Gospel acts deliver at FirstFest

BY RORY DALEY Observer writer daleyr@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, January 04, 2014

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DESPITE its premature ending, FirstFest held on the grounds of Jamaica College in St Andrew on New Year's Day was an amazing event.

Scheduled to run from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, the time allotted was not enough for the stellar line-up of gospel stars. The show was shut down by law enforcement officers just before 11:00 pm.

The musical programme began in the afternoon and there was no lull in the fans' cravings for their gospel music heroes and for the ministry they provided.

The first wave of acts including DivineHP, J Cee, Purity, Deneese Wright, and Kevin Smith all put in fine performances. But it was Dunamis Reignz with his mix of hard rock, Jamaican DJ style, and rapping that had the patrons going. He was only topped by Kevin Downswell, who had total control over the crowd, belting out his hits including You Make Me Stronger.

The show then switched gears into the old school revival performances from Joan Flemmings, George Banton, and Kuku Noo, who all left the packed venue dancing up a storm.

The gospel heavyweights did not disappoint. Ryan Mark pushed the crowd even further and mid-set rejoined with Kevin Downswell, who returned to place the fans under his spell. Reverend Goddy Goddy was next, showing off lyrical skills that would make most secular musicians jealous. His track Try Jesus sent the audience into a frenzy.

DJ Nicholas had a high-energy set. He couldn't stand still for even a second, pulling in his back-up singers into his non-stop dancing mode.

The penultimate act, Prodigal just only getting going when the show was brought to a halt. The crowd chanted and begged for a bit of leniency, then the headliner Stitchie was given a 15-minute set.




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