Jamaica's premier literary, arts and music festival, 'Kingston Pon Di River', was launched on Wednesday, March 7 at New Kingston's Spanish Court Hotel.
Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna officially launched the event in collaboration with the Jamaica Tourist Board, the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Kingston chapter, and a host of sponsors, including Flow, Wyndham, The Jamaica Pegasus, The Gleaner, Diamond Paints and Grizzley's.
In this its second year, Kingston Pon Di River will be held over two days - Saturday, April 28 and Sunday, April 29 - at Boone Hall Oasis in Stony Hill.
This year's event will seek to reawaken an interest in Jamaican culture and talent as the island celebrates its 50th year of Independence.
There will be an 'appetiser' of sorts on April 27, the eve of the festival, at Studio 38 in New Kingston. It starts with an after-work mix and mingle with local and overseas participants. Kingston Pon Di River Xpressions will also feature readings from poet Tomlin Ellis, actress Rosie Murray, public relations consultant Cheryl Crooks, and 'Sextacy' radio host Shelly-Ann Weekes.
On Saturday, April 28 the sounds of Africa and the Caribbean will resonate from 5 p.m., at a session titled 'Drumming Pon Di River', with the August Town Revival Group, led by Daddy Rudd. Splendid performances are expected from some of Jamaica's best drumming ensembles, including Rekala Selahance Drummers, the L'Acadco Drum Explosion, Kingston Drummers, the Charles Town Maroon Drummers and Dancers, as well as Latin Roots, guest drummers from neighbouring Cuba.
Activities begin at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 29, featuring Jamaican and foreign authors and celebrities.
Among the participants will be Jamaican dub poet Oku Onoura and best-selling United States author Jonathan Eig, whose books include the baseball biographies Opening Day (Jackie Robinson) and Luckiest Man (Lou Gehrig).
Other big names at the event are Alvin Day, publisher and author of If Caterpillars Can Fly, So Can I; photographer Baron Wolman, famed for his work in the popular music magazine Rolling Stone, and author of the 2010 book, The Rolling Stone Years; award-winning novelist Charlie Newton (Start Shooting and Calumet City); Jamaican professor Carolyn Cooper, author and literary scholar; and singer Karen Gibson Roc, a Canadian of Jamaican ancestry.
Singer Diana King, Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna; politician, publisher and award-winning actor Lloyd B. Smith; and member of parliament/former mayor of the Kingston & St Andrew Corporation, Desmond McKenzie, will also take the stage.
Like last year, the diverse offerings will include art and craft creations for admiration and sale.
Children have not been forgotten as there will be a kiddies village with fun-filled activities for them.