The Canton Gospel Fest Homecoming is an event designed to celebrate the music and culture of Canton.
For Hurstine Watts, gospel music is a narrative art. "It tells a story of who we are; it tells a story of where we came from. It tells a story of where we are now, and it tells a story of where we hope to be in the future," Watts says.
Serving as president of the Black Heritage Committee, an affiliate of The Canton Convention and Visitors Bureau, she describes gospel as "feel good" music that makes you "clap and wave your hands."
The Canton Gospel Fest Homecoming is an event designed to celebrate the music and culture of Canton. Event producer Cynthia Goodloe Palmer believes that gospel music is synonymous with the city of Canton, which produced famous gospel singers such as the Canton Spirituals and Reverend Cleophus Robinson.
The ladies of the Black Heritage Committee, along with the Canton Convention and Visitors Bureau, hold this program every July 4. This year the Canton Gospel Fest will feature acts such as The 4 Spirits, Genesis, Delores Brown, The Sons of Judah, Phiona McDonald, The New Truelight Inspirational Mass Choir and the McNeil Drummers.
"We like to bring families together," said Jo Ann Gordon, executive director of the Canton Convention and Visitors Bureau. No alcoholic beverages are allowed at this family-orientated event. However, you can bring your lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets to enjoy the festivities.
"It's open to all: black, white, young, old, rich, poor--whoever enjoys gospel music," Goodloe Palmer said.
This year marks the festival's 20th anniversary, and organizers have some special events planned to commemorate the milestone. With fireworks in the sky and great music in the air, July 4 in Canton will be full of gospel and good times.
The Canton Gospel Fest Homecoming will be held on the Historic Canton Courthouse Square across the street from the Canton Convention and Visitors Bureau (147 N. Union St., Canton) on July 4 starting at 6 p.m. If you are interested in performing at the Canton Gospel Fest Homecoming next year or would like to volunteer, contact Jo Ann Gordon at the Canton Convention and Visitors Bureau at 601-859-1307.