JCDC outlines august plans
The 2016 Emancipendence season (from Emancipation Day, August 1, to Independence Day, August 6) promises to be full of revelry. Jamaicans will celebrate their country's 54th anniversary of Independence from the United Kingdom and the 182nd anniversary of the abolition of slavery. In addition, there are the anticipated outstanding performances by Jamaica's athletes at the Olympics in Rio, Brazil.
On Thursday, the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) outlined its Emancipendence plans during an engaging media launch held in the Montego Bay Suite, The Jamaica Pegasus, New Kingston.
Executive director of the JCDC, Delroy Gordon, said "since its inception in 1963, the Jamaica Festival Commission of the JCDC has been able to mobilise Jamaicans around an awareness of the cultural potential in the areas of the performing, entertainment, culinary and visual arts.
"In keeping with its tradition, the JCDC will provide the most wholesome and traditional activities to commemorate and celebrate these significant milestones across the island."
THE YEAR'S THEME
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange said Jamaica's multifaceted culture will be the platform for the celebrations. Grange said, "The theme for this year's celebration is 'Let's Get Together and Feel Alright'", thanking the Bob Marley Foundation for permission to use the line from One Love.
Grange explained that "the theme is a call to us, as it reminds us of one of the key factors in our Emancipation and Independence, that it started with unity and togetherness, putting our hands and our hearts together as we all continue to build Jamaica, Jamaica land we love. The theme also causes us to celebrate and appreciate who we are and our accomplishments."
She outlined a seven-day itinerary which includes a new event, the Reggae to Rio Concert on Friday, August 5, at the Independence Village, Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, Hope Road, St Andrew. It features a simulcast of the Rio Olympics opening ceremony.
The first thanksgiving church service will be held in Trelawny on Saturday, July 30, the same day the National Farm Queen coronation takes place in Clarendon. On Sunday, July 31, the other parishes will hold their thanksgiving services.
Preceding those will be a Spirit of Independence Competition on July 18, for which the decoration of business places and other public spaces across the island in the national and festival's colours will be judged. The JCDC made sure that the colour theme, 'Wear it in Gold & Stripe it Bold', not only captures the Emancipendence festivities but also the Olympic spirit. In a well-organised fashion show with designers of varied experiences, backgrounds and ages, some of the possible designs were displayed.
Other celebratory activities include the always-popular coronation of the Jamaica Festival Queen and the finals of the Gospel Song and Festival Song competitions, guests at the launch given a sampling of what to expect at each event. Each parish queen gave a glimpse of what to expect on coronation night.
The Festival Song Competition is celebrating its 50th anniversary and from the teaser given on Thursday, the judges will have a hard job selecting the winner.
Roy Rayon closed the launch with an energetic performance of some top festival songs, including Eric Donaldson's Cherry Oh Baby and his own Love Fever. The Tivoli Dance Troupe opened the event with Market Cass Cass. Chief Executive Officer of CHASE Fund Wilford 'Billy' Heaven addressed the gathering on behalf of the sponsors.