Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sport, Olivia Grange has lamented that the Jamaica Festival Song Competition will not be part of the package this year as the country marks 60 years of independence from Britain.
A seemingly disappointed Grange made the announcement on Wednesday during her contribution to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.
“The panel, which usually selects the finalists for the Jamaica Festival Song Competition, has advised that it was unable to choose 10 suitable songs from among this year’s entries despite extending the deadline,” Grange revealed.
She said 123 entries were received, much fewer than in previous years.
“Under the circumstances, the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) will refund all entry fees in the amount of J$123,000, and I have instructed that we ramp up our Jamaica Festival Song workshops over the next 12 months now that COVID restrictions have been lifted, to ensure that the competition returns next year with much-improved entries,” Grange said.
She said the disappointment comes after a period of tremendous growth for the Jamaica Festival Song Competition, which has seen the finalists in each of the last two years appearing on music streaming services across the world, and for the first time, earning royalties for the JCDC and the competitors.
“Last year, the Jamaica Festival Song album was even included on a shortlist that was considered for nomination for the Reggae Grammy,” she noted.
However, the culture minister said there was a silver lining behind the dark cloud.
“We will take the opportunity to produce a Jamaica 60 commemorative album, with a mix of some of our leading reggae ambassadors and some of our emerging artistes. We’re fine-tuning those arrangements and will announce the details soon,” said Grange.