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Winehouse set for St Lucia festival

By Sima Kotecha
Newsbeat US reporter in St Lucia

Amy Winehouse seems to have made the Caribbean island of St Lucia her home in recent months and is rewarding locals with an appearance at the local jazz festival on Friday night, something which is said to have brought thousands of fans to the island.

Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse has told locals she loves St Lucia

It sounds like Amy Winehouse has become one of the locals in St Lucia.

After all, she's been living on the island for the last few months. Many have seen her and even spoken to her.

And it's no surprise she loves St Lucia. The green hills, huge palm trees and sea views are breathtaking.

Landing at Hewanorra International Airport, you're welcomed by two huge mountains. Smoke covers their tips.

The peaks sit above a crystal-clear sapphire ocean. Apparently from the top of them, you can see the whole island and a couple of its neighbours including Barbados and Martinique. It's something tourists are told they must see.

Local impression

A taxi driver was waiting for Newsbeat in the baggage reclaim area.

Kevin Charles is a 30-year-old man who was born and raised in St Lucia.

He took the luggage and put it in the boot of his burgundy Toyota and asked: "Are you here for Amy?"

St Lucia
It's not hard to see why Amy Winehouse likes St Lucia

According to him, Amy Winehouse has made a real impression on the locals.

Kevin, who sees her walking around regularly, thinks she's great.

"She's a cool person," he said. "She talks to everybody and she's not like a star. She's an islander now like all of us."

As the car was driven from the airport to the hotel, driver Kevin steered the van with one hand around potholes, while speaking to friends on his mobile about Amy's long-awaited performance at the jazz festival on Friday night.

Festival 'honour'

Amy Winehouse is going to be performing on Pigeon Island, which is where some of the festival is taking place.

The singer said in a statement she was honoured to play at the festival and that she was currently recording on the island which she dubbed a "home from home".

She added: "Since I first came to the island, I have been greeted with nothing but kindness and friendship, as well as incredible music and the most beautiful of settings.

Fans of Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse fans have flocked to the island to see her

"I have made friends for life and have been inspired by my surroundings."

It's thought her appearance has brought thousands to St Lucia, including a load of Brits.

At the Cotton Bay Village resort in Rodney Bay, people are taking it easy.

The staff at the front desk explain Amy and her people are staying there.

They even point out her white villa, which is in the middle of the complex. A couple of lights inside are switched on.

Up the ramp and around the corner from it, is the beach bar. A group of women from London are having white wine with burritos and chips.

'Healthier look'

They've seen Amy several times and plan to see her at the jazz festival.

This lady didn't want to give her name to Newsbeat but said: "She's looking a lot better than last year. She's put a bit of weight on and just looks healthier."

She explained the singer had been sat with her near the beach a few days ago and told the bartender to turn the radio off when a track of hers came on.

Lerroy works behind the bar and told Newsbeat he'd served Amy a few rum and cokes.

He said: "She's a fantastic individual. She's a very sociable person. We talk about her music and she tells me she really likes jazz and said something like she really loves St Lucia."

It's not supposed to be difficult to spot Amy at the resort, and if she feels like it, many here say she'll say hello and have a natter.

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