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IMC Concerts Announces Return of Southwest Gospel Music Festival

Johnson City, TN –
Since 2012, the Southwest Gospel Music Festival has grown to become one of the most exciting multi-day gospel music events to take place west of the Mississippi River. Following the 2018 event IMC learned that GCU would no longer be able to serve as host for the event, due to the rapid growth of the University and the demands of the facility. IMC Concerts President, Landon Beene states, “Over the past few years we have seen the University grow by leaps and bounds, which is wonderful; however, as a result, the Southwest Gospel Music Festival was left without a home. We have spent tireless efforts over the past year to find just the right home for future SWGM Festivals.”

Those efforts have resulted in the move to the beautiful Ikeda Theater at the Mesa Arts Center in Mesa, AZ. This elaborate facility seats just under 1700 and will serve as home for the 2020 Southwest Gospel Music Festival, which will take place Monday, January 6 through Wednesday, January 8. “There is nothing like a beautiful, intimate theatre for Gospel Music,” Beene states. “Every seat in this Theatre has an unobstructed view of the stage with perfectly engineered acoustics. The sound quality is superb. It was designed for concerts and created to be a performance hall, so many of the issues we have had in the past in an arena setting will no longer be an issue in a facility like the Ikeda Theatre. It is very important to IMC to keep the quality and brand of our events high. It was for this reason that we decided to forego hosting the event in 2019 until we could find the perfect venue, and we believe we have definitely done that by bringing the event to the Ikeda Theatre.”

As with Southwest Gospel Music Festivals of the past, IMC Concerts will be bringing the most popular groups in Southern Gospel Music to Mesa for the event. This list includes The Booth Brothers, The Hoppers, Legacy Five, Greater Vision, The Triumphant Quartet, The Martins, Tribute Quartet, Liberty Quartet, Keepers of the Faith and renown speaker/comedian, Dennis Swanberg. “The greater Phoenix area has been strong for Gospel music through the years and it still is,” states Hoppers’ member, Dean Hopper. “This is one of the many reasons why IMC proudly chose Phoenix as the Southwest Gospel Music Festival home in the first place. Now, with a new venue and many favorite artists, we are thrilled to be coming back! We thank our patrons and attendees of this event for the show of support.”

According to IMC, the format of the programs will change a bit with the 2020 event. “We are bringing top tier Southern Gospel groups to the event, but they will have longer sets. Rather than a group being given 15-20 minutes on stage, they will each be featured at least once during the event for a 40-minute set. This will allow the opportunity for the attendee to get a better glimpse of who the artist really is and what they have to offer. Our plan is to have three to four artists per session with longer time slots,” Beene explains. “We have consolidated our sessions to the afternoon and evenings only with a break between for our guests to enjoy a nice dinner and return to the venue for the evening session.”

Tickets for the 2020 Southwest Gospel Music Festival, which takes place January 6-8 at the Ikeda Theatre at the Mesa Arts Center, will go on sale August 19. Make plans now to be a part of the 2020 event. Complete information is available at www.imcconcerts.com or by calling 480-644-6500.

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Absolutely Gospel Music
Formed over 19 years ago by Deon & Susan Unthank originally as SoGospelNews.com, the site was birthed from an email discussion group by the same name. The SoGospelNews email discussion list was created by the Unthanks after the Singing News shut down its extremely popular discussion list. SoGospelNews started as a simple webpage listing artists, fans, individuals, etc. that were avid supporters of the newly formed SoGospelNews talk list. The site eventually took on printing news for Southern Gospel artists, and eventually took on reviewing the latest recordings from both signed and independent artists within the small genre. SoGospelNews became the most viewed Southern Gospel website on the Internet with over 4,000,000 hits per month.

The Unthank family are now involved in the site, as well as the addition of over two dozen staff writers. The website is based out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In April 2010, SoGospelNews changed its name to AbsolutelyGospel.com. The name change allows them to cover news items of not only Southern Gospel, but also Country Gospel, Inspirational, and Black Gospel.

On January 5, 2011, Susan Unthank passed away, leaving the website in control of Deon, their son, Chris, and their daughter Amy.

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