Soulfest opened up its yearly festivities on Wednesday and is expected to draw 13,000 Christian fans from New Hampshire and surrounding New England states.
Now in its tenth year, the four-day festival held at Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford, N.H., has brought in 125 performers to perform on its four stages.
Soulfest organizers have recognized that the music is a vital part to its success.
"Honestly, the people come for the music," explained Roger Proulx, one of the lead organizers, to The Citizen of Laconia. "It comes with a message, but they come to hear the music."
Some of the top names in Christian music today have trekked to the northern state from all styles of genre. Artists include Jeremy Camp, Chris Tomlin, tobyMac, Rebecca St. James, Jars of Clay, Superchic[k], the Afters, Natalie Grant, Pillar, Seventh Day Slumber, Building 429, and of course, Skillet and the Newsboys.
Through the music that the crowds hear, organizers hope that it can have a lasting effect on the listeners.
"You hear the message and it will inspire you to be a better human being," said Proulx to The Citizen of Laconia.
The theme of this year's festival is "Celebrating True Love, The Revolution Jesus Started." Organizers hope that through their time at the Gunstock grounds, festival-goers can take the Soulfest Pledge.
"I want to live from the inside out as a soul-connected risk-taking follower of Jesus," reads the pledge. "With the help of God and my friends, I ____ pledge to live the revolution Jesus started, one day at a time…because eternity begins today…"
The New Hampshire event has grown much since it first began. The first concerts only drew 2,700 in the beginning but grew to 11,000 for last year's attendance. Coordinators only expect the festival to grow bigger each year.
"The tenth anniversary is getting a lot of buzz with people who haven't been before or haven't been back for a while," added Proulx.
Soulfest is at least scheduled for another four years at Gunstock, now starting their second event on a six year contract. Whether it continues at that venue, festival heads expect the event to last another 25 years at least.
The celebration will also host a number of speakers to reach out to people and gain offerings for their respective ministries.
On the web: Soulfest website.