By Sheena Barnett
TUPELO – It was standing-room only at Winter Jam at the BancorpSouth Arena on Thursday night.
No advance tickets are sold for the Christian music festival, so fans began lining up early Thursday morning to make sure they had a seat.
A few were turned away after more than 9,316 packed inside, and the line to get in wrapped around to the back of the arena.
Inside, artists like Plumb, NewSong, Colton Dixon and Thousand Foot Krutch kept the audience on its feet, and fans sang along as lyrics to some songs were shown on any of the five screens.
“Let’s celebrate Jesus tonight,” said Dixon, an “American Idol” alum who was one of the early artists on stage.
The tour also gave back to Tupelo.
Artist Jared Emerson painted a portrait of Jesus that was sold at a silent auction. Any proceeds over $600, which paid for Emerson’s time and supplies, went to the Tupelo Children’s Mansion.
Speaker Nick Hall emceed the night and also ministered to the audience about God’s love.
“When you’re a child of God, it changes you,” he said. “God loves you. God wants you.”
Fans were able to mix and mingle with many of the artists, who hung out at their merchandise tables after their performances.
Carol Rodgers brought her granddaughter, 10-year-old Anna, as well as 17 other members from Northside Baptist Church in New Albany.
It was many of the members’ first Winter Jam, but Rodgers is a fan of the tour.
“We love the music,” she said. “(NewSong) is wonderful. I’d say they’re my favorite.”
NewSong started Winter Jam in 1995.