The countdown begins!

Tick tock, tick tock . . . , it goes, as we count down the hours to the Caribbean’s premier Christian music and arts festival. We are just over 24 hours away from the start of the Barbados Gospelfest, that literally bowls off tomorrow night at seven with the annual 20/20 cricket exhibition match at Bryer Hall Pasture in Christ Church.

This much anticipated game is expected to be hotly contested as the Barbados Gospelfest Eleven, led by executive producer Adrian Agard, battle against the Celebrity Eleven, captained by Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite. Watch Pastor Lennox Boyce, Pastor Selwyn Brathwaite, broadcaster Ronnie Clarke, Paul Ashby and Anthony Green of the Barbados Gospelfest team try to overcome the celebrities, who include Admiral Nelson, former Barbados all-rounder Franklyn Stephenson, Barry Wilkinson, international cricket umpire Gregory Brathwaite, KP and Errol Griffith.

Hezekiah Walker
Hezekiah Walker

Meanwhile, the overseas gospel artists have started arriving in the island and will continue until Wednesday, when international headliner Hezekiah Walker, of Every Praise fame, touches down at Grantley Adams International Airport.  Walker, who is scheduled to perform on Saturday, May 24, at the Pine Hill Dairy Ultimate Gospel at the Wildey Gymnasium at 7 p.m., will be here a little earlier than usual for a headliner.

The reason? It’s in preparation for his “live” radio broadcast on Thursday and next Friday from Barbados, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., when this Grammy Award-winning artiste and founder of the Love Fellowship Choir, links up with WLIB Radio in the New York Tri-State to “big up” this country. This is Walker’s regular radio programme in the United States, and on this occasion, he will take the opportunity to talk with local tourism officials and help promote Barbados and the festival.

This Sunday, Barbadians –– and whosoever else –– desirous of being part of the festival will have the opportunity to join the congregation of the Convenant Life Teaching Centre in Green Hill, St Michael, for a time of thanksgiving and worship to usher in an “awesome” week of praise and celebration to God.  Starting time is 8:30 a.m. The Barbados Gospelfest Mass Choir will be among the featured artistes ministering at this free service.

The “week” continues on Tuesday, May 20, with the rapidly growing Hymnspeak at St Mary’s Anglican Church, Bridgetown, from 7 p.m., followed on Wednesday by the Barbados Public Workers’ Cooperative Credit Union Limited’s Sunset Concert in Independence Square from 5:30 p.m., featuring a mixture of emerging talent from Barbados and the Caribbean, along with the more established performers.

Joseph Niles
Joseph Niles

On Thursday, May 22, the Barbados Gospelfest executive continues to honour the outstanding contribution of iconic artiste Joseph Niles to the music ministry at home –– and abroad. Niles, affectionately referred to as the Godfather Of Gospel Music In Barbados, will be recognized in the annual Joseph Niles Legacy Lecture at the Grande Salle of the Central Bank of Barbados, beginning at 8 p.m. Entrance is free of charge.

The Capita Financial Services Laugher & Jazz will have you grooving and holding your belly and bawling on Friday, May 23, from 8 pm at Divi Southwinds Hotel Resort, St Lawrence, Christ Church. As we said before, Saturday, May 24, is the Pinehill Dairy Ultimate Gospel at the Wildey Gymnasium with headliner Hezekiah Walker and his Love Fellowship Choir, along with our top acts from here and overseas.

From 9 a.m. that same day, there will be a free Signia Artiste Development Workshop at the Grande Salle.

The 2014 Barbados Gospelfest climaxes on Sunday, May 25, at Farley Hill National Park, with LIME’s One Awesome Day concert highlighting an impressive line-up of local, regional and international acts, with the Grammy Award-winning Tye Tribbett. That starts at 1 p.m.

Nicovia and Larix
Nicovia and Larix

Those acts who will be performing during the week-long festival include John Yarde and Nicovia & Larix from Barbados, and overseas artistes Sherwin Gardner, Damita Haddon, Marvia Providence, Curtis Haywood and Rod Z (comedian). Gershwin Lake & Parables and Annastasia Baker are also scheduled to perform.

A major choir competition is being introduced this year that is to become a fixture on the Barbados Gospelfest agenda and a platform for bigger things for those singing groups. I’m outta here for now. Blessings!





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