2017 Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival on a growth curve

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Boquete’s main musical event grows

Last time the best known member of the 70s band War, since largely a solo artist heading the pack of the world’s harmonica players, the Danish immigrant to the USA Lee Oskar, was the star of the Boquete Jazz & Blues Festival. In 2017 he will be back with the true successor to War, The Lowrider Band. (For those of you who are provincially Panamanian in outlook, lowriding isn’t an isthmian thing — for one thing our streets and roads are too poorly maintained to support it. It’s a Southern California Mexican-American thing. Maybe The Donald’s new Responsible Hispanic Spokespeople might be able to explain it: all Latin American cultures are not the same.) If you are more decidedly a soul-influenced gringo and are down for the struggle, or were back then, you may know the sound of these folks from the anthem.

But look down the chart a bit and you see Patricia Zarate and a band from the Danilo Pérez Foundation in the lineup, and take note of that tie with the much larger, a bit older and more internationally renowned Panama Jazz Festivals. Intertwining institutional roots can probably be broken down mathematically or empirically into several indicia of growth even if the grasping types who have driven the world economy into a hole won’t be able to see anything too significant on the bottom line. Alas, Volcan Baru has a deficit of volcano virgins these days and there are logistical limits to how many people whom the little mountain town of Boquete can comfortably host. If you sacrifice people or things on an altar of growth, then Boquete is perhaps not the place for your wildest dreams, even if the area is and has been growing. So Goldman Sachs is not a corporate sponsor, nor is the Trump Ocean Club. But Wyndham, whose Tryp hotel is at the end of the mall between the national bus terminal and the Albrook airport, surely ought to get some business from those who fly into Tocumen, then take domestic transportation to Boquete and back, then fly back out from Tocumen. The Tryp would be a logical place to stay between international and domestic flights for those who want to make less grueling travel plans. Maybe or maybe not for that reason, Wyndham is one of the Boquete festival’s sponsors this year. Then set aside all of those considerations for a moment and if you’re an old hippie online publisher who periodically puts out emails that include notices of things to do in Panama, the February 9-12 cast of performers at Boquete represents growth.


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