Thousands of Jamaicans are expected to converge at the National Stadium in Kingston, on Saturday, August 6 for the colour and spectacle of the annual Grand Gala under the theme: ‘Jamaica Rocks.” The event, which gets underway at 5:00 pm, is one of the major activities for Jamaica Independence Festival 2011, and will feature costumed groups, marching bands, festival and gospel song winners, among others.
Acting Executive Director of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), Delroy Gordon, said that this year’s event is a “must see”. “We will trace the history of the Jamaican music in a moving, colourful, exhilarating and exciting three-hour presentation,” he stated at a recent JIS Think Tank held at the agency’s head office in Kingston.
Mr. Gordon said that while admission to the event is free, a ticket system has been put in place to ensure crowd control, and persons will not be allowed to enter the National Stadium without a ticket. They will be available from August 2 at various outlets, which will be announced in the press, and also at the JCDC head office.
“These tickets are free of cost and no one should purchase the tickets,” he stressed. The Grand Gala will be preceded by the annual Independence Day Parade, beginning at 9:00 a.m. on the lawns of Kings House. “The event will have the usual pomp and pageantry,” Mr. Gordon said.
He informed that due to production costs, the street parade will not take place this year, but will return for the 50th anniversary celebrations in 2012. “It is our ambition that next year, we can put at least 50 floats on the streets of Kingston, symbolic of the 50 years of our Independence, and so what we want to do is to regroup our energies and resources to make sure that next year, where that is concerned, it is a humungous event,” he stated.
The street parade, which returned to the festival celebrations in 2008, features floats, costumed groups and effigies, which make their way through the streets of Kingston to the National Stadium.
Turning to activities in other parts of the island, Mr. Gordon said that civic ceremonies, stage shows and street dances will take place in the parish capitals.
In western Jamaica, there will be a street parade and gala at the Montego Bay Waterfront, popularly known as “Dump-up Beach,” beginning at 2:00 p.m. The parade will begin at Sam Sharpe Square.
Additionally, he said, there will be a two-day “Emancifest” in Sligoville, St. Catherine beginning on Sunday, July 31. This will include a bonfire and the singing of traditional songs as well as the sale of traditional foods.
Jamaica Independence celebrations wraps up with the Independence street dance in Half-Way-Tree Square starting at 8: 00 p.m.
Jamaica Independence Festival 2011 is being celebrated under the theme: ‘The Journey Continues’.
Source – JIS