Grand celebration planned for Jamaica Festival 2014
By Sadeke Brooks
With a few new elements added to this year's Jamaica Festival, the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) says the public should look forward to a grand celebration.
In the past, Jamaica Festival referred to celebrations that took place between July 31 and August 6. For this year's staging, however, it is a season of activities that began in June and will culminate on Independence Day. Many events have been taking place thus far, including the yearly events such as the National Independence church service, the Festival Queen competition, the Jamaica Festival Song competition and Gospel Song competition, Emancipation Jubilee, Emancipation Vigil, Mello Go Roun', International Reggae Dance Championship and the Grand Gala.
New additions to the roster
This year, there have also been new additions to the roster like Dutchie Culinary Festival, National Independence Exhibition, Live Music Tuesdays, The Big Stage and Heart of Ska. The Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre has been the venue of choice for many of the pre-Independence events, and will host the Jamaica Festival Village between July 31 and August 6.
"The public can expect to see a grand showing for this year's celebrations. With new and exciting programmes and events," said Stephen Davidson, director of marketing and public relations for the JCDC. "These new additions will increase the anticipated excitement for this year's celebrations. We hope that the different audiences from these additions will bring out more support for this year's activities and heighten the euphoria", he added.
Davidson noted that the season has been progressing well with numerous quality entrants in the various competitions.
"The competitions have been progressing well so far. The quality of this year's finalists and their work are encouraging and we are pleased about that. We have completed the preliminary rounds for all the competitions and are gearing up for the finals of those competitions which will be held as a part of Jamaica Festival 2014," he told The Gleaner.
Big Stage competition
Pleased with this year's entries, he said the JCDC is also excited about the Big Stage competition, to which the response has been overwhelming.
"We believe such response can be attributed to the fact that Jamaicans are appreciative that this competition allows them to expose their talents in almost any area: dance, singing, deejay, stand-up comedy, novelty acts, magic, signing and miming," Davidson said.
One of the marquee events on the calendar, the Festival Song competition, has also been on form, he said.
"We are expecting that the public reception will be good. The Jamaica Festival Song competition has been a signature JCDC programme serving as a musical platform for cultural exposition and for entrants to make an indelible mark on Jamaica and the world. The songs are very good this year and definitely engender patriotism and the Jamaican spirit. They are currently in rotation on radio, and the public can catch them in performance at the Big Stage parish finals across the island," he added.