NASHVILLE, TN — The man hailed as “the godfather of the gospel jazz scene,” and a local star much better known for what he does away from performing are among the top artists who will be featured June 29 during the fourth annual Fisk Food and Music Festival. This event is being presented by WFSK-88.1FM, Fisk University’s radio station. Its history of community activism and involvement date back to its beginnings some 46 years ago as part of what was then called “freeform” radio, but today they are the city’s premier “smooth jazz” outlet. 

“WFSK has a 46-year history of being recognized as Nashville’s jazz station,” station manager Sharon Kay said in a press release issued last week. “So bringing back the Fisk Food and Music Festival back for a second year was an easy decision. It is WFSK’s longtime relationships with smooth and contemporary jazz artists that allows us the opportunity to bring renowned artists to Fisk University. Last year, the Fisk Food and Music Festival brought thousands of jazz fans, university supporters, families, and many more to the campus,  and we are certain that this year’s festival will be an even bigger event that the community can enjoy.”

The Carl Van Vechten Art Gallery will also be open and available for touring. The event is open to the public and mixes musical performances with food and non-food vendors. A mini health fair and kid zone are also included this year. The festival offers free parking and admission, as well as food trucks.

The main headliner for this year’s festival is onetime former pro football player turned award-winning vocalist Ben Tankard. He’s the bestselling artist/producer of all time among gospel jazz artists, and is also quite popular due to starring in the reality show “Thicker Than Water” airing on the Bravo Network. The opening act features rising gospel sensation Blair Johnson-Whitlow from Oklahoma, who had a stirring recording debut in 2014 with the LP  “ Johnson-Whitlow is now a Nashvile resident.

Few can do a better job of rousing local audiences than Thomas Cain, who’s performed at many Nashville events over a lengthy career that’s also seen him win several awards for his productions. He’s been behind the board on a number of sessions. But playing and singing are his first loves, and he’ll be leading his band through a strong set during the afternoon. He’ll be followed by trumpeter, songwriter and bandleader Ryan Montano and the Band, whose credits include a Top 20 album released in 2015. Montano’s also now a resident of Nashville.

Memphis will be represented by Donald Hayes and the Band, who’s scheduled to appear in the set preceding headliner Ben Tankard. With the lineup set, event organizers are confident the 2019 Fisk Food and Music Festival will be a major success. For additional information

regarding starting times for the various shows visit