JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) festival bandwagons will roll into their towns and communities, bringing a taste of Independence and Emancipation festivities to their doorsteps.
  • A mobile showcase of the best talents in the performing arts from various communities within the parishes, the festival bandwagon series, which kicked off on Sunday, August 2.
  • This new element presents an opportunity for persons, particularly those in deep rural communities, to get involved in the celebrations.

Jamaicans, especially those residing in rural areas, are in for a special treat this year, as the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) festival bandwagons will roll into their towns and communities, bringing a taste of Independence and Emancipation festivities to their doorsteps.

A mobile showcase of the best talents in the performing arts from various communities within the parishes, the festival bandwagon series, which kicked off on Sunday, August 2, is one of the JCDC’s new and exciting additions to this year’s festivities, being celebrated under the theme: ‘Proud and Free…Jamaica 53’.

According to the JCDC’s Marketing and Public Relations Director, Stephen Davidson, this new element presents an opportunity for persons, particularly those in deep rural communities, to get involved in the celebrations.

“It’s a celebratory and reflective time…for us to reach out to the different communities to persons who may not get to go to (events such as) the Grand Gala,…(by offering them) a taste of (the) Gala,” he tells JIS News.

Mr. Davidson explains that the festival bandwagons will, up to Wednesday, August 5, simultaneously make their way through the different regions via motorcades, and will make stops at designated locations where stage shows will be held.

“So, deep in the community, other persons (will be) able to see some of the best in traditional folk forms, the best in music, drama, (and) speech, we have the different marching bands, different costumed groups,” he outlines, adding that prizes for patrons will be up for grabs.

Mr. Davidson notes that while focus is being placed on rural communities this year, the intention, in the long run, is to roll out the festival bandwagon concept islandwide.

“So in every parish, there will be vigils, there will be thanksgiving church services, sound of drums on Emancipation Day, Independence Day, flag-raising ceremonies, stage shows, and mini-galas, as well as street dances happening in communities and town squares,” he says.

Another new feature introduced this year was a market place, dubbed ‘Curry Come Uptown’.

This saw vendors at the Coronation Market in downtown Kingston, being hosted in a farmer’s market at the Independence Village, created inside the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, Hope Road, St. Andrew, on Emancipation Day, Saturday, August 1.

Making its return to this year’s festivities is the Festival Fashion Theme, for which Jamaicans are invited to wear designs, throughout the festival season, depicting the 2015 theme: “Bandana Wid Denim…Ketch Di Fashion Riddim”.

“We are encouraging designers, dressmakers, just about everybody to participate in this. We invite them to go out and purchase the materials and (use them) to make those different outfits that would match the fashion theme,” Mr. Davidson says.

Merchants are also encouraged to stock up on the bandana and denim material, so that members of the public will have adequate supplies.

There will be a special fashion show titled, ‘Fashion Greets Music Festival’, which is also scheduled for the Independence Village, on  Monday, August 3, beginning at 8:00 p.m.

‘Fashion Greets Music Festival’ is a musically infused fashion show that will match the fashion of the time with the corresponding musical era. It will also feature various well-known Jamaican personalities and performances by some of Jamaica’s top musical acts.

Individuals are urged to join in lively ‘Link Up and Labrish’ discussion fora that will also be held at the Independence Village.

These engagements, which started on August 1, are slated to run until August 5, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.

They aim to generate meaningful debate around the country’s achievements and vision for the future of its diverse culture and heritage.

The discussions will be presented as ‘conversations’ that will be managed by a moderator who will place, in context, the sub-theme and issues or questions that are to be examined.

Each session features five panellists who will make initial presentations, to be followed by interactive discussions involving members of the audience.

Audiovisual presentations will also be included at various junctures of the discourse.

Some 30 Jamaicans, representing a wide cross section of cultural sectors and backgrounds, including youth, have been recruited to moderate and sit as panellists.

Jamaicans can also look forward to the other usual activities, which include: Mello-Go-Roun on August 4; and World Reggae Dance Championship on August 5.

The festivities will climax on Independence Day, Thursday, August 6 with the Grand Gala, at the National Stadium, in Kingston.