June 8 and 9 will be exciting days of music and carnival attractions in Potterville. The return of Gospel Fest is set to be just as exciting, more organized, more diverse than the first year, but with the same emphasis of family friendliness and community togetherness.

Gospel Fest, Potterville’s homegrown music festival, was a new idea for 2017 after the announcement that Gizzard Fest would be discontinued. David Dickerson and son, Clint Dickerson, came together with a handful of other Potterville residents with the spark of an idea for a night or two of gospel-oriented music. The idea quickly escalated to a full festival, with carnival attractions, vendors, a parade, and more.

The group formed their own 501c3 non-profit and started preparations for the festival. Much of the resources of the 2017 festival were on a volunteer basis, including musicians, some vendors, and carnival attractions, while other components were paid for by sponsors. Most of the 2018 festival will look the same as 2017’s trial run, with a few major and minor changes.

Clint Dickerson, the music/talent curator of the festival, boasted this year of more diverse music, and perhaps larger platforms. Where last year the festival had primarily gospel and Contemporary Christian rock style music on one stage, this year he’s expanded the scope of styles, and hopes for an additional stage. Gospel Fest will present 18 bands for visitors, with the possibility of a talent show and other interactive stage possibilities.

Similarly, the festival committee sought to diversify the activities available at the festival to be inclusive of more age groups. Last year Gospel Fest had few activities geared toward ages 10-20 years old, a problem they hope is remedied by younger sounding music and a wider swath of games and attractions.

In some ways the festival has narrowed the scope of activities due to issues that arose in the first year. Gospel Fest 2018 will not offer fireworks after a police chase involving helicopters was the cause of the cancelled sky show. Similarly, the festival committee opted to not bring a hot air balloon and pilot for the 2018 festival after wind conditions grounded the 2017 attraction.

“We just decided to avoid offering something that could be cancelled later on,” said Clint.

With some activities set in stone, and others still up in the air, the next step for the festival is finding more volunteers. Sponsors, cleaning crews, band and stage aids, and parking personnel are still needed to make the festival run smoothly and present Potterville in the best possible light.

Gospel Fest is an opportunity by and for the Potterville community. The original intent of the festival was to bring the community together over music and a safe carnival atmosphere that reflects an earlier time, where neighbors knew each other and people of all kinds and opinions came together. David and Clint have both commented on the unusual divide that exists in even the smallest of communities, and they hope Gospel Fest will continue to grow and be Potterville’s attempt at bridging social divides.

“The purpose is just to bring everyone together,” said Clint.

Questions, suggestions, and volunteer inquiries can be sent to gospelfest@gmail.com, or made to Clint Dickerson directly by calling (517) 285-2640.