Fans battle Mother Nature for 2022 Gospel Fest

Fans battle Mother Nature for 2022 Gospel Fest
October 05
15:06 2022

Rain and chilly temperatures, the remnants of Hurricane Ian, couldn’t damper the mood during the 2022 Gospel Fest at the Carolina Classic Fair last Sunday.  

The performers, hosts and even the fans brought some extra energy to bring some brightness to the gloomy afternoon. In recent years, Gospel Fest has continued to evolve by showcasing a myriad of gospel talent from your traditional style, contemporary gospel and even Christian rap as well. This year’s lineup included Willie Mason & Friends, Christina Gaylor, Jeremiah Salter, Paul Scott, Covered, Show off Praise, and pastor Michael Tyree.

Setting the tone for the day was Willie Mason & Friends as the opening act, who have been a staple at Gospel Fest for many years. From their opening song, everyone could tell that they were in store for a great performance.

“What we decided to do is that we were going to bring the energy and the fire because, I mean, God has been so good to us, especially in this season,” said Mason about their performance. “We came to offer something in this Gospel Fest that we have never done before.

“One of my choir members said ‘Now that’s how you open up a show!’ as we were coming off the stage. What I love about Friends is they are dedicated to what they do, so when they get up there, that passion is going to come out. I think that’s what the audience felt.”

Willie Mason & Friends consistently put on a great show each and every year they perform at Gospel Fest. They are one of the crowd favorites and Mason says that’s part of what fuels them to maintain their high level of excellence. 

“I am a rough taskmaster, so when we rehearse, we come in and we get the work done,” said Mason. “Here is what I always tell them: ‘If we say that He is an excellent God, you don’t want to present to Him anything other than excellence.’ So that is our goal that whenever we have the opportunity to share in music ministry, that we are going to give Him our best gift, our best offering in worship.”

There were also some first-time performers at Gospel Fest this year. Co-host Debra Terry-Stephens facilitated a great lineup of artists, some old and some new to the show. Gospel singer Christina Gaylor was one of those first-timers to Gospel Fest, but she did not let that stop her from putting together an unbelievable set.

“My worship is pure and wherever I go I love to worship God and I love being able to be in an atmosphere where there is a variety of people and personalities and all come together and worship God,” said Gaylor about what inspires her.

“That’s really what my motivation is. Knowing that we can all come together, no matter what color you are or what background you have, when we are all together, we can stand together as one to give God the glory.”

Gaylor says she enjoyed her first time performing at Gospel Fest. Even with the rain and the wind, she did not allow that to dampen her spirits. Having the chance to lift the spirits of those with her music is a joy for her.

“It was a little cold and my voice is cracking a little bit, but I think overall it went well,” she continued. “I love the atmosphere and the vibe of everyone.”

With Gospel Fest located at the clock tower stage near all of the food vendors, there is a lot of foot traffic that passes by during the performance. Sherry Newman was walking by with her family and stopped to listen for a few minutes.

“We didn’t actually know exactly what was going on,” said Newman about Gospel Fest. “We were coming from the rides trying to figure out what we were going to eat and heard the music playing. It was just something that caught my ear and before I knew it, we stood there for over 10 minutes just listening to the music. We made it a point to walk back by after we ate to hear who was performing next.”

Gospel Fest had something for the young people also. Christian hip-hop artist Paul Scott brought a different flavor to the event that really catered to the younger audience in attendance.

“A lot is happening in the world, so I wanted to express what God was saying at this time,” said Scott about his performance.  

Scott also writes all of his own lyrics. Being authentic is one of the most important things for him.

“I just write what I feel,” he said. “Our life gives us our best stories and I take what I can, being the author of that, and narrate that the best way I can.”

Once again, Gospel Fest was hosted by the incredible duo of Terry and Busta Brown. Their chemistry on stage gives the event that icing on the cake and keeps the crowd engaged throughout the day.

“The joy in the faces of those that come out to praise God and the pride they have in supporting the Chronicle is what I enjoy,” said Brown.  

“When we first met each other, we respected each other’s craft right away,” he said about Terry. “I thought she was hilarious, she thought I was hilarious. It’s hard to meet a woman that is that hilarious but has serious boundaries when it comes to her morals and love for God. To work with somebody who believes in you …  that’s always made us tight.”

Brown credits Terry for the way she is able to bring in artists from different generations and mesh them together to put on a great show. He says when people get to see the younger and the more traditional gospel on stage, they realize that the worship is all the same.  

This coming Sunday, The Chronicle will bring Jazz Fest to the Carolina Classic Fair starting at 3 p.m. Come on out and enjoy the lineup of great jazz artists. 

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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