TRENCH TOWN will be getting a very early start on the celebrations of Bob Marley’s 60th birthday. While many concerts and other events are slated for the night of next Sunday, the celebrations at the Vin Lawrence Park, First Street, Kingston 12, will begin from 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 5, and continue until 3:00 a.m. on Sunday, February 6.
At one minute past midnight, a special ceremony commemorating Marley’s birthday will be held.
The early start will not only mean that the Trench Town Community Festival, as the free event is called, will be the first to celebrate Marley’s 60th birthday, but also that it will be the first concert to be held on a day that is being hoped will be violence free.
The extensive plans for the community festival were outlined yesterday morning at the Tourism Product Development Company’s (TPDCo.) boardroom in New Kingston. What was presented, however, was more than a concert; it was the outline of a community event that is projected to be the core of the area’s development.
As the chairperson for the launch, Mrs. Grace Palamino, detailed, long before the main concert, there will be a road race by the Jamdammers, starting at 7:00 a.m., netball and football competitions between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. and the official opening of the Festival at 2:00 p.m. Guided tours to Culture Yard and around the community will be conducted during the day, for a fee.
The main concert starts during the evening, with gospel concert from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., followed by a mixture of artistes, including Ninja Man, Queen Paula, Errol Scorcher, Josey Wales, Alozade, LA Lewis and a host of others in an international/foundation and dancehall/vintage concert.
ToIsis, Alozade and Ziggy Soul will perform at the official opening.
Minister of Tourism Aloun Assamba delivered the welcome invitation to apply for a $200,000 grant to support the Festival and put the event into the wider context of community development. She encouraged them to “create partnerships with the wider community to create a series of events or a destination, which we hope Trench Town will become, owned by the commu-nity but supported by partnerships outside the community.”
“People from outside will help, but only if they see the community taking ownership,” Ms. Assamba said.
Donna Parchment of the Dispute Resolution Foundation described Trench Town as “a community that hold’s Jamaica’s heritage gently in its hands.” She stated that the Festival embraces a wider area than Trench Town, from Maxfield to Spanish Town Road and including Rose Town, and outlined wider objectives of an Education Fund for children and adults, as well as sustainable economic activity.
“There is no better way to be introduced to Trench Town,” Ms. Parchment said, in inviting those who had never been to the community before to turn out for the Marley 60th celebrations.
Sister Grace Yapp of the Franciscan Sisters gave a brief history of the Trench Town Development Association, which is a non-profit organisation under the patronage of the Governor-General. “Culture Yard is not the only thing. It is the entire community we want to develop,” she said. Part of this is putting in an amphitheatre in the Vin Lawrence Park, where entertainers would perform nightly for persons visiting the area. Other projects include a Home for the Aged and assorted community projects.
Josey Wales summed up the Festival, in offering his support for any further efforts in Trench Town. “There is a positive atmosphere in Trench Town and there is the opportunity to use this festival to extend the positive vibes,” he said.