The annual GospelFest features a gospel music festival, fundraiser and talent competition. The inaugural festival was held in 1983. Sponsored by McDonald’s, the festival is being hosted by the Prudential Center for the past six years. Emmy Award winner, A. Curtis Farrow is the director and producer of the festival. Every year, rising stars belonging to different ages and cultures come to compete in a wide range of categories. The competitions in GospelFest primarily include categories such as Soloists, Praise Dance, Gospel Comedians, Gospel Rappers and more. It is known to be the largest collection of the gospel talent. Thousands of performers gather to be a part of the most extravagant celebration of the nation. The event is recorded and aired on WWOR-TV and WABC-TV.
The GospelFest has been celebrated successfully for over thirty years now. Over the years, it has surfaced as a preeminent Gospel celebration that is a source of encouragement, joy, inspiration and hope for millions of struggling artists. The participants who previously took part in the festival landed themselves good careers in the entertainment industry. Renowned Bishop Hezekiah Walker is one such example. Besides being an entertainment platform, the McDonald’s GospelFest contest has proved to be a significant fundraising medium as well. The funds raised from the event are utilized in the local community to support education.
The history of GospelFest shows some of the best editions of the festival to have been held at the Prudential Center. It was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the festival in 2008 when it shifted to the Prudential Center in order to cater to an increased audience. . Celebrating with the theme‘25 Years of Glory - Let There be Peace!’, the headliners included Kirk Franklin, Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Choir, Cissy Houston and more. In 2009, over eighty thousand people auditioned and fifteen hundred of them participated in the contests. Post competition celebration included performances by Vickie Winans, Bishop Hezekiah Walker, Regina Belle and more. Next year, around eight hundred and fifty people participated in the competition. The line-up of star performers that year included Dionne Warwick, Keith Wonderboy Johnson, Bishop T.D. Jakes and more.
In 2011, on Father’s Day, the festival presented ‘The Mighty Men of Valour’. Over eleven hundred competitors were chosen from forty thousand people who appeared for the audition. The gospel fest included some of the biggest names such as James Fortune and Bobby Jones. Year 2012 featured ‘Honor Thy Mother’ where one thousand contestants taking part in the competitions. Shirley Caesar, Steve Harvey, Fred Hammond and many more performers were part of the line-up. GospelFest 2013 lasted for eight hours and included performances by Aretha Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, Smokie Norful and more.
Coinciding with the Mother’s Day, GospelFest 2014 will tribute ‘The Women Who Worship’. Come visit the Prudential Center with all the dear women in your lives; may it be your mother, sister, grand-mother, cousin, aunt, wife or daughter. But don’t get confused with the women centric theme as the event is open for all. Share the fantabulous experience with your dear ones by booking GospelFest tickets.