Making its return in 2018, Jamaica’s oldest song contest and will also see major improvements in its format and presentation, as well as the quality of entries.
Minister Grange officially launched the competition on Thursday, November 30, at the Twenty-Three Bar in New Kingston.
She declared that, “it will be a bigger and better Festival Song Competition,” recalling that the Competition had been a launching pad for the careers of several outstanding singers and performers.
“It must become that again and fulfil the mandate of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) to unearth and develop talent. We can and must get the excitement back.”
The Minister said that the new-look programme was beginning with Thursday night’s launch, eight months before the official Jamaica Festival period and the announcement of a winner in July.
Among the activities that will take place leading up to the finals is a series of developmental workshops across the country to address writing, performance and publishing rights, intellectual property rights as well as imaging and branding. There will also be a series of road shows and special appearances which will give the performers the necessary exposure and give members of the public the opportunity to get to know the songs and the performers.
Miss Grange added that the organisers of the competition will be courting participation from members of the Diaspora in the selection of a winner, through the production of music videos, social media postings and livestreaming of road shows and special appearances.
Interim Executive Director of the JCDC Orville Hill said the agency was committed to executing a first class competition, which would boost national pride and spread euphoria across the nation during the independence period.
Mr Hill said, “Jamaica needs the Festival Song Competition and I am encouraging all the talent across the island and in the Diaspora to get their entries in because this can be a life changer for many people.”
Jamaica Festival Committee Chairman Vernon Derby said all systems are being put in place to roll out the program of activities which will facilitate the widest national participation possible.
The overall prize purse of $10 million is to be shared among the performers, songwriters and producers. The sum includes cash prizes for the Top Ten finalists as well as other consolation prizes.
There were nostalgic performances on Thursday night by past Festival Song winners Roy Rayon, Abby Dallas and reigning champion Nazzleman.