The day was cloudy and cool, the perfect setting for Gospelfest One Awesome Day at Farley Hill National Park.
Performances from Kim Arthur, Schreffler Germal Maxwell, Stacey Little and steel pannist Mark Forde got the day of praise and worship started for the patrons who had arrived early and picked their picnic spots, and those others who were making their way inside.
The Gospelfest Dancers, decked in army wear, took the stage to perform an energetic dance to Papa San’s popular song Hell Broke Loose. The dance was a big hit with the crowd, the performers receiving a rousing applause.
Barbadian songbird Sirrah had everyone singing along with her three original songs Destiny, Butterfly and Let Your Light Shine. She was followed by minister and pastor John Yarde, whose rich and powerful voice echoed throughout the hills. He gave passionate performances of his songs Echo, None Like You and Release The Sound.
Energetic performer Neesha Woodz blasted on to the stage with a cover of Winner by Nigerian singer Brenda, that got everyone on their feet, jumping and waving their Barbados Flags. Neesha then gave high-energy performances of her popular original songs So Amazing and Fyah Fyah!!! The crowd was indeed on fire by the time Neesha had left the stage.
Special mention must be made of DJ Pedro G who kept the crowd moving during the breaks, playing popular gospel tracks.
Next were Gospelfest stalwarts Promise, who have been performing for over 30 years, but have not lost their stride. Songs like Yaweh, I Command My Hands and Unconditional, along with an old-time medley of gospel songs thrilled the crowd, getting everyone into dancing.
Promise paved the way for the woman whom MC Imran Richards deemed The Mother Of Gospel –– Sister Marshall, who performed Marching On and her ever-popular hit Walk Holy. It is no surprise everyone on the Hill knew the words and became Sister Marshall’s backup singers.
Barbadian reggae artist Gozzy followed with his original hits Walk On By and Redemption Music. The 2016 Barbados Music Awards Male Gospel Artist Of The Year then debuted the song Say A Prayer. According to Gozzy, the self-penned song was birthed into him by God’s Spirit, urging His people to rise up and pray for the nation.
This song was his contribution to Barbados’ 50th year of Independence, as he wants the nation to get back to where we were 50 years ago, when the church was setting the standard. The new song was well received by those in attendance, as many lifted their hands to worship and nodded in agreement with the lyrics.
Stellar Award winners Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy thoroughly impressed everyone with their flawless harmonies that sent thrills through many. They opened with a rhythmic medley of gospel songs, followed by the popular I Am (Miracle). During this performance, Brown transformed the Hill into a thousand-voice mass choir as he got everyone singing the different soprano, alto and tenor parts of the song.
His gospel version of All Of Me by John Legend, and his worship song Worth were also a hit with patrons.
Trinidadian artiste J Prince brought the praise party beginning with his reggae tune More Like You, followed by the soca hits Blood, Good O, In Control, Let Jesus Row and the popular Thunder Roll. There was hardly anyone left seated by this point as the Caribbean rhythms prompted everyone to jump, dance and wave.
British gospel singer and winner of British gospel talent show Time2shine in 2013, Annastasia Barker, took to the stage with worship-filled performances of Can’t Give Up Now by Mary Mary and He’s Able by Deitrick Haddon.
Closing out the show was popular Trinidadian reggae artiste Positive, who entered onstage to thunderous applause. Starting with his hit Encounter, he continued the praise party with Notice Of Eviction, giving a few testimonies between verses. His other hits Two Man Army, Sweeter, Never Let Go and Mighty Healer brought the party to a climax.
Positive then slowed things down a bit performing Scars with one of his backup singers, Dernielle Diaz. Diaz’s impressive vocals brought an atmosphere of worship to the Hill, many patrons closing their eyes and raising their hands to the heavens in praise. Diaz then gave a soulful performance of the hymn I Need Thee Every Hour that had many in tears.
Positive ended the evening with a new song –– You Kept Me, bringing back the party and closing out One Awesome Day with everyone in high spirits.