Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter
THE GOVERNMENT is taking steps to position Kingston as the entertainment capital of the world by promoting an Arts in the Park initiative featuring Jamaican popular music performed by local artistes.
State minister with responsibility for tourism, Damion Crawford, said on Tuesday that Jamaican reggae and dancehall music have been losing prime time slots on international mainstream radio to other genres of music.
Making his contribution to the Sectoral Debate in Gordon House, Crawford argued that the waning popularity of Jamaican music has been negatively impacting bookings and record sales.
The junior minister, who received consistent applause from both sides of the political divide throughout his presentation, said it was imperative that efforts be made to increase the consciousness of the local genre of music.
"To this end, it is proposed that the Arts in the Park initiative be introduced to feature our artistes, and will be streamed live to other markets using social media platforms such as YouTube, Ustream and Facebook, thereby increasing its scope and the exposure provided to entertainers," Crawford informed.
Arts in the Park will feature music, dance, drama, art displays and the spoken word, Crawford noted, saying it would give local performers the platform to expose and hone their talent through constant practice.
The majority of these events will be hosted in Kingston.
Crawford said the ministry was also contemplating staging Arts in the Park in tourism centres across the country.
"In addition to this, we're also proposing to fly international booking agents, journalists, club promoters and organisers of major festivals into the island every three months to interact with our artistes and increase the presence of the arts in the print and electronic media," Crawford added.
The junior minister for entertainment also urged his colleague lawmakers to stand against the arbitrary banning of local entertainers from performing on shows in some Caribbean islands on the basis of lyrical content.
"While this is in no way suggesting support for lewd and crude lyrics, I wonder when was the last time we reviewed the content of some of the products we import from these same countries banning our service export," Crawford questioned.
Crawford said his ministry was also working to position Jamaica as the mecca of summer entertainment in the world. The ministry will promote and encourage a multiplicity of festivals, events and other activities between the months of June and September.