Full line up of Gospel music planned for Columbus’ Fourth of July weekend

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Watkins Family

The Watkins Family

Fourth of July activities always start a few days early in Columbus and for the 43rd year the fire department will get the stage and cookers fired up June 30, for their annual Columbus Fire Department BBQ and gospel sing.

The fire department begins serving at lunchtime and continues through the night in the firehouse, serving up slow cooked BBQ, hamburgers and hot dogs, soft drinks, etc. to raise money, as it has since 1973, for special fire department projects.

This year the department is looking to buy some new thermal imaging camera SCBA mask for interior firefighting and can be used for search and rescue.

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All food sale proceeds will go toward this project. The average cost of a meal is under $9.

As the sun goes down, the music starts up at 7 p.m. at the adjoining Columbus Veterans Park featuring local and nationally known southern gospel and bluegrass groups all four nights. (Four groups each night for a total of 16 different groups.)

The daily lineup includes:

Thursday, June 30:

Mike Upright: A nationally known country gospel vocalist with two dozen top 40 national singles under his belt including “Winner Either Way,” “The Gate,” and “The Great Physicians Hand.”

The Principles: Johnson City, Tennessee’s legendary mountain-style bluegrass group has been nominated for several Dove Awards for best bluegrass group in the GMA and recorded one of the most popular gospel songs in the southern gospel industry of the 1980s, “I want us to be together in heaven.”

King James Boys: This local bluegrass group from Cowpens is celebrating its 20th year. They have appeared at Dollywood several times and have recently been nominated in the Front Porch music awards.

The Masters Singers: A Chesnee-based group which has been singing since 1972 is making its 43rd appearance in Columbus.

Friday, July 1

Greg Day: Singer/Songwriter Greg Day has written a dozen top 40 singles in gospel music including “The Midnight Cry” which was listed as the number one song in gospel music for the entire 1980s decade.

The Brazzells: From the Augusta area, they have travelled and sung nationwide for three decades and feature traditional upbeat southern gospel.

The Atkins Family: A longtime favorite from the Upstate that has performed for four decades.

Wells of Joy: Country gospel group from the Glassy Mountain area of the Upstate.

Saturday, July 2

The Watkins Family: A Georgia-based bluegrass gospel group recently inducted in the Georgia music hall of fame.

New Salem: A Winston-Salem-based family group playing multiple instruments and awesome vocals.

Soul Vision: A Hendersonville-based group which recently revived their first national top 40 singles.

Brian Birchfield: An energetic male vocalist singer/songwriter from Surgoinsville, Tenn. with several gospel hits accredited to his talent.

Sunday, July 3 (Bluegrass Night)

The Golden Valley Crusaders: A Rutherford County-based bluegrass group with a long time following.

Colt Creek Bluegrass: From Saluda and recently featured in the DVD documentary “Saluda Music Traditions.”

Joyful Noise: A young group from Sunny View featuring members in their teens and early twenties.

Tyger River Band: A young bluegrass group based in north Greenville County.

Also on Sunday, a new event, an any-and-all car cruise in, will be held surrounding Veterans Park from 1-3 p.m. Fire Chief Tony Preister invites anyone to show up with their car. No registration or fee needed. Open to cars trucks and motorcycles.

There is no admission charge for the music, but a free will offering will be taken. In the event of rain music will be moved to the Columbus Baptist Church. Please call 828-817-3722 for more information.

–  article submitted
by James Metcalf