Articles Comments

» BREAKING NEWS, Featured » “POOR QUALITY OF ENTRIES” FORCED CANCELLATION OF FESTIVAL SONG COMPETITION, ACCORDING TO THE MINISTER OF CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT!

“POOR QUALITY OF ENTRIES” FORCED CANCELLATION OF FESTIVAL SONG COMPETITION, ACCORDING TO THE MINISTER OF CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT!

BY HORACE HINES—

Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange at the Decameron Montego Bay Beach Hotel in St James, on Wednesday evening. (Photo: Philp Lemonte) —

Olivia “Babsy” Grange, minister of culture, gender affairs, entertainment and sports, said the overriding factor that influenced the decision to scrap the festival song contest this year was the poor quality of the entries.

She was speaking to the Jamaica Observer at the launch the Montego Bay Jerk Festival at Decameron Montego Bay Beach Hotel in St James on Wednesday evening.

“The committee that reviewed the entries felt that there were not sufficient entries and the entries were not of the quality from which they could select 10 top songs,” said Grange.

Another reason for shelving this year’s contest — which goes back over five decades — is that each five year is a specially commemorative year “so for Jamaica 55 a decision was taken to do a commemorative album of our iconic festival songs”.

“In addition to that, to commission four or so songs and also to identify iconic entries over the years,” said Grange.

“So iconic entries would be like a Stepping Razor, which was entered by Joe Higgs, but it did not go in the competition. It was rejected and so Joe Higgs personally told me he took it to Peter Tosh and Peter Tosh recorded the song,” she continued.

Joe Higgs

Joe Higgs

According to the minister, a song entered by Rita Marley and another by Bob Marley are also included.

“We wanted to have that song as part of the compilation. Now if we can’t get access or permission to use the original version, we will record a version of it for that album. The idea is to take that compilation,” she said.

The royalty earned from the compilation will go towards the creative industry, Grange explained.

She expressed hope that after taking a break this year, a new and improved festival song contest will be returned next year.

Her confidence is buoyed by expected improvement of this year’s contestants, who will be among other participants in workshops to be staged across the country to enhance their craft.

She said the original concept of the contest, initiated by former Prime Minister Edward Seaga, was to produce songs “on the lips of every Jamaican at home and abroad”.

Former Prime Minister Edward Seaga

Former Prime Minister Edward Seaga

“Over time as administrations change, the competition would be called something else rather than the Festival Song, which changes the concept. And, unfortunately, it has watered down the impact of a festival song competition. The concept of a song being that song would become a call to action, rallying cry for everybody to get on board to celebrate Jamaica’s achievement,” she said.

“We need to go back to basics, improve on what the offerings are, and make sure the songs return to the original concept which we want it to attract established artists. we want it to attract new and great talent, we want it to attract great sponsors so we can have a significant cash prizes, cash prizes and otherwise.”

This is second time the competition, which was started in 1966, has been cancelled. The first was in 2013.

Written by

Filed under: BREAKING NEWS, Featured · Tags:

%d bloggers like this: