Jamaica Independence Session with Fab 5 Returns to South Florida
by Howard Campbell
[SOUTH FLORIDA] – Wherever Jamaicans are in the world, they find time to celebrate their country’s independence. It’s no different for longtime South Florida resident Gary Harris, promoter of ‘The Independence Session’ concert.
The fourth renewal of that event takes place August 12 at Stage 954 – The Casino@ Dania Beach. Featuring the Fabulous Five band, it will be held six days after Jamaica officially celebrates its 60th anniversary of Independence.
Activities start at 9 pm and according to Harris, it will be all things Jamaica.
“It will be a nostalgic night of the Jamaican Festival season, bringing back the memories of celebrating Independence back home in Jamaica. Attendees will be beaming with pride in their colors of Jamaica, waving their flags while singing Festival songs and more, and dancing all night long. There is usually the need to rest the entire next day due to doing too much dancing and singing,” he said.
First held in 1966, the Festival Song Contest has produced a number of classics including Bam Bam by Toots And The Maytals which won the inaugural competition; Cherry Oh Baby, the 1971 winner by Eric Donaldson and Roy Rayon’s Give Thanks And Praises, which celebrated Jamaica’s 25th anniversary in 1987.
This year’s Festival winner will be announced July 28 in Kingston.
Harris has lived in South Florida for 37 years and has played an integral role in Jamaican Diaspora activities here. He first held The Independence Session in 2008 and says the objective is to make patrons reflect on their lives back ‘a yaad’.
“Celebrating Jamaican independence here is a very far cry from being home in Jamaica. We are unable to truly get that overwhelming feeling of joy and pride due to being in a different country and what one sees and hears is very limited when it comes to Jamaican independence,” he said. “The different events held here is how we try to come close to feeling like we are back home celebrating, and if attendees leave feeling homesick, then we have accomplished our ultimate goal.”