Jamaica is the festival capital of the world, says EAB chairman
With the Independence spirit strong in the air, Chairman of the Entertainment Advisory Board (EAB), Howard McIntosh, is keen on the idea that Jamaica is “the festival capital of the world”.
According to McIntosh, “It has long been argued that Jamaica is best known for our people, our music, our culture, sports, food and our marijuana. We are also lesser known for our role in sociopolitical events and our firm economic management in recent times. But no matter what is said, we have developed a reputation for great music, great parties, and wonderful and heart-warming festivals.”
McIntosh pointed out that this year Jamaica has 27 days of festivals. He listed them as: July 10, Jamaica Carnival; July 18-23, Reggae Sumfest; July 29-August 2, Dream Weekend; August 5-8, Best Weekend Ever; and August 6, Grand Gala.
“So after carnival, we have the biggest and the best reggae music event on earth. We then move into the party festivals – all this occurring while we have food festivals and beauty festivals (pageants). And to wrap this all up, we have one of the best culture offerings in the world, the Independence Grand Gala at our National Stadium on August 6. Nothing like it in the entire world, made for the people by the people.”
He noted that there is one time of the year when Jamaicans celebrate Jamaica and all things Jamaican, and spoke enthusiastically about last Monday’s spectacular Emancipation Day float and street parade. The last time there was such a parade was in 2008.
“I happen to know that the Government is working at making this the other long weekend of the year where we would celebrate the first Friday in August as Emancipation and the first Monday as Independence Day. It is an idea whose time has come long time, and [I] applaud the prime minister and the minister of Culture, gender, entertainment and sport for leading this initiative. It will make Jamaica Festival sweeter, and ensure that the entire diaspora and all lovers of things Jamaican want to visit the country during this period,” McIntosh said.
He noted that with the addition of some sports and other entertainment events, the island would soon top the 3.69 million staying visitors that descend on the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland annually.
“So like it or not, Jamaica Festival has been redefined. We must celebrate festival for at least 21 days every year because we are the festival capital of the world… we just have never recognised it or promoted it,” McIntosh said.