March 19, 2010
Digicel out of Gospel Fest

Longstanding National Gospel Festival sponsor Digicel will be visibly missing from this year’s list of sponsors when the month of activities kicks off on April 4.{{more}}

The mobile phone and service provider, along with Bryden and Partners, distributors of soft drinks Busta and Fruta, will no longer be a part of the festival, whose theme for 2010 is ‘Declare God’s Praises in the Islands’.

Although a reason was not given for the departure, Fidel Taylor, Chairman of the SVG Gospel Fest Committee, said that while the festival was left with a void with the departure of these sponsors, the show will go on.

“This festival was raised up by God to fulfill his purpose, and I believe that as long as we stay focused, true and committed to God, He will continue to sustain this festival.

“We would like to thank Digicel, Busta and Fruta for sponsoring in the past. Their input helped put the festival where it is today.”

Taylor said he hoped that one day the sponsors will return to the festival.

Culture Minister René Baptiste, speaking at the launch, also expressed gratitude to the sponsors, although she indicated that she was disappointed with their departure.

She said she had hoped that Digicel would have made the festival their signature event in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Much of the corporate sector of St. Vincent and the Grenadines do like to hold on to events which they find as their grounding event and something which they will be able to take with them throughout their years.”

The minister added that the festival should be used as a time for Vincentians to come together and share and declare God’s praises in the islands.

The remaining sponsors of the eight-year festival are the Department of Culture, Fran Paul’s Selections, Korean Divine Designs, Sugar George Rentals and New Life Ambassadors.

In the meantime, the festival is scheduled to kick off in earnest with the official opening on Sunday, April 4, at the Victoria Park with a concert which features gospel artistes the likes of Kara, Alayna Dublin, Voices of Victory, Driven and New Generation.

Special guest artistes on the night will be Wendy Mitchell and Agnitha Greene.

The zonal showcases are scheduled to begin on April 9 to 11 with music and song in all categories.

On the April 16 to 17 the zonal showcase in dance will take place followed by the drama categories on April 23 – 25.

These will be held at the Peace Memorial Hall.

From April 18 to 21 the committee will partner with the Association of Evangelical Churches for a series of crusades at the Victoria Park and will feature evangelist Clyde Dupin.

Other activities slated on the month-long calendar of events include the CW Prescod Primary School’s very own gospel festival on April 30, and on May 1 and 2 the National Gospel Showcases Heaven on Earth Crusade which will feature Canadian Kim Arthur and Bishop Tudor Bismark of Zimbabwe.

On May 9 the 8th annual National Gospel Awards will be held.

Performances and presentation of awards and trophies to outstanding performers in the festival will take place on that night at the Peace Memorial Hall.

The churches and individuals are set to perform in seven zones in music dance and drama, with a new category in the music category, namely worship ministry.