Each January some of the leading jazz artists congregate in Barbados to perform over the course of a week at various venues across the island.
The venues are usually Sunbury Plantation House, Heritage Park, The Sir Garfield Sobers Gymnasium, Colony Club Hotel and Farley Hill National Park.
One of the highlights of this festival is the two-day open-air concert held at Farley Hill National Park. Farley Hill was once the home to the stateliest Mansion House in Barbados. It was owned by an English planter, Sir Graham Briggs, here he entertained King George V in 1879 on his visit to Barbados.
The film ‘Island in the Sun’ was filmed there in 1965, sadly later on that year the house was destroyed by fire. In 1966 when Barbados gained its independence Queen Elizabeth II officially opened Farley Hill as a National Park.
Here, jazz resounds across the ‘hill’ while spectators enjoy the music from under the canopy of the mahogany forest that graces Farley Hill.
The walls of the house still stand and are used as a stunning back drop for the stage, which for 2006 saw live performances from the world famous Lionel Ritchie, Roy Hargrove, Roberta Gamberini, Artwork, Wayne Willock, Jill Scott, Mike Phillips, Norman Brown, Cindy Alexandra, Arturo Tappin, Boney James, Gary Davis Band, and the Cuban Jazz All Stars.
The Barbados Jazz Festival in 2007 saw performances from Terrence Blanchard & Robert Glasper, Hal Linton & David ‘Ziggy’ Walcott, Macy Gray & Marissa Lindsay, Karen Briggs, Anita Baker, Arturo Sandoval & Arturo Tappin & Stanley Clarke, Ruben Studdard & Will Downing & Goapele.
Two glorious days of picnicking fun – an event not to be missed!