Stewart has been billed as the headline act for the event which runs from April 25 to 27, but fans can also expect to enjoy a command performance from another soul icon Diana Ross, who returns to the festival for a second year.
Recently voted the “third Biggest Event on Planet Earth” by Forbes 500, the Plymouth Jazz Festival will also include Peabo Bryson and James Ingram on April 25. They will share the stage with the legendary Smokey Robinson.
Shakira, who shook up the international pop charts with her Grammy-award winning single “Hips Don’t Lie,” a duet with Haiti-born hip hop star Wyclef Jean, is expected to stir things up on April 26. Her cast mates include fellow Grammy alumna, the R&B group En Vogue, and reggae icon Steel Pulse. Stewart and Ross will close off the weekend on April 27. Ross returns after last year’s disappointing performance which had to be cut short to accommodate R&B/hip hop star Mary J Blige.
Putting to rest rumours that King of Pop Michael Jackson and R&B superstar Beyonce, were the headline acts this year, CEO of CL Communications Ltd, Anthony Maharaj, yesterday apologised for the late announcement of the 2008 entertainers during a media briefing at Tobago Hilton, Lowlands.
He said the names of the stars could not be released before their contracts had been finalised.
Negotiations are still underway to secure contracts for Jill Scott to perform on Friday night and Whitney Houston as well as two other artistes for Saturday and Sunday nights.
Negotiations are also being finalised for the local artistes, however, Imij & Company and Roy Cape All Stars have already been included in the line-up.
Maharaj announced, as well, that pan will share the main stage this year. Last year, Pan Trinbago had lobbied for the national instrument to be included in the festival.
Ticket prices have also been raised this year and tentatively will cost US$120 on April 25; US$200 on April 26 and US$225 on April 27.
The budget is expected to surpass last year’s $32 million expenditure due to the “rising cost of everything” as well as some of the demands of the artistes, like Stewart who has requested a private jet for himself and his family.
Maharaj also announced the possibility of extending the three-day event to one week when the festival celebrates its fifth year in 2009.
Meanwhile, Tourism Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly Neil Wilson, said the demand for rooms for the festival has outweighed the stock available.
Wilson said there were only a few rooms at small establishments that have not yet been booked . He said although 1,000 new rooms are due on stream within the next year or two, there is a dire need to accelerate the pace of construction.
He said initial negotiations to have a cruise ship berth at Scarborough to provide additional rooms have been cancelled as the ship would have cost US$9 million for the three nights.