Spirit West Coast–Del Mar, one of the two largest multi-day Christian music festivals in the southwest United States, wrapped up Sunday, bringing in tens of thousands of Christians from California and surrounding states.
The concert series in San Diego county featured about 50 of today's most prominent Christian bands and musicians on its several stages, but more important for its organizers is that it opened up people to the gospel.
"We're not just a concert business; we're a Christian ministry," explained John Robberson, the event's main organizer, in the North County Times. "As a Christian-based organization, our purpose is to spread the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and like most churches, to be a positive influence on the community and in people's lives."
Some of this year's more notable bands that played at the event were Third Day, tobyMac, Newsboys, BarlowGirl, Kutless, Delirious?, Hawk Nelson, Salvador, Aaron Shust, Family Force 5, Seventh Day Slumber, and Stellar Kart, among many others.
But the three day event also invited several speakers to talk to the crowds, such as Christian author and speaker Josh McDowell. The speakers felt that the blend of music and preaching make a powerful mix.
"Have them on their feet, yelling, screaming; then bring me out," said McDowell in the North County Times. "When you come up after something like that, it's so easy to teach."
In addition to preaching the gospel, the organizers expressed the importance of bringing families together. Whether Christian or non-Christian, having a sense of togetherness is a significant aspect for those who attend.
Alongside the main festival activities were several leisure pursuits on the grounds such as a skate park and rock wall. Christian ministries and advocacy groups also mingled among the busy atmosphere.
Spirit West Coast–Del Mar is the smaller and younger of the two California festivals, starting only four years ago. As a whole, Spirit West Coast began ten years ago in the first city, Monterrey, Calif. Cumulatively, the two concert series bring in 100,000 visitors and 40,000 "unique visitors."
The concerts boast their accessibility to a number of age groups and hope to cater to families where all members can have a good time.
For those that missed Del Mar, they will have a chance to still catch the second festival in Monterrey on Aug. 2-4. It will include several of the artists that played this past weekend with several added groups including the David Crowder Band, Sanctus Real, and Building 429.