First in Print: First annual gospel fest one to remember

LaTreshia Douglas-Simon

On last Saturday evening, the First Annual Gospel Festival was held on the grounds of the Louisiana Square. There were people who traveled both near and far for this event. This festival was one way to reclaim the town’s heritage.

“The purpose of this event is to preserve the integrity of the gospel music,” said Pastor Freddie Allen Sr., the sponsor for the event. “You don’t have to be a certain religion to enjoy the music.”

The host for this event was Esther Wooten of Jackson, Mississippi. She said,  “despite of the heat, God is still good.”  As the gospel singers performed, the crowd was singing, clapping and shouting to the music.

There were soloists, local church choirs, ensembles, spiritual dancers, and musical groups who performed.

For some, the festival was an opportunity to enjoy some real talent and good food. Emma Curry from Jackson, Mississippi said Pastor Allen invited her to the festival and she was excited to be there to share in it.

An African American base group traveled from Cleveland Ohio to attend this past weekend’s festival to talk to teenagers and adults about the AIDS and HIV cases across the country. They also discussed the importance of decision-making and answered questions from the audience.

Ogreta Colly traveled with the Gospel Inspiration group from Boutte, who also performed at the festival. She said even though it was a hot Saturday, she really had a nice time and would come back for another gospel festival.

“When the spirit gets to moving, it just takes over” said Esther Wooten.

An elderly lady stated, “When people don’t see their history, their lives don’t have

a sense of direction.” “You have to know where you have been to know where you are going.”

Pastor Allen said he prays that the festival becomes bigger and better over time.