2017 ENTERTAINMENT HIGHLIGHTS: No Festival Song Competition


By Richard Johnson
Observer senior reporter

Friday, December 15, 2017

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There was no Festival Song Competition as part of the Jamaica 55 celebrations this year.

This marked the second time in the 50-year history of that competition, which is synonymous with Jamaica's Independence celebrations, was cancelled. In 2013, then Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna announced that the contest would be suspended, which drew criticism in some quarters including her then Opposition counterpart Olivia “Babsy” Grange.

Now the minister in charge of entertainment and culture, Grange announced that there would be no Festival Song Competition this year as the entries were unsuitable.

She advised that in a bid to improve on the quality of the songs submitted, beginning next year workshops will be held islandwide for prospective entrants prior to selections being made.

She explained that this is intended to assist budding artistes to improve their stagecraft, writing of lyrics and composition of melodies, as well as learning the basics in music theory, adding that established performers will also be encouraged to participate.

“Those workshops will expose Jamaicans, particularly the young people, to certain training and packaging that is necessary when you are going to go to the public and display your craft or your talent,” the minister said.

The competition is set to return in 2018 with a $10-million prize package.

The Festival Song Competition, which has also been known as the Popular Song Contest, began in 1966.

Some of the popular winners include Bam Bam by The Maytals, which won in 1966; Ba Ba Boom in 1967 by The Jamaicans; Desmond Dekker & The Aces with Intensified 1968; 1971 — Eric Donaldson with Cherry Oh Baby; Eric Donaldson's Land of My Birth in 1978; and Give Thanks and Praises by Roy Ryan in 1987.




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