Christian Retailing

Dove Awards moves back to Nashville, switches to October Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Thursday, 07 February 2013 01:34 PM America/New_York

New direction seen as ‘necessary’ for Gospel Music Association as the organization does ‘a lot of retooling’

JackiePatillonewThe Gospel Music Association (GMA) is moving the Dove Awards back to Nashville after a two-year run in Atlanta, and is switching its marquee event from April to October.

“We have spent a lot of time talking to our members and industry leaders across the board in an effort to assess our environment and create a plan to meet current needs,” GMA Executive Director Jackie Patillo wrote in a letter sent to association members just before Christmas. “Many of you have inquired about the 44th Annual GMA Dove Awards, and I am happy to report that it is corning back home to Nashville. In order to maximize its potential, the Dove Awards will be moving to a new October date in 2013. We are in discussion with strategic partners that will bring needed strengths to the table.”

Patillo told Christian Retailing that “in order to maximize the potential of the Dove Awards, it was necessary to make the moves.”

“It’s necessary for all businesses to not play to the status quo and do things the way they’ve always done it,” added Patillo, noting that the specific Nashville location has not yet been finalized. “We want to be effective for the current economic climate. GMA is doing a lot of retooling right now and this is just a part of it.”

Held for the first time outside of Nashville in April 2011 at Atlanta’s historic Fox Theatre, the Dove Awards sold out in record time, attendance was up 50% from the 2009 show and the event garnered its highest ratings on the Atlanta-based Gospel Music Channel—with more than 1.5 million viewers, GMA officials said.

The showcase event was again held at the Fox and televised on GMC in 2012.

GMA has been working to bounce back since the association experienced a financial crisis in 2009 that threatened its very existence. The association posted a profit in 2010 for the first time in three years, reduced a total debt of $921,000 to a manageable amount and sold its Nashville facility for $697,000 in October 2010.

Meanwhile, GMA has formed a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources to host Immerse, the organization’s annual industry music conference.

GMA’s fifth annual Immerse will be held May 26-29 at LifeWay’s headquarters in Nashville. LifeWay’s 21-acre campus allows the conference to be held in one location, with more than 1 million square feet of space for concerts, conferences, networking events and meals, GMA officials said.

“I am grateful to the leadership at LifeWay for opening their extensive campus to Immerse,” Patillo explained. “Their commitment to excellence and willingness to facilitate this conference is exciting. This partnership is in keeping with GMA’s goal is to bring the music industry together to pour into the lives of our future leaders.”

Mike Harland, director of LifeWay Worship, added: “The heart of our calling is to serve churches in their mission of making disciples that will take the gospel to the world. We believe Immerse does that by equipping young creatives with the tools to spread the gospel through music. We are thrilled to be part of it.”

Immerse offers up-and-coming songwriters and business professionals to get hands-on training from music industry leaders. Programming for this year’s event will include classes in music business, songwriting, artist development and “reVIEWyou,” which combines mentoring with a songwriting and performance competition, feedback and on-stage opportunities.