Some of the biggest names in Christian music helped usher in the new year at Liberty University’s Vines Center during Winterfest 2010.
Headlining the two-day festival was Third Day on Thursday night and the Newsboys, featuring LU alumnus Michael Tait, on Friday. Other bands included Family Force 5, Lecrae, Remedy Drive, Kutless, KJ-52, Hawk Nelson and Fireflight. They were joined by speakers Clayton King (also a campus pastor at Liberty), Tom Richter and Matt Pitt.
“There’s so many winter celebrations and New Year’s Eve celebrations, it’s awesome that Liberty University is able to obtain the artists that we do every year,” said Tony D’Ambrosio, Operations Coordinator for Resident Enrollment and a Winterfest manager.
He said the 10-year-old event draws chart-topping bands every year, with attendance topping 6,500 this year.
Many church youth groups from up and down the East Coast make Winterfest an annual event.
D’Ambrosio said the draw is the same every year: “the fact that we have great lineups both nights, it’s a Christ-centered New Year’s Eve celebration, and the fact we also have all of Liberty University’s facilities, including Snowflex, open.”
Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre, Liberty’s year-round ski slope, was only open for Winterfest participants on New Year’s Eve in 2009, but because of the high demand, it was open for the entire festival this year.
“We open the whole campus, really the only part that’s not open is the classrooms,” D’Ambrosio said. “All of our student facilities are open and are part of their [Winterfest] pass — rock-climbing, basketball, and more … That’s one thing that really sets us apart from other concerts, they’re not just having holiday or evening concerts, but we’re offering fun activities to do with the group, too.”
And it’s a chance to showcase Liberty University for prospective students. High school juniors and seniors can choose to attend one of two Life @ Liberty sessions, where recruiters present all that Liberty has to offer.
Juniors and seniors also get a special treat: they can attend two Artist Meet & Greet sessions and ask questions of their favorite bands headlining Winterfest.
But beyond all the fun and entertainment is the same goal, D’Ambrosio said: “Undoubtedly, it’s the opportunity we have to share the message of Christ. … Even during Life @ Liberty, there’s a gospel presentation — they’re hearing the message several times. Every year we have hundreds of decisions for Christ.”
Liberty sends materials to help those new in their faith and follows up with them a couple months after the event.
For more on Winterfest, visit www.libertywinterfest.com.