The grand final of the Jamaica Festival Song Competition will be held on Sunday, July 15 at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on Hope Road in Kingston, beginning at 6:00 p.m.
It will be the first event for the 56th anniversary of Jamaica’s Emancipation and Independence celebrations, being held under the theme ‘Jamaica 56 – One Love…One Family’.
The event, which is free to the public, will be streamed live across three platforms – the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) website, Facebook and YouTube.
Head of Marketing and Public Relations of the JCDC, Andrew Clunis, told JIS News that the Festival Song winner will be chosen by a panel of seven judges who are knowledgeable about the music industry and the festival product.
“Those judges will deliberate about the criteria given to them to select a winner,” he said, adding that much emphasis will be placed on the quality of the song. Mr. Clunis pointed out that the writer of the song will receive a special prize.
Persons who submitted entries to the competition were exposed to workshops to improve their stagecraft, writing of lyrics, composition of melodies as well as learning the basics in music theory.
Meanwhile, Mr. Clunis is calling on Jamaicans to come out and support their favourite performer.
“It is going to be a great evening of entertainment. We might think it is down to the contestants, but we have done a bit more and we are offering the pubic a bit more in terms of entertainment,” he said.
Performers at the event will include guest artiste Leroy Sibbles, past Festival Song winners Roy Rayon and Tinga Stewart, and the ASHE ensemble.
“We will be bringing to the audience all that is Festival and all that is celebratory about our Independence in their presentations,” he added.
Explaining why the final will take place two weeks before the Independence celebrations, he said the idea is to allow the public to become familiar with the winning song.
“In order for us to have that song that we are familiar with and to sing along, we need to give time, and so when we select the winning song on Sunday, it will be for us to say to Jamaica, here is your Festival song,” he said, adding that it will be on every radio station in Jamaica and overseas.
“Come Independence, it will be on everybody’s lips and everybody will be dancing,” he said.
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’.