Liberty University welcomed 2013 with its annual Winterfest, a two-day new year celebration chock full of explosive concerts, inspirational speakers, and exciting activities.
Guests also enjoyed all the recreational amenities Liberty has to offer, including indoor sports, rock climbing, swimming, ice skating, and extreme winter sport activities at Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre, Liberty’s year-round snowless ski slope that is the first of its kind in North America. As if that were not enough, the festivities included two nights of concerts lined up with some of the biggest names in Christian music.
More than 7,000 flooded the Vines Center for the event’s kickoff on Sunday, which opened up with beats and rhymes from rapper and Liberty alumnus Humble Tip. Jamie Grace then took the stage for a soothing set of melodies. Audiences were surprised when headliner TobyMac joined her on stage for a duet performance.
Royal Tailor then shared its soul-heavy pop/rock tunes with the crowd, followed by a stunt performance by Peter Nestler and an electric set from Christian rock vets Kutless. Christian speaker Nick Hall challenged the masses from the Bible, embodying the two-fold purpose of Winterfest — to provide top quality entertainment as well as challenge guests in their faith. In addition to speakers, group breakout sessions were offered for Christians to encourage one another in their faith.
Sunday’s slate wrapped up with a stellar performance by Liberty alumnus TobyMac, blending rock and hip-hop with no shortage of lights, stunts, and energy.
On New Year's Eve, an even larger crowd packed the Vines, welcomed by rapper KJ-52. The early acts included fist-pumping jams from the alternative rock band Fireflight, contemporary worship from The Museum, and a passionate, rocking set by Building 429. Illusionist Brock Gill wowed the crowds before Christian rock heavy hitters RED took the stage. The explosive performance included pyrotechnics accompanying heavy riffs, pounding beats, and melodic hooks.
While the audience’s hearts slowed from the pulse-pounding set, speaker Bob Lenz delivered a powerful Gospel presentation, reaching hearts on a spiritual level.
As midnight neared, Casting Crowns took the stage, sharing deep, spiritual lyrics to the beat of their contemporary rock sound. The crowds then bid adieu to 2012 and rang in 2013 with a roar of cheers as balloons and confetti rained from the Vines ceiling.
“Winterfest 2012 was a huge success at Liberty University,” said Matthew Hockensmith, Winterfest coordinator. “Bob Lenz delivered a powerful message encouraging those in attendence to seek their identity, meaning, and purpose in Christ; not in what the world deems important. Over 200 people made first time decisions or recommitted their life to Christ.”
Now that the 2012 ending celebration has passed, Hockensmith said he is already looking forward to Winterfest 2013, which will feature Skillet, Third Day, and many more marquee artists and speakers.