Called a “celebration of relationships,” more than 50,000 people from over 40 countries were expected to attend; however estimates after the festival indicates as many as 75,000 were in attendance.
“It is more than a conference,” said Bishop Jakes. “It’s a festival. It’s a celebration. It’s a commitment to the American spirit, that no matter what we go through, no matter how tough, no matter how dark the night, somehow we always land on our feet. And when we do, in spite of how difficult, we should take the time to celebrate the momentous occasion, and to enjoy the festival and fellowship. Because when we start to say thank you and to enjoy the moments, then that is worship at its best.”
MegaFest is made up of a collective of events and smaller conferences that Bishop Jakes has made famous in the past including Woman Thou Art Loosed, ManPower, MegaYouth and MegaKidz. There are also empowerment sessions, the International Faith and Family Film Festival, a celebrity basketball game, the Just Churchin’ Comedy Show and Q&A’s with spiritual leaders and Hollywood stars.
The conference was kicked off with a special two-episode taping of Oprah Winfrey’s “LifeClass” for OWN featuring Bishop Jakes, as well as participation from minister Devon Franklin. Winfrey and Bishop Jakes tackled issues like fatherless children and broken families at the sold-out sessions.
The McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour culminated its 2013 tour with a concert hosted by Vickie Winans and featuring performances by Maurette Brown Clark, Lecrae, John P. Kee and Smokie Norful.
MegaFest also included the Woman of Purpose Concert that raised proceeds and awareness for parents with autistic children. Bishop Jakes was inspired to become an advocate for autism awareness because his longtime musician Marcus Dawson dealt with raising an autistic son. The concert, hosted by Steve Harvey, recognized Holly Robinson Peete and Toni Braxton for their autism advocacy. There were performances by Jennifer Hudson, Babyface, Mary Mary, Brandy, Joe, Tamar Braxton, Kim Burrell and the United Tenors.
A who’s who of spiritual leaders, Hollywood stars and industry power players were involved in some capacity in the MegaFest weekend. Among the many in attendance were Tyler Perry, Brandy, Ray J, Robert Townsend, Kerry Washington, Terrell Owens, Pastor Touré Roberts, Michelle Williams, Ben and Jewel Tankard, Isaac Carree, Tisha Campbell Martin, Marvin Sapp, Alan Houston, Pastor E. Dewey Smith, Malinda Williams, Nicole Ari Parker and Boris Kodjoe, Meagan Good, John Gray, Pastor Joel Osteen, Ray Chew, Vickie Winans, Emmitt and Pat Smith, Fred Hammond, Paul Carrick Brunson, Kurt Carr, David and Tamela Mann, Gary Owen, Jacob Latimore, Kirk Franklin, Tye Tribbett, Ernest Pugh, Wes Morgan, Tasha Cobbs, Tony Gaskins, Kierra Sheard, Pastor Paula White, Mali Music, Lynn Whitfield, Donald Lawrence, Robbie Jones, James Fortune, Pastor John Jenkins, Anthony Mackie, Ja Rule, Shawn Marion, Stephen Baldwin, Cedric The Entertainer, Toccara, Jeff Johnson, Wesley Jonathan, Christian Keys, Ray J, Mikki Taylor and more.
MegaFest is a life-changing conference with events and activities to encourage you, inspire you and facilitate enjoyment. Words can not accurately convey how dynamic of a weekend it actually is, but below is gallery of images from the MegaFest experience. (Most images courtesy of the FrontPage Firm. Others via Instagram.)