Praisefest returns to Suffolk

Published 9:22 pm Tuesday, May 31, 2016

An event that started last year is back again this year to bring big-name gospel music acts to Suffolk.

“This is an event I created last year to bring a quality gospel concert to my hometown,” said Davon Bagley, a 1998 Nansemond River High School graduate who now lives in Washington, D.C., and works for BET. “A lot of times, the residents there have to travel to Hampton, Norfolk or other large cities just to get a quality experience like that.”

Hampton Roads Praisefest will take place on June 16 and feature Grammy-nominated artists and multiple award winners.

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The event will be hosted by VaShawn Mitchell and Anthony Brown. Brown is a Grammy and BET Award nominee who broke the record for the most Stellar Awards, for gospel music, won in one night.

Performing live will be Kierra Sheard, Travis Greene and Charles Butler & Trinity, along with a special musical tribute to Dr. Bobby Jones, who hosts “Bobby Jones Gospel” on BET.

Sheard is the daughter of Karen Clark Sheard of the Clark Sisters.

“She has a couple hit songs under her belt,” Bagley said.

Greene “has made an impact to gospel music in the couple years he’s been around,” and is also a Grammy-nominated artist, Bagley said.

Charles Butler’s debut album comes out next week, Bagley said. He will open the performance.

“Gospel music plays a large part in the African-American church,” Bagley said. “Praise and worship is what people thrive off of, aside from prayer. “Gospel music makes people feel better. You can go to church and hear a good gospel song, and it can change your whole week, whole month.”

Bagley said about 1,000 people attended last year’s show, and he expects to pack the house again this year.

The event will take place at 8 p.m. June 16 at Union Baptist Missionary Church, 5414 Nansemond Parkway.

Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door, with VIP tickets priced at $50. Only a few VIP spots are left, Bagley said.

Purchase tickets at or at Klassy Kutz, 908 N. Main St.