Chad Bryan, Youthlink Writer
Jamaica will, on August 6, celebrate its 50th year of independence and spectacular celebrations are being planned leading up to the nation's golden jubilee. The Spanish Court Hotel in St Andrew recently accommodated a press reception detailing the plans for a festival slated to take place from July 25 to August 6, dubbed 'Respect Jamaica 50'. The event was attended by media personnel, artistes who will be attending and performing during the festival and ministers of government, as well as other stakeholders who gathered to show how much the festival will mean to the nation.
The festival, which is a major initiative by AEG to commemorate Jamaica's 50th during the London 2012 Olympics, will take place in spectacular style at London's IndigO2. Some of Jamaica's most iconic reggae, ska and dub artistes will perform across the 12-day event. The likes of Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Damian Marley, U-Roy, Tappa Zukie, Yellowman, Ernie Ranglin, Sly and Robbie, John Holt, Gyptian, Shaggy and Tarrus Riley, among many others, are scheduled to grace the stage in London.
Significance of festival
Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton noted the significance of such a festival to Jamaica's economy. "This event represents a moment to realise economic opportunities and promote Jamaica as a premier business destination." He added, "O2 will host between 40 and 50,000 people daily and will offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent Jamaican business opportunities."
Jamaica House 2012, the Government of Jamaica's official project to promote Jamaica's people, culture, tourism, investment, trade opportunities and authentic Jamaican products, will, according to the minister, "feature a brand Jamaica display targeting buyers in the area with Jamaican products".
The O2 is a large entertainment district in Southeast London consisting of many small areas and arenas. It has hosted shows for artistes including Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Drake, among others.