Gospel festival a hit

17 years ago

    The fourth annual Country Gospel Music Festival brought musicians from all over the East Coast to Farm Park in Fort Fairfield on July 14. The event helped kick off the Potato Blossom Festival which had daily events through July 22.

   According to Shawn Murchison, one of the event organizers, the goal of the event was to “provide an organized gospel festival to the residents of Aroostook County.”
He was very pleased with the result as the festival had 11 performers and approximately 350 to 400 audience members throughout the day. Listeners appeared to agree with his sentiment, as they spent the afternoon milling around stages chatting with friends and keeping time with the musicians.

Highlights of the festival included a powerful performance by the MacDonald Family Singers from Mass. who played a number of gospel tunes to the delight of the crowd. The ten-member band, with eight children ranging in age from 7 to 22, played a number of instruments during their performance including a keyboard, fiddle, stand up bass, guitar and harmonica. In addition to playing a several instruments, 19-year old Bonnie MacDonald has recently begun to try her hand at writing some original ballads which they performed for the crowd.
The MacDonalds were not the only family that drove up to perform. The Patrick and Ronda Denny from Poland Springs also made the trip with their five children to the festival. The family enjoyed both performing and having the opportunity to spend some time with other musical families. Ronda Denny stated that they enjoyed the “down home feel” they found in Aroostook County, and they felt “blessed” to be able to come and take part in the festival.

The festival also contained a number of vendors which sold everything from hamburgers to festival T-shirts to the audience members. Many of the vendors, like the Cornerstone Christian Academy in Presque Isle were selling food to raise money for a good cause. Julie Brown, who volunteered her afternoon to sell pies, stated that all of the money raised during the pie sale would go towards new playground equipment for the school.
Murchison’s goal is to keep building the festival and to eventually have it grow to be a two-day event that would allow audience members to camp overnight like they do at the annual Blue Grass Festival in Fort Fairfield.