FOR THE PEOPLE: Dynamic duo Papa San and Kirk Franklin wow the crowd at the 2010 concert at JC.
Showtime and everything comes together in an almost seamless blend of lights, camera and action. But, as Tommy Cowan is quick to point out, staging Fun In The Son, Jamaica's premier gospel event, is no cakewalk. "I can tell you that each year there are fresh challenges for us, whether it has to do with getting the production sets in the best working conditions or securing adequate support from the sponsoring partners. It is not easy," explains the legendary show promoter and MC, sitting behind his desk at Glory Music's Gallery Way office in New Kingston.
The day-long mega-concert and family festival is less than a week away, so it's crunch time at the office, meaning phones are ringing off their hooks, and staffers regularly huddle to fine-tune plans. On Friday when TALLAWAH dropped in on the team, much of the conversation in the office centred on international headliner Pastor Hezekiah Walker and details of his arrival in Jamaica later this week.
For Cowan, Walker's presence at Fun In The Son 2014 represents a sort of coming full circle. "Hezekiah was one of the first overseas artistes we've brought to Jamaica. In fact, I think he performed at the very first Fun In The Son in 2002," Cowan reflects. "He's been a well-respected artiste and minister for many, many years, and his new song "Every Praise Is To Our God" is the song that's really the favourite across the Caribbean right now. And there was an amazing story in the news that went viral about a boy that was kidnapped and kept singing that song until his captors eventually released him. So it's fantastic that Hezekiah will be here to perform it for the people as well."
Over the course of its nearly 14-year history, what has been the core appeal of Fun In The Son is that mix of rousing performances by the very best in gospel entertainment (the likes of Papa San and Kevin Downswell) with a range of fun activities for the entire family. With that winning formula still very much in place, Cowan and the Glory Music crew are expecting to draw yet another mammoth throng - this time to the Portmore Mall Park in St. Catherine, this Saturday, July 12.
"I believe the turnout will be wonderful. We're looking forward to a good harvest," Cowan says. "The idea behind a Fun In The Son is about changing lives. How many persons' lives can we affect? So, yes, we might be experiencing some new challenges, but the focus remains one and the same: to know Christ and to let Him be known."