Festival Song Competition Revamped

Photo: Mark Bell The Honourable Olivia Grange, the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport with past Jamaica Festival Song Competition winners, Roy Rayon and Tinga Stewart (left to right) and Silvero Castro, Commissioner at the JCDC at the launch of the 2018 Jamaica Festival Song Competition. The event was held at The Twenty-Three Bar on Dominica Drive in New Kingston yesterday (November 30).

The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport will be implementing a number of initiatives to breathe new life into the annual Festival Song Competition.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Olivia Grange, said the programme for the selection of the winning song will start earlier in the year in order to facilitate several activities, including the staging of a series of development workshops across the country.

“These workshops will address writing, performance and publishing rights, intellectual property rights as well as image and branding,” she noted.

She was speaking at the launch of Jamaica Festival Song Competition 2018 at @TwentyThree, J. Wray & Nephew Corporate office in New Kingston, on November 30.

Ms. Grange said further that the new programme will feature a series of road shows and special appearances, which will give the performers the necessary exposure and give members of the public the opportunity to get to know the songs and the artistes.

“We will also court the participation of members of the Jamaican diaspora in the selection of the winner, through the production of music videos, social media postings and live streaming of road shows and special appearances,” she indicated.

She noted that the winning entry will be announced early in July going forward.  This, she said, will allow the Festival Song to serve its purpose as the musical backdrop for Emancipation and Independence, while helping to bring the nation together in a time of celebration and national pride.

Ms Grange said the Ministry has also undertaken a serious review of the prizes for the Festival Song competition.

“We are going to have a total prize package of $10 million. We are going to make sure that there are prizes for the performer, songwriter and producer… (and) the 10 finalists will benefit from participating in the competition,” she pointed out.

She invited corporate Jamaica to partner with the Ministry, noting that “we’re not only rebuilding the vibes and returning excitement to our Festival Song Competition, but we are also creating several opportunities to promote brands and products to a global audience”.

Meanwhile, Ms. Grange informed that the Jamaica 55 Commemorative Album, which features re-recordings of some of the country’s most beloved Festival Songs, as well as commissioned tracks, has been completed.

The proceeds from the sale of the album will go towards an insurance and welfare fund for the music industry.

“The Ministry has a $10-million grant that is going to seed this insurance plan,” said Ms. Grange.

“We have an insurance plan for athletes, and so we are developing a similar insurance plan and welfare fund for the music industry. So with the $10-million seed money from the Ministry, the proceeds from this album and other productions that we intend to do, we will be able to give the industry a sound footing in relation to the welfare of the artiste, writers, musicians, related and affiliated artiste,” she explained.

The inaugural Festival Song Competition was held in 1966, with the group, Toots and The Maytals copping the honours with their seminal composition titled ‘Bam Bam’

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