Celebrate Freedom 2007, the largest free outdoor concert in America, will be kicking off its festivities on Friday.
Held at the historic Southfork Ranch – also known as "America's most famous ranch" – in Parker, Texas, the 17-year-old concert series is bringing in a huge number of Christian artists and speakers together.
Last year's event brought in more than 210,000 attendants, and organizers are expecting at least the same or more since this year's event will be the first two-day series.
"Our 17th annual event marks a huge milestone as we now host a multi-day event!" explained John L. Peroyea, vice president and general manager of 94.9 KLTY, a co-sponsor of the concerts, in a statement. "We are delighted with this expansion of Celebrate Freedom and pleased to offer many excellent family-friendly additions to the event this year, which everyone is sure to enjoy."
Performing over the two days are about 40 of today's most recognizable Christian bands including Casting Crowns, tobyMac, Skillet, Natalie Grant, Rebecca St. James, Avalon, Nichole Nordeman, Superchic[k], Aaron Shust, Barlow Girl, and Thousand Foot Krutch, among others.
Also attending the event is Latin American evangelist Luis Palau, who is becoming one of America's leading figures in mass evangelism. He will speak on both days of Celebrate Freedom.
Much like other Christian festivals throughout the summer, the event will have a wide variety of activities besides the music that cater to every age group.
For the children there will be a BibleQuest Children's Area, which will include big ministries such as animation group VeggieTales as well as the largest water slide in Texas.
For young adults, the "Livin' It" skate tour will return for its third year. The boarder ministry was founded by actor and evangelist Stephen Baldwin.
In addition, Gospel Music Channel (GMC) – the nation's only 24-hour, all Gospel/Christian music television network – has announced that it will be televising the entire event for its second year. Channel heads have invited Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell to host the special coverage alongside fellow Christian artists Lisa Kimmey and Brandon Heath.
After taping the festival, GMC will come out with four two-hour concert specials that will premiere on July 7 and July 14. The programs will then be shown again throughout the month.
Event organizers are calling on pastors and ministry leaders to help with the event in four ways: prayer, promotion, equipping and mobilizing, and following up. In this way, they can change the lives of many people towards Christ.
"We need you to get involved," explained organizers on the Celebrate Freedom website, "by mobilizing your congregation, youth, small groups, singles, to 'serve' as counselors and volunteers, 'invite' their unsaved friends, and to assist in 'following up' with those who make a commitment to Christ at the festival."
The event also offers a unique "Clean-up Competition" where 5 youth teams of 25 kids try to fill trash bags from a littered field. Prizes are given out to participants including a meet-and-greet with tobyMac and the Livin' it Athletes as well as paintball and circus tickets, among more.
On the web: Celebrate Freedom 2007 website.