Chattanooga, Tenn., will host the ninth annual Jfest Christian music festival this weekend, bringing in some of the nation's top artists and Christian speaker Will Graham, grandson of renowned evangelist Billy Graham.
The festival, one of the largest in the United States, will be held June 1-2 at Camp Jordan and is expected to draw in close to 10,000 people from Tennessee and surrounding states.
Festival organizers hope to create a place for people to come and enjoy powerful music, but at the same time minister the gospel to those attending.
"Jfest 2007 is more than just a Christian music festival," organizers explained on the event website. "Will Graham will present the Gospel message of Jesus Christ to thousands of people and extend an invitation for many to accept Christ…. Our goal is not only to provide a couple of days of fun in the park but to create an atmosphere of worship that can encourage believers and minister to non-believers."
Every year, Jfest brings in a minimum of 24 Christian artists including at least 8 nationally recognized bands. This year's talent includes MercyMe, The David Crowder Band, NewSong, Cheri Keaggy, ApologetiX, and The Turning, who also hail from Chattanooga.
Alongside the music will be guest speakers as well as ministry tools such as prayer and counseling tents.
The festival was started in 1999 by Partners for Christian Media, Inc. The group has three goals for the event: "to evangelize, to bring clean wholesome entertainment for families, and to raise much-needed funds to keep us going strong during the summer months."
Attendees can also enjoy a variety of leisure activities which includes Kid's World Entertainment, extreme games, and several regional artist performances.
"At last year's two day event, the Gospel message was shared by illusionist Ken Hartley and 23 decisions were made for the Lord!" recalled organizers on the Jfest website.
Event promoters have lowered the ticket prices for this year's festival to $10, so that the event can reach out to more people. They have also distributed about 20,000 outreach tickets to churches and youth groups, so that individuals can hand them out to their friends who "may not have a personal relationship with Christ."
Approximately 50 groups have volunteered their time and services to provide free or affordable items and services surrounding the music celebration.