The Christian Music Festival

By: Denese Rodgers

God’s not dead, and Henry County will have the chance to celebrate in worship in music as community. June 15-17, 2017 Strong Rock Christian School will host their second year of the mega-event, AtlantaFest. The occasion marks a resurgence of the Christian rock festival to its Henry County origins.

The first festival was held three decades ago at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton. AtlantaFest is the largest, oldest Christian music festival in the south hosting over 5,000 attendees annually. CEO, Dr. Chris Leader, is looking forward to the 2017 event, “When the festival was re-launched in 2016 it was important to us to take it to a community that would invest in and would respond well. It also was important to us to relaunch in its birthplace. Previously, AtlantaFest has been held at Six Flags Over Georgia and Stone Mountain.”

The weekend is packed with the best of Christian music. Headliners include, the Newsboys, a Christian pop rock band founded in 1985 in Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia, by Peter Furler and George Perdikis. They have released 17 studio albums, 6 of which have been certified gold.

Currently, the band consists of lead vocalist Michael Tait formerly of DC Talk, keyboardist and bassist Jeff Frankenstein, drummer and percussionist Duncan Phillips, and guitarist Jody Davis. In addition to performing music, the band have appeared in the films God’s Not Dead and God’s Not Dead 2.

Also headlining is Building 429. Through their songs and their high energy live shows, GRAMMY-nominated Building 429 is a band that has been touted throughout their 15-year career as “authentic and amazing – uplifting and unforgettable,” along with being “truly focused on bringing glory to God.” Now, Building 429 is sure to continue keeping fans on their feet and singing their hearts out with a brand new collection of songs.

Tenth Avenue North, yet another headline attraction, has long been known for the depth and vulnerability of their songwriting since they released their acclaimed national debut, Over and Underneath, in 2008. Quickly winning fans’ allegiance with radio staples like “Love Is Here,” “Hold My Heart” and “By Your Side” (GMA’s 2010 Song of the Year), the band was named the Gospel Music Association’s New Artist of the Year in 2009. The group gained further momentum with three additional full-length records that spawned hits like “You Are More,” “Losing,” “Worn” and “No Man Is an Island,” among others, and has sold in excess of one million albums to date.

Pre-headline artists include 7eventh Time Down, from Mount Vernon, KY. Their debut album was Alive In You. Their newest album, Just Say Jesus, is just as lively and a lot more aggressive. Pennsylvania-born Aaron Shust, will bring his unique style. His Facebook page explains his belief about himself, “I believe Jesus Christ is God’s Son. I am a musician by trade. So, while no one likes labels, that makes me…a Christian Musician. And from Nashville, TN the Sidewalk Prophets will appear. They took the popularity of their first release, These Simple Truths, to a Dove Award for Best New Artist.

But wait, there’s more. How about Cloverton, Decypher Down, Disciple, Humbletip, the J.J. Weeks Band, John Waller, Natasha Owens, and Atlanta’s own rocker-turned-worshipper, Jason Fowler? Over a dozen great bands and artists are on board to make this an unforgettable weekend.

This massive event will be held at Strong Rock Christian School, 4200 Strong Rock Pkwy
Locust Grove, GA 30248. Single day or three day passes may be purchased. Tickets for the 3-day event can be purchased online at www. atlantafest.com/tickets/ — Parking will be available for $5 per day or $10 for a full festival parking pass. Parking fee must be paid in cash, so please plan accordingly.

Corporate sponsorships and vendor slots are available, Chris said, “We have many customizable competitive packages to expose businesses and sponsors to a dedicated consumer base known as Evangelical Christians. We have numerous opportunities for both for profit and nonprofit groups seeking to present their organization or sell their products.” He stressed the importance of Henry County involvement, “We also partnered with Locust Grove, Mayor Price and Henry County Chamber of Commerce Strong Rock Christian School and many dedicated local businesses and organizations.”

Or camping…RV, trailer, or pop up sites are available for $5 with access to showers, bathrooms, and water. Hot showers are available for an additional cost. No campfires are allowed. The campground is located in the fields surrounding Strong Rock.

To further involve the community – AtlantaFest will also include volunteer opportunities, “Mike Brito will be heading up our volunteers along with an amazing group of team leads and volunteers,” Chris explained, “Some them have been volunteering over 25 years. We will have a weekend of training for our team leads in March and another meeting for all of volunteers the Wednesday of the festival.”

Fans can follow Kelley once she joins the Tigers’ Softball Team. Most of the games will be televised, and Kelley is on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. www.atlantafest.com