The Festival Of Praise 2016 “The Game Of Life” was nothing short of phenomenal. Creator and Executive Producer Fred Hammond and his brother Ray Hammond have out done themselves with this one. I attended the gospel concert in the Hammond Brothers hometown of Detroit Michigan at the acclaimed Fox Theater.
Upon entering the concert venue I wasn’t sure of what to expect. However I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I would hear some good singing. With all-star gospel talents like Bishop Hezekiah Walker, Karen Clark-Sheard, Israel Houghton and of course the man himself Fred Hammond, what else was I to expect? And in addition to that they had the lovely Casey J and we all love her music, right? We sing it all the time, you know it, “fill me up, God, fill me up, God, fill me up”, yeah, that’s it!
What had me intrigued most was the last two talents who were on the bill, both whom I love, Comedian Earthquake and R&B powerhouse Regina Belle. I was curious as to how Fred and Ray would work them into the show. I enjoy them both as they are, I love the raw comedic, witty, charismatic performances that Earthquake gives. And I have been loving Regina Belle for more than 20 years now. However, being that these two gifts historically don’t cater to gospel audiences I was anxious to see how they would be interwoven into the show.
Well, let me tell you, I was sitting there waiting along with hundreds of other people then all of a sudden the music plays and we’re off (mind you it started on time). It was like sitting on an airplane and you taxi and taxi and then all of a sudden the plane takes speed and you’re up in the air ascending and ascending to that peak altitude. This concert was nothing short of that. When it took off, it took off and we never came down. Yeah the tone of music and the beat may have changed but the energy was still there. And at some points there was no music at all but we were still flying high. I left the Fox Theater that night refreshed, excited and energized. Not just because the band played skillfully or the singers sang with such great pitch and tone (even though they all did) it was because the environment and energy in the room was infectious, liberating and rejuvenating. Without telling too much (because I want you to go and experience it for yourself) it felt to me like a big huge family reunion or block party. You know that place where everybody knows everybody. No one is a stranger, we’re all just together kickin’ it and lovin’ on one another as we worship, praise and love on our God. We sang, we laughed and we cried, and the anoiting was present the entire time, it was absolutely remarkable. Fred Hammond and his team did a superb job with this one. I am anticipating Festival Of Praise 2017 and beyond.
I tell you if you haven’t attended this Festival Of Praise 2016 “The Game Of Life” you must do so. It will bless you. And take someone with you whether they’re saved or not. I believe they’ll walk away empowered and enlightened.
A few weeks before attending The Festival Of Praise 2016, I had the opportunity to catch up with it’s visionary and creator Fred Hammond. Take a listen to the insightful conversation we had CLICK HERE