'We can overcome anything': Gospel Fest returns to Millennium Park after violence, COVID delays

Tre Ward Image
Sunday, June 5, 2022
Gospel Fest returns downtown after violence, COVID restrictions
The Gospel Festival returned to Millennium Park in the Loop, Chicago for summer 2022 after a shooting at "the Bean" and COVID shutdowns.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Anointed voices filled Millennium Park as hands were raised in prayer, marking the return of the Gospel Festival.

It was a testament, some said, of survival.

"We made it! Millions didn't make it, but we were one of the ones that did! So, we celebrate that and we celebrate those who have gone on," said Pastor Reginald McCracken, Traditional Choir assistant director.

Many events are coming back this summer as signs of the pandemic slowly fade.

"It's a sense of freedom. The Bible says, 'Who the son sets free is free indeed.' And, we are free, today!" said Lavarnga Hubbard, a performer and "Dutchess of Gospel Music."

Last month, the park was also the scene of a deadly shooting near the Bean. But that tragic past is not a deterrent from keeping attendees from enjoying the park.

"To be back in the park, it just symbolizes that we can overcome anything if we keep our hand in God's hands," McCracken said.

While attendees said they won't let violence keep them from this park, police will still be on hand with checkpoints at each entrance through the summer.