Richmond, VA – In a city that has been known for its mixture of Traditional and Quartet sounds from Sunday morning church services to evening Gospel concerts, the stage is now being set for a larger sound from a wider range of people for one of the largest Gospel gatherings in the city’s history. The 1stAnnual Gospel Music Fest with “The Belle” will include the sounds of Traditional, Contemporary, Urban and Neo Soul Gospel.
The vision was birthed from the spirit of Gospel music industry, multimedia journalist, publicist and promoter Sheilah Belle a.k.a. “The Belle” after receiving the invitation from the Cultural Arts Manager for the City of Richmond, Brian Little to pull together a Gospel event.
“I’m a Richmond native, who grew up in Byrd Park. My weekends often included going to Dogwood Dell with family members and friends to see plays and concerts or enjoy the fireworks while standing around Fountain Lake. When I received the call to pull together a Gospel Event for my own city and to become this year’s guest producer, I was speechless,” says The Belle. “All I could think about were the endless opportunities I could provide for so many talented people who sing and dance before the Lord from Richmond throughout Virginia and beyond.”
It was only days later when The Belle put together a rough draft with Little smiling with approval.
Little says, “While we have had several spiritual and inspirational events hosted for the city of Richmond at various venues, I am excited about what Ms. Belle is bringing to the table for Dogwood Dell. Our goal is grow what we have been doing for years and open the doors for new comers and new talent.
Traditionally Dogwood Dell has played host to concerts, plays and musicals that showcase local talent from June to August yearly. Family members and friends come throughout the Summer with lawn chairs and picnic baskets. Some of their special Gospel guests over the years have included Larry Bland and the Volunteer Choir, God’s Image and Cora Armstrong. This year you can also expect to see them again, along with more than 15 other groups and performers.
The Belle says, “I realize this is my first year behind this event, but I hope to grow this event to be as large as the Chicago Gospel Music Festival, if not larger. There is so much talent out here, not only in Richmond, but across the country and providing them with a stage, an audience and an opportunity, is what some of them simply need. Hopefully I’ll be able to provide just that with the blessing of my own city.”
Here is this year’s line up that includes everything from singers, dancers, step teams and more:
Dogwood Dell “Ha Penny” Stage – 3:00p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
CoRey P. Goss and JT Logan
Cletus Kassady (Gospel Comedian)
Alvin Fowlkes and the B.O.M.B. Squad, Dawidy, Van Boyd, Kim Pearson,
Kenny Mayo and God’s Praise, Warren Caldwell and Authentic Praise
Larry Miles & Fresh Anointing Cathedral, Sisterly Grace
WUNDA FAM, C-MO, Julia Candia, Jesus Rising Stars
Play Area for the Kids/Bring your picnic baskets/Lawn Chairs/Enjoy Great FOOD
From more than 15 of the Best Soul Food Locations!
Dogwood Dell Evening Main Stage – 6:00p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Carlton Blunt, Marie Hayes, God’s Image, Laymetha
Elder Lindsey & Friends N Worship
St. Paul’s Baptist Church Workshop Mass Choir
Brenda Campbell and Unlimited Praise, Robbie Cunningham & Friends
Naomi K. Thomas, Cora Armstrong, James Henley & NuD’votion
National Recording Artist Minister Earl Bynum and the Mount Unity Mass Choir
National Recording Artist Earnest Pugh
(AND A SURPRISE GUEST!)
The Belle says, “While this is a serious under taking, this is also a major community effort as well however we now have the help of nearly fifty volunteers. But this is also merely another platform that God is giving His people to represent the kingdom. May we all pull together and ask for God’s blessing over this event and all of those involved to make it a success.”