4 Sep 2023

The Gospel Music Festival that WANTS to attract atheists

The UK's gospel music scene is blooming lately, with new artists, events and award shows popping up each month. This year, for the very first time, a festival for gospel music lovers will take place in Liverpool and director, Anu Omideyi, says atheists will be in attendance.

Atheism and Christianity have directly opposed beliefs, with atheists believing there is no God whilst Christians believing in the one true God, so why will atheists be at a gospel music festival? Director Anu Omiyedi says it's because they want everyone, no matter what their beliefs, to come and enjoy the wonders of gospel music and for the festival to be an entry point in to the Christian faith: "this is a festival where everybody can come, people that love and know gospel music, that are really strong in faith and want to enjoy and want to get stuck into the worship, but also they can do so alongside people that have never walked into a religious or faith-based atmosphere before and who will tell you that they never will.

We're trying to attract the people that say, 'I'm an atheist, I don't believe, I have never', I'm quite serious about it, I know a few that are coming. We want to be that entry point in that event that opens the window and says, 'look here, this is what's available to you and this is the music.'"

The Gospel Music Festival, taking place on the 9th of September 2023, aims to bring the heart of God to people. Omiyedi says that they've sought God throughout the process of putting the event together, wanting to ensure it's truly a place for all people and somewhere people can come if they don't believe and feel safe: “it's absolutely the place that you say to that loved one that you've been praying for, for you know the last 10 years, come along, just enjoy this. This isn't confronting, this is music and it's fun and everyone can sit alongside it.

I'm reminded of several scriptures that I've been really focusing on in the run up to this, just trying to really make sure I get this right with God, saying to Him ‘I don't want to go too far to the left and I don't want to go too far to the right. I need to really make sure that we represent your heart here.’”

The Kingdom Choir at the Santa Barbra Bowl

Kicking of Gospel Heritage Month with a bang, the festival is being held in Liverpool as opposed to further down south where many would expect such a monumental event to take place. Omiyedi says Liverpool has historical significance for the heritage of Black people in the UK and they wanted it to be there: "Liverpool is a really important place for the heritage of Black music and Black people in this country. Liverpool was the trading port that the author of the well-known gospel song Amazing Grace, John Newton, used to trade quite significantly. He had that experience and that awakening of being a slave trader and coming to the realization of what he was doing and that change around and that finding God, which led to the song, Amazing Grace.

Do you know that Liverpool accounted for over 80% of slavery in the transatlantic slave trade. It's crazy. So, when you say why Liverpool and when you say Gospel Hit Music Heritage Month, there’s a lot there that ties it all in."

Promising to be a welcoming, non-confronting event where all can enjoy the sounds of gospel music, the Gospel Music Festival is one to bring anyone, no matter what beliefs, culture, or race. Headlined my the likes of The Kingdom Choir and Calledout Music, some of the gospel music worlds best artists will be gracing the stage to bring the house down in Liverpool.

To get your tickets and find out more about what's on the agenda visit www.liverpoollighthouse.com/lgmf.

Catch Cassandra weekdays at 6pm on Premier Gospel Radio. 

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