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It was a potpourri of colours, music and dance inside the National Stadium Friday (August 6), as thousands of Jamaicans turned out to the Grand Gala in the national colours to celebrate Jamaica’s 48th anniversary as an independent nation.
Jamaicans packed into the National Stadium, and the excess crowd had to watch the spectacle from screens set up inside the National Arena, which was also full to capacity. More than 4,000 performers, including 2,000 from the street parade held earlier in the day, regaled the crowd with song, dance, band performances and a bike and lighting show.

Performers channeling the beauty of the butterfly in a dance piece called ‘Wings of Love’ intended as a celebration of beauty and a call to protect the fragile, during the Independence Grand Gala at the National Stadium, Friday (August 6), which formed part of activities to celebrate Jamaica’s 48th year of Independence.

Pointing to this year’s Festival theme ‘I believe in Jamaica,’ Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, reinforced the importance of the event to building national pride, and described it as money well spent.
“We have to do the things that make us proud Jamaicans. What we do here is not just about having fun, but what we do is part of a social intervention process. All the youngsters who participate are from poor communities and you have some of them politically polarised, but this brings them together,” she noted.
She said that some aspects of the celebrations were scaled down, such as the number of floats in the street parade, as the Government did not want to be elaborate, in light of economic constraints. However, despite this, there were more performers involved this year than in 2009, she said.
One patron who enjoyed the celebrations inside the Stadium, Shawn Ferguson, said he was impressed by the quality of the show the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) presented, as well as the number of persons who came out.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Honourable Olivia Grange (left), greets the 2010 Jamaica Festival Queen, Johnnell Smith (right), as Executive Director of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, Grace Silvera, looks on. They were interacting during the celebrations for Jamaica’s 48th Anniversary of Independence, at the Grand Gala, held at the National Stadium in Kingston, Friday (August 6).

One of the participants, a member of a group of performers from Fletcher’s Land, Kingston, said she had attended other galas as a patron in the past, but her experience as a performer was more exciting because of the interaction.
Executive Director of the JCDC, Grace Silvera, said the Grand Gala was “excellent”, and a colourful display of the components of Jamaican culture.
“Overall, from the turnout that you see, the black, green and gold is bold. Lots of energy and we are extremely satisfied this evening,” she said.

Performers create a spectacle of colour inside a packed National Stadium, in Kingston Friday (August 6) as Jamaicans celebrated the 48th year of Jamaica’s Independence at a Grand Gala.

She noted that, from a logistics standpoint, everything flowed as planned, as the JCDC was able to work on weak areas, drawing on experience gained from previous Grand Galas.
Miss Grange disclosed that some of the plans for Jamaica’s 50th anniversary celebrations, scheduled for August, 2012 are to be unveiled soon. She said a local team of organisers is being formed, as well as others from the Jamaican Diaspora.

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