Kingston, 12 July 2018 – “We promised a bigger and better Festival Song competition for 2018 and we are delivering on it,” said the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, as she announced plans for the staging of the first major event of Jamaica Festival — celebrating the nation’s 56th anniversary of Independence.
The Festival Song competition will culminate on Sunday, 15 July 2018 at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre after months of training workshops, selection and development of finalists from more than 200 entries, studio recordings, music video productions, roadshows across the island and a motorcade in the Corporate Area.
According to the Culture and Entertainment Minister, “the crowd response has been tremendous” and the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission is making preparation to accommodate a large crowd for the final on Sunday, which will be free to the public.
“It was important to put the energy back into the Festival Song competition,” said the Minister who made the decision to cancel last year’s competition — in part due to the dearth of quality entries — and order the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission to begin a series of developmental workshops. The result has been a marked improvement in the quality of entries.
Additionally, as part of moves to revive the competition, the Minister ordered a review of the prizes and has now announced that “the writer of the winning song will take home one million dollars and the singer(s) of the winning song will take home one million dollars; so for the winning song the prize money is two million dollars.”
Minister Grange has also announced other prizes: best performer (J$300,000); best vocalist (J$300,000); and best social media campaign (J$200,000). Each of the ten finalists will receive J$150,000 while all writers, producers and singers will receive plaques in recognition of their efforts.
Gates open at 6pm for the Festival Song Final on Sunday.
Minister Grange has indicated that similar review of the Gospel Song Competition will begin immediately after this year’s Jamaica Festival. “We are going rekindle the spirit of Gospel Festival and take it back to a level where it plays its pastoral and nurturing role in society,” said the Minister.