Sat | Apr 20, 2024

Three Festival Song entries identified for Ja 60 celebrations

Koffee, Shaggy, OMI, Inner Circle to be part of commemorative album

Published:Monday | June 13, 2022 | 12:09 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Winner of  the Jamaica Festival Song 2018 Grand Finals Nazzle Man (left) is presented with the grand prize of one million dollars by Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange, and Interim  Executive Director of JCDC, Orville Hill.
Winner of the Jamaica Festival Song 2018 Grand Finals Nazzle Man (left) is presented with the grand prize of one million dollars by Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange, and Interim Executive Director of JCDC, Orville Hill.
Dancehall artiste Stacious accepts the award from Entertainment Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange during the result show for the 2021 version of the National Festival Song Competition at the National Indoor Sports Centre.
Dancehall artiste Stacious accepts the award from Entertainment Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange during the result show for the 2021 version of the National Festival Song Competition at the National Indoor Sports Centre.
1
2

The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, is exploring alternative means of “rallying the nation” after announcing that the Jamaica Festival Song Competition would not be part of the diamond jubilee celebrations this year.

In a press conference held via Zoom last Saturday, commissioners of the JCDC, members of the adjudication panel, including Freddie McGregor, Alaine, Gussie Clarke, Cleveland Browne, and Donovan Germaine, as well as Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, aired their opinions on the matter at hand and addressed some of the backlash the announcement of the cancellation has received.

Some 123 entries were received for the competition, and according to the competition’s committee Chairman Orville Hill, the entrants for the Festival Song contest, overall, did not attain the relevant standards and the judges were not able to make a recommendation for the top 10 finalists, which was accepted by Grange.

“The judges identified and indicated that there were two songs worthy of recognition as entry songs and having received that information, the minister spoke with the panel of judges and asked them to revisit the songs to see if any other, or several others, could be found,” Hill said.

Noting the rules and regulations of the competition, he added that, “The JCDC reserves the right to select or reject any entry and by entering, entrants accept and are bound by all terms”.

Out of this, one other track was selected. “It is disappointing for all of us, and look forward to having a Festival Song that will be galvanising to all of us,” he said.

However, the question of whether there should still be a competition was presented among other matters, including stigmas attached to a Festival Song and the panel not having a judge that represents the younger generation, which, after a short debate, was excluded from the discussion.

Gregory Simms, the director of events management and production at the JCDC, said that the viability of a Festival Song is not new, but like most of the members present, he trusts Minister Grange’s intentions to revitalise the cultural event.

“It is a challenge to engage the community. We have to hit the ground in a two-pronged approach so that the format will engage amateurs, certainly by rolling out workshops and engagements, and by having regular dialogue with industry experts to identify the ebb and flow of the competition,” Simms said.

The pandemic would have created some delays in launching the workshops that are normally held, said Grange. She also stated that she would be going to the Cabinet this week to voice the suggestion that three songs be highlighted in a competition.

“It would normally a competition among 10 songs. This year, what we have to do is make a determination…Do we have a competition among those three songs, or have them released and use those three? Or do we want, as was also recommended to me and what I have initiated, to have a Jamaica 60 commemorative album on which those three songs will be part of that album?” the minister asked.

Grange added, “We cannot have a competition among the three songs that have been selected. We have, over the years, selected 10 songs and there have been persons who criticise (annually) that the quality is low and the quality this, the quality that. So if you do one or the other, there will always be those who criticise.

“I’m asking the public: Do we want to have a competition with 10 songs, no matter the quality of the songs? is that what we really want as a county? Will radio stations play those songs? It is hard enough to get them to play the songs. What I have done is, I approached a number of persons, and I have had responses from some of them. So, the album will have a Koffee, Shaggy, Freddie McGregor, OMI track, and a track from Inner Circle. There are a number of persons who expressed an interest to make a contribution,” Grange explained.

With or without a Jamaica Festival Song Competition, there will be a Jamaica 60 commemorative album. Grange added that she has instructed the JCDC to ramp up the workshops over the next 12 months, because “we will definitely have a Festival Song Competition next year”.

stephanie.lyew@gleanerjm.com