Fringe Fun In The Sun

If you are looking to escape England next summer then the country, people and music of Saint Lucia have it all

Words by Daniel White

The Great Escape, Brighton Festival, Shakedown, SD2, Love Supreme, Brighton Pride, Brighton Fringe, the list goes on.

In Brighton we are lovers of all things creative… especially music.

Brimming with talent and libertarian unpredictability, it is a breeding ground for artistic expression and, in particular, the Fringe Festival has become renowned for its outside-the-box boundary-pushing performances, from music to plays to comedy and cabaret.

Therefore, it is with open arms that we welcomed the inaugural Fringe St. Lucia to our sunny city; forming an artistic, cultural, economic and educational collaboration between Saint Lucia and Sussex.

Fringe St. Lucia is the younger sibling of Saint Lucia’s Jazz and Arts Fringe Festival, which takes place on the Caribbean island from April 30th – May 11th, and has now developed a strong link to the Brighton Fringe Festival.

The Saint Lucia Fringe is one of the most anticipated events in the Caribbean calendar, providing a gathering ground for music lovers throughout the islands to assemble and enjoy many types of genres, including jazz, soul, R&B, reggae, Latin, pop and hip-hop.

While there are headline performers at each year’s event – this year included The Commodores and Tessanne Chin – there is also a heavy focus on the fringe events across Saint Lucia, with concerts and small performances being played at malls, restaurants, marinas, hotels, bars and more, all for free.

Much like the world’s third largest fringe festival, which takes place across Brighton throughout May, the Caribbean Jazz Fest includes a few higher profile performances, with the largest gathering coming at Pigeon Island for the weekend’s headliners.

However, it is the fringe events that dominate the calendar and are regularly the starting point for many artists, as legendary jazz pianist Monty Alexander explains.

“The fringe events are very crucial because that’s more valuable than playing in your school or to your professor with letters after their name,” affirms Alexander. “That’s good but when you’re playing for people it’s life, you’re playing in front of people and that’s what I grew up on, that’s what Charlie Parker grew up on. So playing at a live event with live people, that’s a better school in my opinion.”

Monty Alexander
Monty Alexander

Many visitors make the trip for the festival alone, yet, there are a plethora of other reasons to visit this island in the sun.

Fun is sure to be had here, with tours including the Segway Nature Trail, an island zip line tour, the All Terrain Vehicle Trail and the St. Lucia Volcano Tour, which includes a mud bath and a waterfall swim.

There is also a warm welcome from the locals. Tourists are treated well, with the locals on the island enjoying good conversation and, as Alexander explains, a sense of pride in representing Saint Lucia.

“Everybody’s gracious,” he begins. “People are friendly and warm, it’s the ideal island in the sun and of course the environment is just breath taking. Saint Lucia is a beautiful place with good people and they love their music and their country.”

With some of the most picturesque sights across the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, there are also an endless list of treks, trails and walks to experience including the Gros Piton Hike and the Tet Paul Trek as well as a range of Rain Forest Hikes.

Although, if your sole aim of visiting Saint Lucia is to cram in as much music and fun as can be had, then the Friday Night Jump Up is not to be missed. The quiet fishing village of Gros Islet transforms every Friday night into a huge street party welcoming anyone and everyone.

There are BBQs and drink stalls set up in the main street and, with booming speakers playing music into the early hours, it is a great experience that allows tourists to have an authentic taste of the real Saint Lucian lifestyle and culture.

From England, flights can take between 8-9 hours and, therefore, it is worth your while to stay for at least a week. As such, hotel choice can play a big part in your island experience. Hotels and Resorts based in the upper quarter of the island – from Castries upwards – provide the best opportunity to experience everything Saint Lucia has to offer.

Hotels in Rodney Bay such as Coco Palm Resort, Bay Gardens Beach Resort and The Ginger Lily Hotel provide luxury living at an affordable price but if you want to go all out then Sugar Beach Resort cannot be beaten.

Personal butler service, separate swimming pools for each room, a tree house Rainforest Spa, three restaurants, four bars, a pool and a private beach as well as some of the most picturesque views on the island make Sugar Beach the most lavish location in Saint Lucia and is renowned for its celebrity visitors.

There are also different ways to travel to Saint Lucia, with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and the recent addition of Thomas Cook all offering a non-stop return ticket to the island from as cheap as £559 per-person in summer.

So if you have a chance to make the trip to Saint Lucia next May for their Jazz and Arts Festivals then it is an experience not to be missed, one you will not regret and one I cannot recommend highly enough.

However, if you are feeling the pinch next summer then make sure to visit one of the events by Fringe St. Lucia that bring a taste of the Caribbean to your doorstep.

To find out more about the island of Saint Lucia visit

For more information or to book Sugar Beach Resort visit

To book Coco Palm Resort visit

To book Bay Gardens Beach Resort or Hotel visit

To book The Ginger Lily Hotel visit

For more information on the catamaran tour visit