LOCAL gospel musicians have an opportunity to shine following calls for entries for the eighth edition of the Crown Gospel Awards scheduled for November 15 at the Durban International Conference Centre in South Africa.

October 1 has been set as the deadline for entries to this year’s awards running under the theme The Higher Level, the New Order, the New Beginning.

The awards founder and executive producer, Zanele Mbokazi, said all was set for the awards ceremony, which he described as “bigger, better and moving from glory to glory”.

In a statement issued recently, Mbokazi said last year’s offering was epic.

“The awards saw gospel greats and the underdogs alike being honoured with a well-deserved crown.

“The performances were nothing short of roof-raising and the fashion was in true Crowns’ style, on-point,” she said.

The organisers said nominations officially opened on August 1 and would close on October 1. They would be open to all African countries.

“Gospel music artistes wishing to enter the Crowns including musicians, engineers, comedians, poets, producers, writers, radio and TV programmes and record companies can access the nomination form from the World Gospel Powerhouse offices or website. Nominations are also open to gospel artistes in all of African countries,” she said.

“Nominees White Party will be held in Johannesburg on October 9 at the Durban Exhibition Centre, and Crown Awards Prayer a week before the main event.”

The awards are the biggest gospel music awards in Africa and some of the biggest in the world with visitors from other provinces, pre-dominantly from Gauteng.

The event has an economic contribution estimated at over R10 million with direct and indirect spending within Durban.

Event manager Zama Mkhize confirmed that while the tickets will only go on sale from Computicket at the end of August, this year they will be having a new category for the VVIP.

“We have a new category for VVIPs, and these tickets are for the first five rows. They will only be available from our offices at R1500. These are purely on a first come first serve basis,” said Mkhize.

The awards are sponsored by the KwaZulu Natal Government, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, Ethekwini Municipality, Sowetan / Sunday World and Drum.