artist Shakura S’Aida to the island.
Sponsor Dr. Kerry Hall of Barbados Tourism Product Inc. said “Events such as this are wonderful, top class, high quality experiences for our visitors. The BTPA is happy to forge a partnership with Honey Jazz to ensure that the event continues so that visitors can go back home and tell others. Partnerships such as this allow us to achieve our objectives as we seek to develop a sustainable cultural industries sector.”
Musical director Jomo Slusher, Bandleader Kevyn Lynch and Honey Jazz host Caroline Reid all spoke about their support of the festival and the importance of platforms for local artists and musicians to be celebrated and recognized.
At the end of the launch, some of the artists performing at the festival treated the audience to an impromptu Jazz freestyle, showing the world class talent that will be taking to the stage.