Music fest brings Christians together

By 
  • September 6, 2007

{mosimage}DARIEN LAKE, N.Y. - Kingdom Bound is a full-time, year-long Protestant ministry with a strong Catholic presence that puts on concerts in Ontario and upstate New York as well as the annual summer festival here at Six Flags amusement park. This summer’s festival ran from Aug. 5 to 8.

“About 10 per cent of our population is Catholic and 25 per cent is Canadian,” said Garry Warden, Kingdom Bound’s international marketing manager. “We would love to draw more Catholics to the festival.”

Kingdom Bound has featured many Catholic musicians, including Tony Melendez , who plays guitar with his toes because he was born without arms, rapping priest Fr. Stan Fortuna , Bob Halligan Jr. from Ceili Rain and Fr. Bill Quinlivan. Jeff Cabins from EWTN has also spoken at the festival.

{sidebar id=1}“KB never rejects, condemns or judges people. Instead, it talks about how God is loving, forgiving and wants to have a relationship with everyone regardless of their past,” said Kingdom Bound publicist Mark Weber. “It reflects Catholic teachings — the Lamb of God takes away the sins of the world.

“Many Catholic youth groups make it an annual summer pilgrimage or vacation,” added Weber.

Archbishop Walsh High School had a table in the merchandise tent. It was the first time a Catholic school has been part of the festival.

“It’s been very exciting and overwhelming, but it’s a good source of communication and a good way of expressing our Catholic faith through sharing Catholic education with others,” said Br. Michael Hicks, vice principal of the school in Olean, N,Y.

The school gave out free rosaries with instructions on how to pray the rosary. “We’ve had people ask why we pray the rosary and talk about the Blessed Mother,” said Hicks. “Protestants seem to like the rosary and they’re interested in our school.”

Quinlivan, of St. Gregory the Great parish in Buffalo, N.Y., is a long-time supporter of the festival.

“I’m probably the first Catholic priest to lead worship here under a tent in 21 years,” said Quinlivan after performing with his band — The Voices of Mercy — in the festival’s worship tent.

“We had Catholic Mass here about six or seven years ago and I sang my homily. I appreciate the effort that they made and we might bring it back someday.”

Some of the Christian groups among the performers at this year’s festival were Lincoln Brewster, Skillet, Robin Mark, Newsboys, tobyMac and Casting Crowns.

“It’s one of the elite festivals for a recording artist to be a part of,” said Joseph Rojas, lead singer of Seventh Day Slumber.

“People come from all over. Thousands come see us perform at the park stage. Last year, there were about 8,000 fans,” added Ben Kasica, lead guitarist of Skillet .

“This is the closest thing to youth camp where families can pull away from everything, be together and get Jesus poured into them,” said Mark Hall, lead singer of Casting Crowns .

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