Gospel Fest concerts moving to bigger park

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6-3-2006 22nd Annual Chicago Gospel Music Festival in Millennium Park and the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Tamika Ross, choir member, belts out Gospel music with the backup of the Evangel Assembly of God Choir of the Evangel World Outreach Center of Chicago in the background. Photo by Dom Najolia, Chicago Sun-Times

Gospel music moves the soul.

So much that the city of Chicago has moved June 23-24 concerts in the 27th Chicago Gospel Music Festival from Bronzeville’s Mandrake Park, at Pershing Road and Cottage Grove, to two stages in Ellis Park, 37th and Cottage Grove.

As the city finished booking the free festival, planners realized the headliners will require more open space than Mandrake Park can provide, according to city spokeswoman Cindy Gatziolis. Mandrake Park has a field house and children’s play areas.

She cited the June 23 main stage show starring Byron Cage, J. Moss and headliner Fred Hammond. Take 6, the Blind Boys of Alabama and Mary Mary appear on the main stage June 24.

“We’re projecting 15,000 to 20,000 people over the nine-hour course of each weekend day,” Gatziolis said. “Of course, that is weather related, but we needed more space to accomodate the level of talent we have.”

J.C. Brooks & the Uptown Sound opens the festival at 7:30 p.m. June 21 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

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