'Big Ticket' Festival Hits Michigan, Expects to Draw 12,000

The biggest music event in northern Michigan has returned for its second year with a slew of top named Christian artists.

The Big Ticket Festival, being held June 22-23 at the Otsego County Fairgrounds in Gaylord, Mich., is expecting to work off its successful debut event from last year and organizers expect a record number 12,000 attendants.

Over 30 Christian musicians are signed on to perform on three stages.

"Northern Michigan is fortunate to have an event of this magnitude," explained Glen Catt, director of Free Spirit Ministries, the event's founding group, in the Gaylord Herald Times. "The talent pool we are assembling for this weekend-long concert (includes) some of the biggest names in Christian music to the area."

On the bill this year are top worship singers and Christian rockers Chris Tomlin, Newsboys, Skillet, Aaron Shust, Jeremy Camp, Superchic[k], Family Force 5, BarlowGirl, Sanctus Real, Building 429 and Tree63, among others.

Besides the musicians themselves, the event will also have a number of special guests including Detroit Lions' Mike Furrey, evangelist David Nasser, speaker Jose Zayas, skateboarder Christian Hosoi, and the Ragamuffin Theatre & Company – a non-profit organization dedicated to training up young people in all areas of the performing arts.

"We want to get new, fresh talent," said Drew Spanding, a member of Free Spirit Ministries, in the Gaylord Herald Times.

Typical of most Christian music festivals this summer, the two-day event will also host a number of extreme sports such as BMX racing, freestyle motocross, skateboarders, strength team, and an extreme inflatable game area.

Children will also have their choice of activities with a live petting zoo, inflatable toys, an appearance from Bibleman, and performances by K.C. and the Gloworms – a ministry of musicians who focus on kids.

With all of the varied activities, organizers hope to provide an experience that can draw in people of all ages.

"The Big Ticket's mission is to see people 'Live God Loud,'" explain organizers on the Big Ticket website. "Every aspect of our festival, whether it's our music line-up, extreme sports, Kids Zone, ministry tent area, or prayer tent, will be supporting this goal. The Big Tickets desire is to bring people of all ages and backgrounds together to encounter an awesome, living God."

According to event coordinators, Big Ticket 2006 concerts brought in 5,000 people.

Non-Christians are especially invited to attend this year and find out more about God.