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JIS News

Arrangements are being finalised to enable the public to select the winning song of this year’s Jamaica Festival Song Competition.

The competition was launched recently by Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, when she announced the names of the top-10 finalists.

They are Buju Banton (I am a Jamaican); Freddie McGregor (Tun up Di Sound); Toots & The Maytals (Rise Up Jamaica); Papa Michigan (Jamaica Dance) and L.U.S.T (Wave Di Flag); Odonald “Radix OD” Haughton (The Place to be); Oneil “Nazzleman” Scott (Jamaica Nice); Sakina Deer (We are Jamaica); Shuga (One People); and William “Xtra Bigg” Nembhard (Jamaica a Paradise).

Minister Grange, in a release, had said that the country will know the winning song in time for the Independence celebrations.

“Our goal is to have the industry and the public see this as a professional song competition, one of the oldest of its kind in the world. We intend to deliver in a very big way this year,” she noted.

Chairperson for the Festival Song Committee, Orville Hill, told JIS News that the contestants will perform on Television Jamaica on July 12 and again at the final show on July 19, when the winner will be announced.

“I think we have 10 good entries and I am looking forward to an entertaining and interesting period leading up to the final selection,” he said, adding that the songs “should generate a lot of interest and also set the stage for entries that will come in the year that will follow”.

Mr. Hill said that there would be no road shows this year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the ban on large public gatherings to contain the spread of the virus.

“The promotion will have to be done via traditional media and social media. We wouldn’t be going on the road to do promotions,” he pointed out.

Responding to queries regarding the participation of current and established artistes in the competition, Mr. Hill said that some persons are of the view that it is an “amateur competition”.

“It is not an amateur competition. It is a competition that attracts entrants from across the spectrum, young upcoming talents as well as established artistes in the industry,” he said, noting that contestants in the early competitions “were top performers in our local entertainment industry”.

He said that a special effort was made by Minister Grange to get the input from established persons in the music industry, in an effort to rebrand the competition.

According to Mr. Hill, a ‘Think Tank’, hosted by the Minister, was held with a broad cross section of persons to get their feedback in terms of improving the quality of entries into the Festival Song Competition.

“What we have now is the end result of that initiative,” he said, adding that Minister Grange had also reached out and encouraged music producers and entertainers to participate in the competition.

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