New Zealand's biggest Christian Music Festival kicked off Friday with 25,000 people.
Parachute 2011 is hosting a variety of Christian artists and speakers at the four-day festival, including Louie Giglio, John Cameron and Brian "Head" Welch, former guitarist of the metal band Korn.
Some of the activities include a presentation from worship artist Chris Tomlin and renowned speaker Giglio about the popular song "Indescribable."
Other features include a dancing session, late night movies, late night comedy, a talent showcase, a water park, a skate park, a center for people looking for advice that is open 24/7, a volleyball competition between the Parachute crew, punter, and performing artists and much more.
The lineup is taking place on six stages with over 100 bands, including, Skillet, Seabird, Parachute Band and many more. The lineup was also to include Flyleaf but due to frontwoman Lacey Mosley's pregnancy the band regrettably expressed their regrets for missing the show.
This year's focus is on justice where participants will have the opportunity to learn about some of the justice initiatives around the world.
The event is also proud to announce their environmental initiative during the four days. One of their recycling programs includes the use of biodegradable plates and cutlery.
The drug and alcohol free event was formed in 1989 with the mission to connect people to Jesus via music. Founder Mark de Jong commented, "There's power in a song to touch the human spirit when words are simply not enough."
It quickly became one of the largest music festivals in the Southern Hemisphere with a clear mission: to cultivate music that connects with Jesus.
The festival is currently being criticized of hosting band Elemeno P for not being Christian enough.
In response, frontman Dave Gibson stated, "I like it that we are controversial, we are not very controversial in the real world. We won't be worshipping the she devil, they will be happy to know, and the performance will be very PG rated at Parachute. It's a family show."
Mark de Jong, meanwhile, defended the invite, saying he encouraged the debate over the lineup because they would personally not "invite anybody if we feel they are going to be a negative influence."
Parachute Festival 2011 is being held at Mystery Creek Events Center, Jan. 28-31.