For the fourth time in its 55-year history, a woman was declared the winner of the Festival Song Competition. Dancehall artiste Stacious, who entered with a song titled ‘Jamaican Spirit’, walked away with the trophy and a cash prize of $3 million on July 22.
This year’s competition had 12 finalists instead of the usual 10. The finalists included dancehall-reggae artistes I-Octane and legendary reggae and reggae band, Fab 5.
The competition’s favorite, DB, took the second-place spot with his song ‘Love Jamaica My Land, while Tamo J took third place with the track, ‘Real Talk’.
The competition was staged as a virtual event this year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In the pre-recorded message, Minister Grange said that the Festival Song Competition, celebrating its 55th anniversary this year, is on the “rebound”.
“Over the years, it has had some glorious moments and then at times it has had its bad moments, but I would say that it’s on the rebound,” she said, noting some innovations by the organisers.
Additionally, she said that many performers have benefited “tremendously” and have launched their careers after having participated in the competition.
“The potential and possibilities are awesome…what we have done is to prepare these songs and provide these songs to the world, so that they can be exploited in the interest of those who have participated in the competition,” she added.
Minister Grange said that when the competition was first conceptualized by Mr. Seaga, it was intended to galvanize a sense of nationality and celebrate Jamaica’s culture.
“He wanted a song that would be on the lips of every man, woman and child and one that would bring the nation together. It was a call to action,” she said.
During the show, there was also a special tribute to international superstar and national Festival Song icon, Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, who passed away earlier this year.
The Festival Song Competition began in 1966 with the winning song used for Independence day celebrations.