Do you have plans for 13 Aug 2011? If you don't come down to Pell City. If you do, drop them and come down to Pell City because it is the date for Ignite 2011. An afternoon of food, fun, music and more all free at the Avondale Mills Walking Track on US 78. It starts at 1 pm and runs until 9:30 ish. The gates open at noon, so come early and stay late. For the last four years some friends of mine have put on a music festival in our town. It started as a dream just to have a free Christian festival, with food, drink, fun, and music. The first one was rough. The edges showed, but it had room for improvements that were made the next year. Last year it went off like a well-oiled machine, this year looks to be just as spectacular.
One highly interesting aspect of Ignite '11, as well as the past Ignite events, is the non-denominational aspect of it all. One might think that a group of people, all from the same church would lean towards an event heavy in the aspects of the church they attend. One would not be further from right. Last year 21 churches were involved including some non-denominational as well as many traditional denominations. The biggest and best church tent was not even from the church we attend.
In years past Ignite has had headliners including Rush of Fools and Big Daddy Weave. This year the headliners are Shonlock and 33 Miles. Many people who attended asked, "Who are they?" but when they started playing everyone said, "Oh yeah, I love this song, that's these guys?" No one walked away without becoming fans.
Last year featured some up and coming artists including Natalie Creel, an incredible voice who will be releasing a new album soon; The Homecoming, returning this year; Homegrown; Overfloe Jazz, a spectacular band who will make you like jazz even if you've never listened to it before; and a personal favorite Chelsie Boyd. The people who work backstage at Ignite comprise a majority of the contemporary band for our church. As you can imagine they spend many hours the last week, especially Saturday, working on the event and have no time for practice. Last year Chelsie Boyd stayed and performed for our contemporary service which was like a mini-concert in itself. It also drew the largest attendance that service has ever seen since we started it.
The year before last late in the day we had a lost boy come up to the information tent. Someone looked at me and said that I had to go find his mother. I had his first name, no description, and no idea where to start. Over the course of the day 8,000 people were there and I am the world's worst at finding people in crowds. I can't even find people I know so as I walked away from the tent I began to pray, there was no way I could find this woman. As I scanned the crowd a woman caught my eye as she was walking toward me. She started talking but it wasn't making sense. I asked if she had lost a son and she said she had. I quickly showed her where he was and then was shaken by the quickness and completeness with which my prayer was answered. No clue where to look, no clue who I was looking for, and the first person that talked to me was the one I needed.
Ignite is an incredible event, that is worth the drive no matter how far. I start working in south Mississippi the week of Ignite, but you'll still find me in the middle of everything filling any gaps that need plugging. We have had several buses from as far away as Kansas come to the event. No one walks away upset they had come. It is an incredible day of music, food and fun all with a family friendly, Christ centered atmosphere.
- Ignite Website http://bit.ly/Ignite2011