Grange sets record straightThursday, April 29, 2021
BY BRIAN BONITTO
THE Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), organisers of Jamaica Festival Song Competition, is not affiliated with the Atlanta-based inaugural Jamaica International Independence Festival Song Competition (JIIFSC) slated for July 31.
The JCDC is also discounting claims made by its conceptualiser Garfield McCook that he was prevented from entering because he lived overseas.
“With regard to the event that is being organised in Atlanta, it must be noted that use of the name and logo for the Jamaica Festival Song Competition is prohibited as they are registered under copyright by the Government of Jamaica,” Minister of Entertainment and Culture, Olivia “Babsy” Grange told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
“It has always been made very clear in the entry criteria that the Jamaica Festival Song Competition is open to Jamaicans residing at home or in the Diaspora and to non-Jamaicans who have been resident in the country for no less than two years. We encourage the celebration of Jamaica's Independence in the Diaspora and in fact, over the years we have received and processed numerous entries for Festival Song from Jamaicans living abroad. It has always been a professional competition that has been open to established and non-established performers,” she continued.
McCook, in an exclusive interview with the Jamaica Observer last week, said he had opened an avenue for Jamaicans overseas to participate in his cultural contest dubbed JIIFSC.
“In 2017, I enquired about entering the Jamaica Festival Song Competition. However, the rules and regulations stated that an entrant must be living in Jamaica two years prior to entering the competition. Since I was residing in the USA, the rule automatically eliminated me. I reached out to the JCDC via e-mail asking them to explain the rationale behind the rule, but I received no response. I reached out again in 2018 and received no response, so I investigated the possibility of having a competition that Jamaicans living abroad could enter,” said McCook, who has called Atlanta home since 2001.
Started in 1966, The Jamaica Festival Song Competition is the oldest professional song competition in the hemisphere and seeks to highlight the very best of Jamaican musical talent. The first winner was Toots and the Maytals, an aggregation led by the late Toots Hibbert, with the entry Bam Bam. Toots and the Maytals would go on to win the competition on two other outings with Sweet and Dandy in 1969 and Pomps and Pride in 1972. Other popular winners include Eric Donaldson who won with Cherry Oh Baby (1971); Sweet Jamaica (1977); Land of My Birth (1978); Proud to Be Jamaican (1984); Big It Up (1993); Join Di Line (1995); and Peace and Love (1997). Roy Rayon has been another popular multiple winner with Love Fever (1985), Give Thanks and Praises (1987), Come Rock (1991) and Rise and Shine (2008).
Last year's winner was Buju Banton with I Am A Jamaican.
“We will be launching the 2021 Jamaica Festival Song and other performing and entertainment arts competitions virtually tomorrow, April 29, at 10:00 am, so please join us on all JCDC social media platforms and spread the word,” Grange added.