This past weekend the Diocese of Cleveland hosted an entire day of prayer, worship, music, and other activities at their annual event simply called “the FEST”. “The Fest” draws a crowd of up to 40,000 attendees and the volunteers work extremely hard to make this event happen for the city of Wickliffe and the Cleveland area. Thanks to these hardworking individuals that volunteer their time and service to the event and all of their loyal sponsors, “the Fest” is a completely free event with free parking at many different areas of the city. Limited parking is also available onsite of the festival itself for a mere $10 donation. If you can not afford the $10 donation please do not hesitate to visit this festival. Like I said, there is plenty of free parking throughout the city with shuttle buses to get you to your destination.
Some of the highlights of the festival included BMX Bicycle shows, a unicycle drill team show, a petting zoo and Djapo cultural arts shows featuring African drummers and dancers. Prayer and worship sessions were held and seminary tours were also given throughout the day of the event. The bratwurst and the moms gift bags were huge hits this year. There were over 4000 bratwurst sold by 3pm and over 3600 moms bags with a value of about$50 each given away to the wonderful mothers that stood in the lines to receive them. Of course, not to mention the amazing lineup of Contemporary Christian entertainment featuring Lee Roessler, Matt Maher, Building 429, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Mercy Me.
Lee Roessler kicked off the event shortly after 12 PM with a set that featured some songs from his latest EP “Life For Love” including “Not Afraid” and “Fighter”. Lee Would also introduce a brand new song that was titled “Get Back”. Although the crowd was continuing to fill in during Lee’s performance, the fans would still receive a great blessing from Lee’s set and would return that blessing to Lee with Applause and hands held high in worship.
Up next would be an amazing singer/songwriter who onstage comes across as a humble and genuine performer who sang hit songs such as “All The People Said Amen”, “Lord, I Need You”, “Deliverer”, and “Firelight”. Matt would perform his music with beautiful lyrics and vocals accompanied by his talents on guitar and piano. Matt would close out his set with even more hit songs such as “Because He Lives” and “Hold Us Together”. After a quick set change and a few festival announcements and giveaways, Matt would be followed by an energetic performance by Building 429. Building 429 put on a rock show with Christian lyrics bringing the crowd even closer to the stage as the crowd had grew significantly by the time they took the stage. Building 429 would perform songs such as “Bonfire”, “We Won’t Be Shaken”, “Unashamed”, “Where I Belong” and “Made For You”. In celebration of Jason’s Birthday being the day of this show the fans along with the rest of Building 429 would sing “Happy Birthday” to the Building 429 frontman.
The final two sets of the evening would include a performance from Steven Curtis Chapman beginning with “The Great Adventure” followed by “Love Take Me Over” and “Do Everything”. Chapman would perform hits old and new including an acoustic medley of portions of his older hits featuring” “Let Us Pray”, “Speechless”, “For The Sake of The Call” and “The Change”. As Chapman would pour his heart out to the fans being a witness to God through his stories and song, many audience members were found dancing to the song “Cinderella” with tears in their eyes and singing every word. Chapman would close out his set with the uplifting and energy filled “Live Out Loud” followed up by “Dive”.
Finishing up this long list of fantastic entertainment would be the guys from Mercy Me. Mercy Me would deliver a set that was rocking and full of energy to the crowd of approximately 40,000 people. Mercy Me is best known for their crossover hit “I Can Only Imagine” which resulted in a double platinum debut album. However, Mercy Me’s success is not based on this one hit alone. With their talents anointed by the grace of God, Mercy Me’s latest release in 2014 called “Welcome To The New” would be their 9th studio release not to mention the many independent and other album releases since their debut mainstream hit. Mercy Me would perform songs such as “Welcome To The New”, “All Of Creation”, “I Can Only Imagine” and others. After the stage is cleared and the bands finished, the festival would continue throughout the rest of the evening concluding with Mass and a Fireworks Extravaganza!
If you have never attended The FEST in Wickliffe, OH, I would truly recommend that you go! It is absolutely FREE and you will leave with an uplifting spiritual feeling that you may have never felt before. If you attended this year’s FEST, then please consider visiting their official Website at www.thefest.us consider making a donation to support this amazing event and please remember to patronize those sponsors that supported the FEST as well. If you attend next years FEST look for those amazing people in the Volunteers shirts and be sure to tell every single one of them THANK YOU!! as without their endless hours of volunteer labor in the hot sun, this event would not be possible without a cost! Be sure to also take time to check out the post FEST concert information featuring Jamie Grace and Lacey Sturm! Details on The FEST official website.
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