Founder of the Jamaica International Independence Festival Song Competition (JIIFSC) Garfield McCook has found a way to continue Jamaican cultural events overseas. The USA-based competition was born out of a desire to bring more opportunities for Jamaicans overseas, who do not have the opportunity to participate in the events being hosted in Jamaica.
“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 2 years prior to entering the Competition. Since I was residing in the USA, the rule automatically eliminated me. I reached out to the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission via email asking them to explain the rationale behind the rule but I received no response. I reached out again in 2018 and received no response. I then investigated the possibility of having a competition that Jamaicans living abroad could enter,” McCook explained.
Slated to take place on July 31, 2021, the premier event will be broadcasted virtually, from 7pm to 10pm EST. There will be a limited live audience, including guest appearances, judges and promoters, at the venue, which is Caribbean Life TV Studios (CLTV Studios) in Stone Mountain, Georgia.
The competition will be an annual event and it is open to Jamaicans, who are 18 years and older, who reside outside of Jamaica. Artists can get involved, by completing an application on the website, JIIFSC.com by May 15, 2021. When submitting the application artistes are required to pay a non-refundable entrance fee of US$150. They must upload their song in a MP3 format, and email lyrics sheet, to [email protected]. Don’t have the MP3 ready? Submit the application and fee by May 15, 2021 and then the MP3 by May 31, 2021. Groups can be 2-4 members and songs should be no longer than 4 minutes in length. Top participants can expect grand incentives, with the first, second and third prizes being US $8,000, US $4,000 and US $1,000 respectively.
“The aim of this competition is to provide Jamaican artistes residing overseas, who still have a penchant for the culture and the music, with a platform that allows them to showcase their talents. Our motto is, “Loving You From Afar”. Part proceeds from any profits received will go towards the enhancement of the cultural activities in Jamaica,” McCook added.
Learn more about the JIIFSC here: JIIFSC | Linktree