Thousands attend Christian music festival in Longmont

By Sarah Horn | The Denver Post

LONGMONT — For the more than 35,000 Christian music fans who came to Union Reservoir on Saturday for Heaven Fest, the heat, long lines and crowded, dusty parking lots were overcome with pure patience and understanding.

“I’ve worked at other festivals and the people here are nicer and more gracious,” said Angi Pratt, a parking volunteer who works in ministry at the Auraria campus in Denver. “Probably because they are Christians.”

Heaven Fest, the 3-year-old single-day Christian music festival, moved to Longmont this year because it outgrew its previous venue in Brighton and elicited complaints from residents and attendees, mostly related to traffic delays.

(Photo: by Diego James Robles, The Denver Post )

“The scale is amazing,” said Heaven Fest spokesman

Steve Chavis. “And we have the space here to handle the crowd and engage and entertain them.”

By early evening, no traffic accidents were reported, and five people had to seek emergency medical attention. One of those was taken to the hospital for a seizure, and the other four were treated for heat exhaustion. For a festival with almost no shade, the lack of emergencies was probably due to the absence of alcohol, said Brett Haberstich, spokesman for the Boulder County incident management team.

There still were people waiting at the parking lots and entrances, and the lines for free ice water and at the food stands grew as the afternoon went on.

A girls Christian youth group from Bayard, Neb., who had been camping since Friday night for their first visit to the festival, were most excited to see the band Hawk Nelson play. The high school juniors and seniors said they wished for more places to sit and cleaner portable restrooms.

The festival is expected to bring in around $700,000 to Longmont, Mayor Bryan Baum said at a news conference for Heaven Fest last month.

The crowd of mostly families, teenagers and church groups set up canopies, beach umbrellas and blankets. The Hip Hop stage, Main Stage and Rock Stage had the biggest crowds during the day, especially during the reunion of the popular band Petra and the performance by Disciple.

People were packed on Union Reservoir beach, where an area for baptisms was set up. By the afternoon around 80 people had been baptized — mostly in groups of friends and families, said Dalene Nelson, a volunteer from the church that was performing the ceremonies, Northern Hills Church in Brighton.

Many young concertgoers took time to record short video diaries at one of the tents about their experiences.

“Most people are saying how they love seeing God moving in people,” said video volunteer Josh Pohlman. “They also love being with this many Christians all together.”

Source: DenverPost

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