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Inaugural Kingston Jerk and Gospel Music Festival a success

Published:Wednesday | October 21, 2015 | 12:01 PMShereita Grizzle
Contributed Katalys Crew
Jodi-Ann Pantry
Gospel Recording Artiste, Chozenn

Fun, food and wholesome family entertainment were the order of the day at the inaugural staging of the Kingston Jerk and Gospel Music Festival.

Scores of patrons flocked the lawns of the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on Monday for a day of family fun and they were not disappointed. With various booths scattered across the venue boasting several different attractions, there was lots to do. Bounce-a-bouts, Ferris wheel and train rides kept the children busy all day, while parents browsed the shopping strip hoping to take home a few of the items on sale.

Aside from the kiddies? village and the shopping strip, patrons also indulged in the delectable food offered inside the venue. If the scrumptious jerk delights available at almost every stall were not enough to satisfy your cravings, there were also hot dogs, roast fish, popcorn, ice-cream and much more mouth watering treats in abundance. It was a foodie?s paradise inside Ranny Williams.

The concert aspect of the entertainment package did not get underway until 5 p.m., but patrons didn?t seem to mind. They took advantage of the huge space inside the venue; some played games while others spread towels on the lawns, moving into relaxation mode before the concert. However, as soon as the first act entered the stage, everyone was on their feet and ready to have fun. Nadine Blair and Kiki were the night?s emcee?s and they did a good job of keeping the crowd entertained and engaged between acts.

God Artist and Queson Brown, were among the first set of acts to take the stage in the first segment of the concert and they managed to get the audience warmed up, as they whet their appetites for the gospel and prepared them for the other acts set to come later on.

After the break, Jermaine Gordon kicked off the second segment and he had the audience completely captivated from the beginning of his set. He opened with a melodious rendition of Days of Elijah and led the crowd into a sing-along all the way through. By this time, evening was dawning and the mosquitoes were out in their numbers, but guests didn?t seem to mind.

dancing and jumping

By dancing and jumping through the performances, patrons managed to keep the pests from making contact. Gordon had guests in worship mode from the get go, but when he sang, You Are God, the crowd could not contain their praises and shouts of hallelujah echoed across the venue as they worshipped. He made way for Kimola Brown-Lowe. The energetic singer kept the momentum going with a high-energy set that had the audience dancing up a storm. Not only did Brown-Lowe entertain, but she also evangelised. Patrons welcomed her message - ?preparing as Christians? - as she offered words of encouragement to remain steadfast in the faith. She made way for Jodi-Ann Pantry. Many may remember Pantry as the child star from the 2001 JCDC Gospel song competition and later as a finalist in the Digicel Rising Stars competition in 2007. Declaring that she is back in the business of serving the Lord, Pantry thrilled the audience with a soulful version of Jaci Velasquez?s On My Knees, before closing with her 2001 entry in the JCDC gospel song competition, I?ll Give My Heart.

D Murphy, Sean Lypher, St Matthew, Katalys Crew, Omari, Rondell Positive and event organiser, Chozenn were among the night?s other standout performances.

The man behind the event, Chozenn, lauded the event as a success, saying, ?With three other major events happening on the same night and for an event that is happening for the first time, we got a good turnout. I am very pleased and I am grateful and humbled by the support and I?m looking forward to next year, to God be the Glory. Next year will be bigger and better. This is now a cemented calendar event and we plan on expanding as we go along.?

diverse lineup

This year we brought artistes from other Caribbean countries and next year we are hoping to book some international acts to perform, artistes from the U.S., etc.? Chozenn also went on to thank sponsors Clearsounds Productions, Bigga, Boom energy drink, WATA, Digicel, JCDC, Caribbean Airlines, The Best Dressed Chicken, among others. He says without their support, the event could not have materialised.