Cayman Islands -- The Cayman Islands -- noted abroad for
recreational diving and offshore banking -- could soon add festival
organization to the list of national pastimes.
Attendance at the
Cayman Jazzfest on Grand Cayman last month was indicative of the
burgeoning interest in festivals, particularly music-related ones,
throughout the Caribbean. In just its second year, the music event
drew nearly 2,000 visitors to the islands for three days in
George Duke, Ravi
Coltrane, Earl Klugh and Al Jarreau performed alongside dozens of
local musicians who drew upon a range of genres, including steel
band and reggae.
Jazz is not
endemic to the Cayman Islands, so festival organizers were
cognizant of the need to present a lineup that would draw in locals
and give the event a more organic feel, said producer Shomari
iteration of the festival added more side attractions apart from
the main stage events and also varied the overall ambience and
setting, which ranged from an intimate,
late-night jazz club atmosphere one weekday evening at the Westin
Casuarina Resort and
Spa to open-air, beachfront settings for weekend
The Friday evening venue was the Tree
House site, just south of the starting point of Seven Mile
that 40% of festival attendees were Caymanians and -- encouraged by
increased sponsor support and broadcast coverage by Black
Entertainment Televisions BET Jazz network- said the jazz festival
will now be an annual event.
for the 2006 Cayman Jazzfest have yet to be determined.
festival was bumped from June to December to give more time to
hurricane recovery efforts leading into the high season; Hurricane
Ivan struck the Caymans in September 2004, and the destination has
been in recovery mode since.
But the picture
today is a much brighter one than it was a year ago, with
condominiums and hotels -- including the new 356-room Ritz-Carlton,
Grand Cayman -- reporting solid bookings this winter.
By March, more
than 1,500 guest rooms will be back in the Caymans accommodations
inventory -- a number surpassing pre-Ivan levels, according to
Pilar Bush, director of tourism.
On the airlift
front, the launch of Spirit Airlines nonstop, daily service Feb. 9
from Fort Lauderdale to Grand Cayman will make the destination more
accessible to middle-income U.S. travelers, according to Bush.
Business-class fares will cost what economy fares used to cost,
Bush said. The arrival of a low-budget carrier will help boost our
Spirit Air is
going to make the Caymans, Bush predicted.
On tap for
February in the Caymans is a bi-island arts festival, set for Feb.
8 on Cayman Brac and Feb. 10 to 18 on Grand Cayman, as well as a
Mardi Gras blowout on Little Cayman on Feb. 18.
& Wine Classic 2006, March 3 to 5, Grand Cayman. This epicurean
event will showcase international culinary fare, signature island
drinks and local dishes. The Westin Casuarina developed a special
dinner menu that will be served at its Casa Havana restaurant
during the event. For details, visit www.westincasuarina.net.
National Arts Festival, April 20 to 29, on all three islands.
Cookoff, May 13, Little Cayman.
celebrations, July 7, Little Cayman.
Pirates Week Festival, Oct. 27 to Nov. 5, Grand
For a full
calendar of Caymans festivals and events, visit www.caymanislands.ky.
the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to [email protected].