Hailed as the first Caribbean Gospel festival, every year in May thousands of Barbadians and visitors come together for a weeklong of inspirational gospel music, pulsating beats and just a really good lime.
From its inception in 1993, Barbados Gospelfest has managed to attract renowned artistes from the neighbouring islands and mainly the United States.
Those that have performed in Barbados include Shirley Caesar, Yolanda Adams, Kirk Franklin and the legendary Dr. Bobby Jones. Over the last 15 years artistes have also been drawn from Africa, the United Kingdom, Canada, Jamaica, Us Virgin Islands and the French island of Martinique giving it its international flair.
The brainchild of the then Minister of Tourism Wes Hall, now Rev Wes Hall, also features many local artists like the band Promise and Sis. Marshall, also known as the mother of gospel in Barbados and exposes up and coming talent, in many different genres from calypso to rap, reggae and even rock. And if you think that’s a diverse mix, the week of events is sure to offer something to fit your specific preference.
For the more traditional gospel music lover, a night dedicated to hymns held at the St. Michael’s Cathedral is always a tasteful option! This usually features choirs from across the island.
The free Sunset Concert at the Amphitheatre (General Post Office, Bridgetown) normally held on Wednesdays showcases local talent in praise and dance. Specifically for lovers of dance,
Expressions of Gospel features that art form expressed by dancers who are serious about their craft from ballet to Hip Hop as well as ministry in mime.
Friday night is for the particularly young and young at heart, where you can jam to the latest gospel tracks delivered by a DJ and enjoy ministry from regional artists in a club like setting, flashing lights and all!
The weekend normally attracts the largest crowd, with its headlining international acts. On Saturday night, patrons flock to the Sir Garfield Sobers Sports Complex, affectionately known as the Gym, for a more formal night of worship. Artists recently featured on this night include Martha Munuzi, Helen Baylor and Lisa Kemp.
The big finale held on Sunday and often referrer to as “One Awesome Day” takes place on scenic Farley Hill, St. Joseph and is a perfect spot for unpacking a picnic basket or sampling local goodies from the many dishes on sale. And as the name suggest it starts around noon and doesn’t stop until the stars come out.
The Barbados Gospelfest is undoubtedly one of the featured events on the Barbados calendar and is truly a festival to remember.