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Koriq loses out on JCDC Festival Song Fame

Published:Sunday | July 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small
JCDC Festival Song dropout, Koriq.
Though disappointed, Koriq said he with drew with no bad vibes.

The grand finals of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) festival Song competition takes place tonight after a one-year hiatus, but one aspiring artiste will be out of the running for the top prize after being previously selected in the top 10.

"As an independent artiste on the rise, you're looking for ways and means of promoting what you're doing especially because you're independent there's nobody doing it for you. It was a perfect platform for promoting what I was doing as an artiste and a songwriter," former contestant Courick Clarke, aka Koriq, told The Sunday Gleaner.

This year the competition saw a record number of entrants (over 200 entries) from across the island, a huge number when compared with the past 10 years.

The once-hopeful participant, who plays the keyboard and goes by the stage name Koriq, says the JCDC Festival Song Competition seemed like a perfect platform from which to promote his burgeoning career as a singer. However, he said he was asked to withdraw from the competition.

"I play keyboards with Tarrus Riley and the Black Soil Band, and upon entering the competition I had no idea what the tour schedule was like. It wasn't set yet, so there was no way of knowing, so mi enter the competition," the musician said.

As it turned out, most of the Black Soil Band's tour dates clashed with the JCDC dates. "So I had to be absent for most of the road shows. I'm also going to be absent for the night of the finals. But the moment I realised what was about to happen with the clashing of dates, I contacted JCDC and suggested ideas as to how to rectify the situation."


Application & Competition Guidelines


The competition guidelines states that "finalists shall make themselves available during the course of the competition for all promotional activities, including but not limited to album launch, roadshows and school tours." it does not specify that a finalist must be present at the final show.

Clarke told The Sunday Gleaner that he suggested finding a singer to represent for him on the final night. Following that, "I was told that the competition was about the song ... that I would only be excluded from the running for the sectional prize of 'Best Performer', for obvious reasons."

However, Andrew Clunis of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, who sits on the seven-member Committee to oversee the Jamaica Festival Song Competition, denied that the JCDC committee received such a suggestion. "No request was made. That was not communicated to the JCDC," he told The Sunday Gleaner.

However, email correspondence received by The Sunday Gleaner, shows that on June 20, Clarke emailed his suggestions the first being booking himself a round trip from Europe to perform on the final night. His second suggestion was finding a stand-in vocalist.

On June 22, Clarke emailed a reminder to which Orville Hill, interim executive director of the JCDC, responded in an email which reads in part:

"Sorry you are not able to continue the road show and perform on the final night. In the final analysis you will only be excluded from the sectional prize of 'Best Performer'. At the final show, arrangement will be made for the music video to be played representing the song. The judges will assess your song in the same manner applicable to all the others."

On July 2, Hill responded further. "Following email sent to you earlier, the situation of your absence for the remainder of the competition was discussed more extensively. The current position is outlined below:

All participants who will qualify to be a winner must perform on the night of the final show.

Accordingly, since you are not available to perform on the final show, you are therefore requested to submit a formal letter withdrawing from the competition."

But Clarke has already conceded defeat. "Naturally, I'm not happy but it is what it is. I'm not trying to rock the boat, so of course I withdrew from the competition with no bad vibes, no bad blood. I'm not happy with the way it's turned out, but give thanks to JCDC for the opportunity same way," he said.