By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The threat of winter weather may have kept some home, but the Christian music festival Winter Jam played on.
Almost 5,000 attended the concert, which usually sells out, at the BancorpSouth Arena. Some especially loyal fans lined up to get into the concert hours ahead of time, since first-come, first-serve tickets were only available at the door.
Winter Jam kicked off with an explosive set from heavy rock band Red, complete with fire and smoke. The group will perform next on “Conan” on Tuesday.
Christian band NewSong, which acts as host of Winter Jam, followed with a powerful two-song set.
Confetti burst out onto the audience, and NewSong shared a new song, “One True God.”
In a night of mostly male performers, singer-songwriter Francesca Battistelli offered more feminine tracks, including a new song, “This is the Stuff,” from her upcoming album “Hundred More Years.”
“We’re excited to be here,” Battistelli said. “It’s good to hang out with you guys.”
Speaker Tony Nolan gave a very personal testimony, speaking about his painful childhood and his journey to Christ. He encouraged those in the audience to give themselves to God.
“We are a love-starved nation,” he said. “He’s offering you an all-you can-eat buffet of His benevolence, and I suggest you feast on it.”
The David Crowder Band kept the audience on its feet, with arms waving, by encouraging sing-alongs and hoe-downs.
“We need less pretty and more loud, Tupelo,” Crowder said before singing “No One Like You.”
The group ended its set with a medley of Hank Williams’ “I Saw the Light” and the standard “I’ll Fly Away,” prompting the audience to dance their best jigs in the aisles.
It was a night of fun for the Brassfield family of Houston. Debbie Brassfield and her only daughter, 5-year-old Ashlyn, were out dancing in the lobby between sets. Brassfield’s husband and four sons were inside enjoying the show.
This was their second Winter Jam.
“I think this is the best one I’ve seen,” Brassfield said.
Christian rapper KJ-52 kept the crowd entertained between sets by giving away T-shirts. He also started a sing-along to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” and a dance-along to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
Contact Sheena Barnett at (662) 678-1580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.