Festival brings Caribbean colour to east London

The colours, tastes and sounds of Jamaica will bring east London to life tomorrow (Friday July 27).

Festival Jamaica, in Stratford, will celebrate fifty years since the Caribbean country gained independence with two weeks of music, film, food, sports, fashion and even botany.

Throughout the festival there will be live music including a tribute to Desmond Decker, the first Jamaican to have a UK number one hit, 1970s roots reggae band The Gladiators and contemporary Jamaican band No-Maddz.

Close by, the Reggae Film Festival will showcase new Jamaican feature films, new short films and emerging animators alongside some of the best Jamaican cinema from the 1970s to the present.

Tastebuds will be tickled by the dishes of award-winning chef Colin Brown who is hosting the festival’s main restaurant, Reggae Kitchen.

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Caribbean Chef of the Year two years running, Jamaican-born Colin will be serving full Jamaican breakfasts and traditional favourites for lunch and dinner.

Festival director Ziggy Golding said: “The vision of Festival Jamaica 2012 is to deliver fun-filled days where visitors will enjoy the cool laid back Jamaican atmosphere, while delivering a lasting legacy of Jamaican achievements.”

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He said the venue will be “transformed” into cultural stages with a tropical jungle.

“[It’s] to celebrate Jamaica’s 50th year of independence and the anticipated success of the island’s athletes during the Olympic Games.”

Other festival highlights include exhibitions exploring Jamaica’s rich history, botany and architecture. A display of portraits of Jamaican citizens between 1860 and 1930, scenes from the 1907 Great Earthquake and images of village life has been put together by Edward Lucie Smith and Ziggi Golding for the festival.

A big screen showing sporting events just a stone’s throw away at the Olympic Park will be shown on a giant screen at Festival Jamaica so no one misses out on any of the action.

Festival Jamaica runs from July 27 to August 12 at Maryland Complex, Buxton Road, Stratford, E15 1QU. For more information and tickets, visit www.festivaljamaica2012.com.

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