The Austins

The Austins

Gospel Fest turns 14

The Gospel Mountain Music Festival celebrated year 14 last weekend at the Fire congregational building near New Hazelton.

The Gospel Mountain Music Festival celebrated year 14 last weekend at the Fire congregational building near New Hazelton.

Marian and Martin Penner are part of the group that has formed and maintained the festival throughout the years.

All GMMF activities used to be held in the Kispiox Valley at the fair grounds, but since 2007 the festival has happened at the Fire.

“We always wanted to have this happen here at the Fire,” Marian, who organizes the festival, said.

“The Kispiox Valley venue was very good to us, but we really wanted to bring this closer to home.”

A main stage was built on the permanent home of the GMMF, which would not have been possible without an abundance of community support, Martin said.

“We built the stage last year,” Martin said.

“David West donated all the cedar siding for the stage.

“There have been so many people that have made this all possible.”

Some families that have been highly involved were mentioned by the Penners were the MacAfees, the Webbs, the Henwoods and the family of the late Edgar Good.

The Penners are thankful for the honour of continuing the festival, but acknowledge accolades regarding the origin of the event belong elsewhere.

“Dave Rush was the catalyst for the festival in 1998,” Marian said.

“Our daughter Kelly was also instrumental in the early organization process.

“She researched how the Kispiox Valley Music Festival was organized and we followed the instructions she brought back.”

Nearly a dozen performing acts graced the stage of the GMMF this year including the Austins, who have a special connection with the Fire.

“This church is where the Austins first came to Jesus Christ,” Victoria Austin said before playing their first song.

“This church is where we’ve all been baptized.

“We had such zeal for the Lord which carries on today.”

Marian gives one reason why her and the GMMF continue to host the event.

“This is all to give glory to God,” Marian said.

“Inside we are all God’s children and all the music here is to celebrate that.”

There is the possibility the GMMF may not happen next year, Martin said.

“If people want this to continue we need to know sooner than later,” he said.

“We could use all the help we can get.”

For more information call the Fire at 250-842-6264.