The McDonald's Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour is set to kick off in Philadelphia next week and the event looks set to be bigger and better than ever.
The event, in its eighth year, will make its way across 12 cities beginning May 22 through July 25. A select number of gospel music's finest, including Grammy award-winning Mary Mary's Erica Campbell, will belt out hit songs to uplift crowds and foster the notion of giving back to the community.
"Can't wait to hit the stage for @McDonalds gospel tour in 1 week! Visit 365Black.com for info. Hope to see you. #365BlackGospel," Campbell – who was recently nominated for a BET award for her first solo album "Help" – tweeted Thursday.
Also set to hit the stage are three-time 2014 Stellar Award-winners Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy, hip-hop sensation Uncle Reece, organist Moses Tyson, Jr., Kurt Carr & The Kurt Carr Singers and the Mississippi Mass Choir.
The McDonald's gospel tour is a free summer concert series designed to raise money for Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC), which supports families of sick and terminally ill children. For 40 years the organization has provided resources like housing to millions of these families around the world, to help eliminate the financial strain that often comes with caring for a sick child.
"I love meeting people and talking to them and making people smile," said Brown, whose hit song "Testimony" was named Billboard's most popular song of 2013.
"I love music and I love charity. I think this tour kind of encapsulates both in a great way so that's why I got involved. I can't wait to just get out there and meet them and be all up in the mix!" he added.
Last year the tour, described by Executive Producer Hoyett Owens as an "experience for the whole family," raised more than $83,000. Due to high ticket demand, event organizers are anticipating larger crowds and potentially more money raised.
"God loves a cheerful giver," said Owens, quoting Bible verse 1 Corinthians 9:7
"One thing I love most about this tour is that it helps so many people," he continued. "It's another extension of McDonald's being deeply rooted in the community."
Campbell and comedian Jonathan Slocumb are set to co-host the highly anticipated event. On Wednesday the "Help" singer was nominated for a BET Award in the Best Gospel Artist category.
"I am excited to not only co-host this year's tour, but to perform alongside so many other great gospel artists," Campbell said.
"I'm honored to co-host with Erica and add a bit of funny to the show!" said comedian and actor Slocumb.
FOR MORE INFO ON THE MCDONALD'S INSPIRATION CELEBRATION GOSPEL TOUR CLICK HERE
Tour dates and locations:
May 22 – Philadelphia, Mount Airy COGIC
May 23 – Washington, D.C., Ebenezer AME Church
June 5 – Charlotte, The Park Church*
June 6 – Raleigh, Wake Chapel Church
June 7 – Greensboro, Mount Zion Baptist Church*
June 19 – Jackson, Greater Bethlehem Temple Church
June 20 – Memphis, New Salem Baptist Church
June 27 – Detroit, Greater Grace Temple
June 28 – Chicago, Chicago Gospel Music Festival – Ellis Park
July 9 – Atlanta, Full Gospel Baptist Conference – Georgia World Congress Center
July 24 – Los Angeles, City of Refuge Church
July 25 – Oakland, Craneway Pavilion
*Only Erica Campbell and Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy will perform.