It was a heavy, but needed, rain that fell across south central Kansas last Wednesday that led to the cancellation of the highly anticipated Juneteenth Gospelfest. The storm, that brought flash flooding and power outages, saturated the planned outdoor concert site turning it into a soggy bog. Concert organizers hoped for the best, but by Friday morning were forced to make a decision that disappointed thousands. The concert to be headlined by the wildly popular Rance Allen Group was cancelled.
Too say the concert was highly anticipated was an understatement. Excitement was over the top about the concert featuring Gospel legend Dorothy Norwood, two of the first family of Gospel members, Vickie Winanas and Marvin Winans, Jr; plus the legendary Rance Allen Group. Online posts about the concert were shared and reshared, tweeted and retweeted. People were preparing to make the trek to Wichita for what would have been “the” event of the Juneteenth weekend.
There’s a lot that goes into creating an outside concert venue, and concert promoters Family Friend Outreach Ministries had a well thought out execution plan. Thursday morning, fresh off the storm, the soggy ground forced a delay in the installation of the fencing needed for controlled access to the site. Friday morning, already a day behind, sub-contractors informed them a stage set on the site would certainly sink into the ground.
With just hours remaining before the performers’ scheduled flights, organizers tried to find an alternative location. Time just wasn’t on their side. Some facilities were booked, decision makers weren’t in place and or some churches just weren’t able to confirm in time.
“I think the call was right, because it began raining even more on Saturday,” said Dwight Rolfe of Talent Showcase, a longtime regional promoter. Rolfe helped support W.D. Martin of Family Friend Outreach Ministries with Gospelfest. “With a big rain on Saturday around 4 p.m., the concert would have been cancelled anyway, right in the midst of it.”
All advance ticket purchases are being fully refunded, including handling fees. Individuals should go back to the location where they purchased their ticket for their refund.
For individuals who won tickets in online or radio promotions, Family Friend Outreach says the tickets will honored if they’re able to reschedule the concert. If not, Rolfe says he’ll honor the tickets at his next concert, Festival or Praise, scheduled for Sun., Oct. 16, in Wichita.
Martin hopes to reschedule the concert, but finding a date when all of the same acts are available again will be difficult.
“We wouldn’t want to bring just one or two of the artists, that kind of weakens it (the concert), said organizers. “It needs to be at least as strong as it was going to be.”
Stay tuned. Of course we’ll keep you posted.