Festival Song to be decided tomorrow

July 14, 2018
File Roy Rayon
File Tinga Stewart

The Festival Song competition will culminate tomorrow at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in Kingston and big bucks are on offer to the nine finalists in this year's competition.

"The writer of the winning song will take home $1 million dollars and the singer of the winning song will take home $1 million dollars; so for the winning song the prize money is $2 million dollars," Entertainment minister Olivia Grange said.

The best performer will take home $300,000, the best vocalist will also win $300,000; and best social media campaign will win $200,000. Each of the finalists will receive $150,000 while all writers, producers and singers will receive plaques in recognition of their efforts.

The competition took a break in 2017.

"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," Grange said.

"We promised a bigger and better Festival Song competition for 2018 and we are delivering on it," he added.

Andrew Clunis, head of marketing and public relations at the JCDC, said tomorrow's event, which is free to the public, promises to be an evening of great entertainment. The concert begins at 6 p.m.

Performers at the event will include guest artiste Leroy Sibbles, past Festival Song winners Roy Rayon and Tinga Stewart, and the ASHE ensemble.

"We will be bringing to the audience all that is festival and all that is celebratory about our Independence in their presentations," Clunis said.

Explaining why the final would take place two weeks before the Independence celebrations, he said the idea is to allow the public to become familiar with the winning song.

"In order for us to have that song that we are familiar with and to sing along, we need to give time, and so when we select the winning song on Sunday, it will be for us to say to Jamaica, here is your Festival song," he said. "Come Independence, it will be on everybody's lips and everybody will be dancing."

Meanwhile, Grange said that the Gospel Song Competition will begin immediately after this year's Jamaica Festival.

"We are going to 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.

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