Annual Gospel Music Fanfest set for East Columbus Christian Church

Photo provided The Columbus-based Dave Melton Family will be a part of the Indiana Gospel Music Fanfest Convention June 8-10 at East Columbus Christian Church.

For the nationally touring Dave Melton Family, the Seventh Annual Indiana Gospel Music Fanfest Convention June 8-10 is a chance to perform for a home crowd — and sleep in their own bed here afterward amid years of weekend ministry travel.

“We’re always excited about Fanfest,” said Krista Melton of the Columbus-based group that she and her husband have enjoyed with their kids for the past decade. “When we first moved to Indiana, we were excited to become more familiar with people here who love southern gospel music — and to get to know so many of the people from so many of the churches here.

“There’s a great sense of camaraderie.”

The six-member troupe will perform part of all three nights at the gathering that normally attracts several hundred people at East Columbus Christian Church, 3170 Indiana Ave. in Columbus. The national, headlining group on Saturday is Tribute Quartet.

Each day’s concerts begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at

For the Meltons, their fourth visit to the event will be yet another chance to introduce newcomers to the southern gospel genre.

“I have seen that people simply like good music,” Melton said. “And they often realize that they like this music even if they don’t immediately know that it is southern gospel.”

Gospel singer Eric Shaw, a member of the Indiana Gospel Music Association since 2003, is organizing this year’s convention after vocalist Rich Treptow did so the previous six years.

“This year, we’re expecting a few more people than last year,” Shaw said. “But we’re quite pleased with last year’s attendance, since we were still coming out of the pandemic.”

Besides the Melton clan, the lineup also includes one other local performer in the person of singer/guitarist Ron Bridgewater, also pastor of the hosting church. He has been a singer, promoter and supporter of both southern gospel and Christian pop-rock music here for years.

Also, longtime popular local gospel singer Jim Hutson, now batting pancreatic cancer, is also scheduled to help emcee the Fanfest on Friday and sing on Thursday.

“He has been such a big part of this every year,” Shaw said.

In the late 1980s and through the 1990s, Southern Gospel Music Week acts formerly at The Commons sometimes attracted crowds of 600 to 800 each evening or afternoon of three or four acts. Late southern gospel radio disc jockey J.C. Brown of Columbus organized that event.

Shaw mentioned that he would love to discover an idea that effectively would draw more young people to the musical style and groups.

“I wish I could come up with a workable theory, but I don’t currently have one,” Shaw said, referring to the rise of Christian pop-rock amid high-visibility artists such as Lauren Daigle and others earning mainstream attention. “I know that each of us simply has to follow God’s leading.”

Schedule and tickets

Available at A $20 ticket covering all three days is available.