Travel & Leisure
Experiencing “Jazz” in Tobago
Summer music festival season has officially begun! More than 10,000 music lovers from around the globe came out to the 6th annual Tobago Jazz Experience at Pigeon Point Heritage Park in Tobago this past weekend. Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter John Legend headlined the annual music gathering, which also featured Earth, Wind & Fire, Brandy, and Keyshia Cole.
Friday night, World Music Night, was the most well attended evening of the festival weekend. Cars lined the streets for miles and miles as concertgoers sought to enjoy an evening of diverse musical performers from around the world. The night started with soca sounds from local musicians, before Brandy graced the stage to give a nostalgic run through of her musical catalog, including hits such as “I Wanna Be Down,” “What About Us,” and “Have You Ever.” Brandy’s performance served as the appetizer for the evening’s main course, John Legend as he led the crowd’s excitement for the evening. The R&B crooner performed an evening of hits, concluding with his current number one hit, “All of Me.”
Saturday featured the newest addition to the Tobago Jazz lineup: Youthtopia. The evening featured a compilation of young and up-and-coming talent, such as R’Kardo Stevon and Olatunji showing off their vocal and instrumental talent in various genres, ranging from soca to soul and jazz. The evening concluded with the amazingly talented up-and-coming Jamaican singer, Tessanne Chin who won America’s hearts this year on NBC’s The Voice.
Sunday’s Beach Jazz Fiesta concluded the festival, with performances that were reminiscent of a family picnic with thousands of your closest friends. The line-up included R&B star Keyshia Cole, Earth, Wind & Fire, Tony Paul, Genevieve, Chrycee and the Soleil Band. Cole delivered renditions such as “Shouda Let You Go”, “I Changed My Mind”, “Rick James” and “Heaven Sent.” Afterwards, Earth, Wind & Fire “tore the house down” with a stand on your feet performance. If you haven’t been to Tobago Jazz, the item should definitely make your list for next year!
Tobago, the hidden gem of TNT, is only 20 miles from Trinidad. The island has much more to offer than just the festival, and is an ideal choice if you’re looking for a Caribbean escape. Here are my top picks for some of the unique dining, accommodations, and attractions that make Tobago the perfect island retreat whether or not you’re attending the Jazz Experience.
Coco Reef Resort and Spa: The view as you walk into Coco Reef is breathtaking. Overlooking ocean waters, Tobago’s premier beachfront resort sits on 10 acres of manicured tropical gardens. Whether with family, friends, or your significant other, Coco Reef is the ultimate Caribbean vacation in a casually elegant setting. Because of this, it’s no surprise at the number of awards that the hotel has won when you walk into the gallery. If you’re looking for a great hotel offering great food, fantastic staff, and a delightful beach in Tobago, Coco Reef is your top choice!
Miss Trim’s: For sure, one of the best treats when visiting Tobago is curry crab & dumpling at Miss Trim’s over Store Bay. If you want to be more adventurous, try the conch (the meat from an ocean dwelling shell) served with callaloo sauce made from spinach, pumpkin, and coconut milk or a traditional Caribbean dish such as stewed chicken. Leave your fancy attire at home, these dishes are messy and are meant to be eaten by hand.
Pigeon Point Beach: Tobago has some of the most radiant beaches in the world. If you’re looking for some beachside fun, spend the day at Pigeon Point Beach. With pristine white sand, sky-blue waters, coconut palms, and a variety of water sports, Pigeon Point remains the most striking beach on the island.
Island Girl Catamaran Cruises: Island Girl was the best tour operator that I’ve had the opportunity to set sail on. Cruising out of Mt. Irvine Bay and sailing up to Cotton Bay, get ready for a day of fun, sun, and booze with a fully inclusive boat, including free drinks and a delicious barbecue lunch. As an added bonus, snorkeling equipment is provided so you can suit up, and swim at your heart’s desire.