Festival ShowdownThursday, July 22, 2021
BY BRIAN BONITTO
The Jamaica Observer's Entertainment Desk concludes its series on the Jamaica Festival Song Competition which is marking its 55th anniversary milestone.
THIS evening 12 finalists will vie for top honours in the Jamaica Festival Song Competition scheduled for the National Indoor Sports Centre in St Andrew.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event will be televised on Television Jamaica, starting at 8:30 pm. It will also be live-streamed on the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's (JCDC) website — www.jcdc.gov.jm, Facebook — Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, and YouTube — JCDC Jamaica1 pages.
Orville Hill, chairman of the Jamaica Festival Song and Gospel Star competitions, said this occasion will be special.
“This year we have 12 songs in the final and the 12 songs represent a different genre of music; the performers come with their own style, so we have a very diverse group of performers. For me, I think, in the mix, we do have a fair representation of what I would consider the young performers, people who we would classify as youngsters,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
Traditionally, 10 finalists would face-off but an exception was made this year.
“We had more than 150 entries... In the final analysis, we came up with 12 songs that had good potential to be selected as the winner. The judges could have been, based on their vote, come down to 10. But when we listened and the potential that each of these songs carry, we felt we would up the number to 12 and allow the Jamaican people to make the decision,” said Hill.
He noted that despite being competitors, the group had developed a synergy.
“They have all come together and, although they are competing against each other, there is good rivalry between them. Each one supports the other though they know they're all pushing their best in order for them to be the winner,” said Hill.
The finalists are: I-Octane (Land We Love); Lutan Fyah (Jah Mek Yah); backing band Fab 5 (Unwind); Althea Hewitt (Jamaica Nice); Stacious (Jamaican Spirit); 2011 Jamaica Festival Song Competition winner Everton Pessoa (Celebration – Wet Sugar); DB (Love Jamaica My Land); Tamo J (Real Talk – Jamrock); Dez-I Boyd (Rumba Box); Reggae Maxx (Sweet Jamaica); Candy (First Day Bash JA); and Father Reece (Jamaican Talawah).
The winning song will receive a prize of $3 million to be shared among the producer, writer, and singer.
Last week the finalists were introduced to the public via a live televised show, which Hall labels as “successful”.
“This week I expect a better show because they are going out there to show Jamaica the talent they have and how they can represent that onstage. So, I think tonight will be a very good show to log on — whether television, social media, JCDC's platform and to listen while being entertained.
Buju Banton won the competition last year with I Am a Jamaican.
Started in 1966, the Jamaica Festival Song Competition — organised by the JCDC — has provided a platform for aspiring artistes and veterans.
Some of reggae's greats have won the contest including Toots and the Maytals and Desmond Dekker.
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