Kingston, Jamaica: The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, the organiser of the Jamaica Festival Song Competition, has begun the assessment of the more than 200 entries received by the deadline Wednesday, February 28.
The number of entries represents a new record for the competition which has been running since 1966. The response to this year’s competition has pleased the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, who had given clear instructions to the JCDC to revitalise the competition.
Minister Grange’s instructions to the JCDC included: the incorporation of industry players and stakeholders in the planning and execution of the competition; the development of potential participants through workshops and seminars across the country; more attractive prizes and awards; and nationwide promotion of the competition.
At the launch of the Festival Song Competition in November, Minister Grange announced total prize package of ten million dollars (J$10M) to be shared among songwriters, producers and performers.
“It is my intention to have the Jamaica Festival Song Competition return to its former glory. I believe we are on our way based on the response so far. We’re returning excitement and interest in the JCDC Festival Song Competition. We’ve received more than 200 entries this year and that is very encouraging,” said Minister Grange.
The assessment of entries will take place between Thursday, March 8 and Wednesday, March 14 by a panel of industry experts, including: renowned Jamaican music producer, Sly Gordon; International Reggae recording artiste, Alaine Laughton; RJR Senior Supervisor/Presenter, Derrick Wilks; Zip Jock Richard ‘ZJ West’ Henry; and Esirom Jamaica CEO, Alex Morrissey,
30 semi-finalists will be selected following the assessment process. The semi-finalists will be required to perform on stage in front of a live audience at a concert, from which 10 finalists will be selected. The top ten will compete in the final round for the title and prizes and will participate in the 2018 Jamaica Independence Festival.
The Jamaica Festival Song Competition, which started in 1966, has produced some of Jamaica’s acclaimed singers and song writers. Past winners have included Toots and the Maytals, Desmond Decker, Eric Donaldson, Roy Rayon. Stanley Beckford and Heather Grant.