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Jamaica Independence Festival
The Jamaica Independence Festival is a celebration of Jamaica's independence, a status gained in 1962.
The festival was initiated in 1962 by then Minister of Community Development (and later Prime Minister) Edward Seaga, to showcase literary, fine, and performing artists,  and to celebrate "things Jamaican". The festival was considered integral to national development as a way of giving Jamaicans a sense of who they are, and what their history and culture is all about. The festival was scheduled for the first Monday in August, to coincide with the holiday to celebrate both independence and emancipation. The festival includes agricultural exhibitions, and street parades, climaxing in a grand gala at Kingston's National Stadium. Supporting events take place all over the island. A formal organizing group, the Jamaica Festival Commission was established by an act of parliament in 1968, which became the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) by another parliamentary act in 1980. Today, the administrative structure includes a large volunteer-base with a JCDC officer appointed to oversee activities in each parish. The festival now includes the Miss Jamaica Festival Queen Contest, a national Mento band competition, and a gospel song competition.
In 2004, in a move to widen the genre of entries submitted, the JCDC announced a $1 million grand prize to be shared among songwriter, singer and producer of the winning entry. By 2010 the prize had risen to a million dollars and a car.
In 2008, the JCDC announced that the Jamaican Festival Song Competition title would return, running in parallel with the Popular Song Competition, hoping that the previous title would re-create feelings of celebration among Jamaicans at Independence time.