February 23, 2007
Eight zones to participate in Digicel Gospel Fest 2007

Union Island has become the newest zone in the Digicel Gospel Fest 2007, bringing the number of zones to eight in the month long festival to be held in April.

This announcement was made at a press conference on Tuesday 20 February by Chairman of the Gospel Fest Committee, Fidel Taylor who also pointed out that the stage was now set for festival which would be held under the theme, “Give God the Glory.”{{more}}

Quoting statistics, the Chairman said that the festival has grown from 886 participants from 53 churches in 2003 to 1,147 participants from 94 churches in 2006. Taylor also stated that Negro Spirituals would be added to the Music/Song Category to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade while the Drama category would now include miming.

Also new to the event would be the Schools’ Gospel Fest on April 27, which would be held at Victoria Park from 2pm. Taylor said that it was crucial for the young people of this country to be impacted positively and that this could be done through song, dance and drama in the festival.

He also described gospel music as a “healing antidote for the pains of everyday life” and pleaded with bus drivers and radio announcers to play more gospel music during gospel fest month.

Taylor praised Digicel for its overwhelming support, and noted that the telecommunications company was the first to assist the festival with a donation of $12,000 and has since increased its contribution to $20,000. Meanwhile, Marketing Manager Juno DeRoche who presented the committee with the financial donation praised the committee for developing the festival and pledged continued commitment.

Cultural Minister Rene Baptiste also praised the hard working committee and promised to craft a plan to market the festival regionally. She said that last year 13 radio stations covered the climax of the festival and that his year, they must ensure that the festival reaches other countries.

The winner of the Most Outstanding Award would perform at a regional gospel festival, while the most outstanding under 13 solo will receive the New Life Ambassadors trophy and $500.

The 2007 Digicel Gospel Fest would climax with National Showcase on April 28-29 from 7pm and would have featured artistes such as Wendy Mitchell from the USA, Terry Baynes of Trinidad and Tobago, Junior Tucker out of Jamaica and Shem from St Lucia. The top local acts would be PaPa Das and Kiyoka Cruickshank.

The presentation of medals, trophies and certificates would be held on May 12 at the Peace Memorial Hall from 8pm. Digicel presented $20,000, Sugar George Rentals handed over $1,000, gospel music group New Life Ambassadors donated $500, while the Department of Tourism contributed $3,000.