“Impressive” was how the Committee Chairman, Mr. Vernon Derby described the record number of entries received for the 2018 staging of Jamaica Festival Song Competition. The competition, which closed for entries on February 28, the last day of Reggae Month, saw over 200 entries from across the island, a record when compared to the last 10 years, and an increase of over 200 per cent on the previous year’s entries.
“We are beyond excited to see the level of interest in the Festival Song Competition expressed by members of the Jamaican Music industry, which is reflected in this year’s high volume of entries. It also shows the country’s support for this kind of original song competition that captures the Jamaican spirit and promotes patriotism, especially as this song will serve as the theme song for this year’s Independence Festival. ” said Derby, who is also a member of the Board of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), the competition’s organizer.
“Now that the entries are in, the work continues.” Derby said, stating that the competition would now shift its focus to the assessment of the entries by a panel of experts, selected from the local music industry; followed shortly by a semi-final concert, where the top 30 semi-finalists will be required to perform on stage in front of a live audience.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange stated at the Competition’s launch last November that the competition has been revamped for the 2018 staging and will carry an overall prize purse of $10 million, which will be shared among the performers, songwriters and producers, with the top ten finalists also receiving prize packages.
The Competition will also feature 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 artistes.
The Jamaica Festival Song Competition is one of the longest running original song competitions in Jamaica and continues to serve as a musical platform for cultural exposition and for entrants to make an indelible mark on Jamaica and the world. This competition, which started in 1966 has been the driving force behind some of Jamaica’s acclaimed singers and song writers and boasts past winners like Toots and the Maytals, Desmond Decker, Eric Donaldson, Roy Rayon and Stanley Beckford.
The Jamaica Festival Song Competition is being led by a committee comprising of: Mr. Vernon Derby (Chairman), Dr. Michelle Clarke, Miss Pat Reid, Messrs Phillip Clarke and Dennis Archer, who are Board Commissioners of the JCDC; and Mr. Andrew Clunis of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and radio personality Roxene Nickle of KOOL 97FM.