Port of Spain, February 28 2023: The Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Trinidad and Tobago Music Company Limited (MusicTT) and the CELIAN Group held a media conference at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Nicholas Towers, Port of Spain, to announce the launch of the first annual T&T Gospel Festival. The Gospel Festival will take place from 27th – 30th April 2023 with three main events – Exalt: The Worship Experience, iRep Christ Concert and the Gospel Music Awards of Trinidad and Tobago (GMATT).
The event, which was hosted by MusicTT’s General Manager, Melissa Jimenez, opened with a presentation by Mr. Ian Haywood Jr., Chairman of the CELIAN Group. Mr. Haywood stated that the T&T Gospel Festival is the final pillar of CELIAN’s strategic framework 2020, “At this phase, we have pivoted to take three (3) of our big brand events and put them into one weekend. We have also encouraged the region to be a part of this. Trinidad and Tobago has been one of the biggest hubs for gospel music and it is a ripe time to have the support, not just from a music perspective, but also from an educational and mentorship perspective.” Mr. Ian Haywood Jr also stressed the need to transition local gospel artistes into commercially viable businesses.
Also present was the Minister of Education, Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, who addressed the importance of gospel music in education, “the Ministry of Education is pleased to be a partner and to support this initiative. We are facing times when we want to boost our young people’s educational prowess and holistic development and the music they listen to has a big role to play in how they act, the things they do, and also, the guidance they seek. This development can be achieved through the input of our gospel music industry.” This partnership will also enable local gospel music artistes to visit our nation’s schools and serve as mentors to the students.
Mr. Haywood also spoke on the potentially significant impact the festival will have on the nation’s tourism and trade industries, “Why April? We did extensive research which found that the periods of April and September are two of the lowest periods of tourist arrivals and we decided that we would take the responsibility to contribute to one of the low periods. Lent is our time and we want to embrace that and encourage the wider Caribbean and international market to come to Trinidad in April and be a part of this experience.”
Senator the Honourable Paula Gopee-Scoon, Minister of Trade and Industry, expressed her pleasure, on behalf of the ministry, in playing a significant role in this year’s Gospel Festival. She commended the CELIAN Group on their contributions to the nation through their initiatives which have been supported by MusicTT, “This, in fact, is diversification, because it is an expansion of the music industry and, of course, it is creating employment, exports, and is a contribution to the economic landscape of Trinidad and Tobago. I would really like to commend the CELIAN Group, not only for hosting this 2023 edition of the Gospel Festival, but for what it would amount to; increased flights, increased hotel rooms, and creating economic activity in Trinidad and Tobago and expanding our event tourism.”
The T&T Gospel Festival will not only focus on a musical component, but will also include a music business summit, and provide space for local cuisine to be featured, as well as create business-to-business and business-to-customer opportunities for SMEs. It will also create a platform to showcase the creativity and talent of various Trinbagonian artistes, musicians, dancers, fashion designers, set and stage designers and other creative and cultural elements of the industry.
“MusicTT has been a sponsor of the GMATT since 2019 and continues to be a strong supporter of the gospel music industry and the initiatives that help it to grow and thrive. We look forward to working with all partners to make this year’s Gospel Festival a success.” – Melissa Jimenez.
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