Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer
In celebration of Jamaica's 50th anniversary, annual literary festival Kingston Pon Di River, hosted by Dynamic Event Services (DES), will go for a triple-dose effect. The three-day event which is backed by the Jamaica Tourist Board is slated to start on April 27 at Studio 38 and conclude at the Boone Hall Oasis.
Member of the organising committee Millicent Lynch spoke highly of the event describing it as a cultural celebration.
"This year, the event will be on three days because everybody has been asking for that, so we decided to obey the requests, adding to that, it's Jamaica's 50th anniversary and we are being endorsed by the Jamaica Tourist Board as a (Jamaica 50) celebrating event of Jamaican culture," Lynch said.
On April 27, the eve of the festival, the celebrations will begin with an after-work mix and mingle with local and overseas participants at Studio 38 in New Kingston, called 'Xpressions'. The night will feature readings from poet Tomlin Ellis, actress Rosie Murray, PR consultant Cheryl Crooks, Radio host 'Sextacy' and Shelly-Ann Weekes. The night is also expected to climax with a party.
Sounds of Africa
On Saturday, April 28, the sounds of Africa and the Caribbean will resonate throughout Boone Hall Oasis, starting at 5 p.m., at a session dubbed 'Drumming Pon Di River', with the August Town Revival Group, led by Daddy Rudd. 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.
The popular Sunday programme on April 29 will see a full day of activities ranging from music to poetry to comedy, beginning at 10 a.m. Jamaican and overseas authors and celebrities will deliver special readings and renditions.
Among the participants will be legendary Jamaican dub poet, Oku Onuora; and best-selling United States author Jonathan Eig, who has written baseball biographies Opening Day (Jackie Robinson) and Luckiest Man (Lou Gehrig). His latest work, in 2010, was Get Capone.
Other notable performers include Diana King, Culture Minister Lisa Hanna, Lloyd B. Smith, and Desmond McKenzie among others.
Janet Silvera, managing partner of DES, noted that Jamaica has received its notorious status because of its cultural contribution.
"If you carefully and objectively examine Brand Jamaica, you will come to no other conclusion than that - and I seek not to diminish the importance of other industries - it is Jamaica's cultural ambassadors who have made it a household name among princes and paupers, from the White House in the United States to the mudhouse in poor Third World countries.
"Jamaican culture has the power to woo and to wow people of every nation across the globe. Kingston Pon Di River recognises this potential and is seeking to reposition this wonderful city as a cultural hub of the Caribbean," she said.
Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board Dennis Morrison also concurred with Silvera's view. He told The Sunday Gleaner that the JTB was supportive of diversity.
"The Jamaica Tourist Board is supportive of Kingston Pon Di River, we want to defy Jamaica's habit of standardising things that help to attract tourists, and as such, an event such as this will have our full support because we are pushing to have more diversity," he said.
Sponsors of the event include The Jamaica Tourist Board, The Gleaner Company, CVM TV, Grizzly's Entertainment Limited, Flow, KLAS FM, Buzz Magazine, The Jamaica Pegasus, Alka Vida, Diamond Paints, The Courtleigh Hotel Suites, Kool 97 FM, Paper Boy JA, Wyndham, Spanish Court Hotel and Boone Hall Oasis.