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JCDC Festival Song Finals sets the tone for Jamaica 50 celebrations

As promised the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) delivered a world class production to over 5,000 patrons at the National Arena on Saturday Night. From start to finish, the event reflected months of preparation, dedication and hard work as the programme moved flawlessly from its start at 7 pm to when the winner was announced at some minutes pass 11:00 pm.

Patrons were treated to stellar performances from the nine contestants who opened the show with various cover songs from some of Jamaica’s favourite acts including Desmond Dekker, Bob Marley, Beres Hammond, Marcia Griffiths and Movado. The tributes were quite befitting the Jamaica 50 celebrations and set the tone for the delivery of their individual entries. Each finalist complete with props on stage some as far as posing on a bike were a delightful treat and patrons expressed their appreciation with resounding applauses and enthusiastic waving of the miniature Jamaican flags given away earlier by the organizers.

The choreography done by renowned Caribbean dancer Dr. L’Antoinette Stines added finish and panache to each contestant’s overall performance and certainly added entertainment value to the show. The Band In2Nation provided solid backing for all acts and also provided support for the two guest acts, Tony Rebel and Bescenta.

There were evident favourites and by the time the panel of judges – Jerome Hamilton of Headline Entertainment, Artist Tanya Stephens, Dr. Donna Hope, UWI, DJ Nicholas “Scrobble” Johnson and Lloyd Parkes from “We the People Band” fame selected the winner, patrons had selected their winner based on performance. There were little echoes of dis-satisfaction from placard bearing supporters who eventually gave in to the euphoria of the moment and cheered on the top contenders.

By no means were there any losers in the competition as all finalists were treated to gift baskets from Excelsior and Supligen, Cellular phones from LIME and cash donations. The biggest prize of the evening was a brand new 2012 Nissan Versa for the winner from the sponsors Fidelity Motors. Other sponsors for the Competition were Vision 2030, Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort, Promo Biz, Shhh Boutique, HEART College of Beauty Services, CVM, HYPE TV, HITZ 92 FM, IRIE FM, ZIP 103, POWER 106, NEWSTALK and HOT 102.

At the announcement of the top three finalists, patrons while they might not have all agreed with the order, were comfortable that the top three of 1st place - Abbygaye "Abby" Dallas (Real Born Jamaican), 2nd place - Tashina McKenzie (Jamaica Beat Dem Bad and 3rd place Oneil "Nazzle Man" Scott (Still Going Strong) deserved their place in history as winners in our jubilee year.

Abbygaye Dallas is the third female to have won the JCDC Festival Song Competition since its inception in 1966. The first was Heather Grant in 1992 with “Gimme Me Back me Sweet Jamaica” and Chetenge in 1999 with her “Born in a JA” entry.

The Jamaica Festival Song Competition is the longest running Song Competition in Jamaica. It is one of the Flag Ship Programmes of the JCDC with its main focus on providing the celebratory mood for Jamaica’s Independence celebrations and acts as  the rallying call that mobilizes the public to come out and celebrate the nation’s achievements. Jamaica Festival Song 2012 was the first of many Jamaica 50 National Events for the month of July.

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