One of the largest Christian rock festivals to visit the Topeka area this summer will be coming to a small town in northeast Kansas this weekend and — get this — general admission is free.
Rock the Ridge will get underway at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 8, at NorthRidge Church, 316 Lincoln St. in Sabetha, a town of 2,600 people in Nemaha County.
The town’s population easily could double during the festival.
The outdoor concert will feature some of the biggest names in Christian rock music, including Building 429, Colton Dixon and Finding Favour, who will be appearing along with Jamison Strain, Adelaide and Kerwood.
In addition to the music festival, which is expected to last more than six hours, the event will include free bounce houses, slides, obstacle courses and inflatables for children of all ages.
Food trucks will be on site and will be offering various items for sale.
Attendees are invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets for the event, which will be held inside the church building if it rains.
Cale Lang, NorthRidge Church youth pastor, said the congregation has been host to about a half-dozen ticketed concerts featuring Christian rock groups like Big Daddy Weave.
But church members wanted to do something bigger — and different — for their first outdoor concert.
”We are just fired up,” Lang said earlier this week, as the date for the festival was drawing closer. “We’ve heard from people in Lawrence, Kansas City and Lincoln who are planning to come.”
Lang credited church member Brad Lippert, who is the event coordinator, with lining up the performers. The various groups all had Saturday available on their schedules and were able to commit to performing at Rock the Ridge.
Organizers said they don’t know how many people to expect for Rock the Ridge. Early estimates range from 1,000 to 3,000 attendees. But it’s really anybody’s guess.
Lang said organizers made Rock the Ridge available to attendees at no charge for general admission.
“We decided to make it free so it was the most family-friendly event we could do,” he said. “People can come and go, or go to a ballgame and come back, or come late — we just want them to come.
“We tried to do as much as we could to remove the barriers of entry so people could invite their neighbors and friends.”
The musicians will take turns performing on a large trailer that is transformed into a stage. A giant LED screen will show the concert live for attendees.
The main goal, Lang said, is for the Gospel to be communicated clearly through the music and words of the various artists.
“Ultimately, our biggest hope is that people can see the hope we all have in Christ,” Lang said. “We love that God uses a common denominator we all love, and that’s music.”
Those wanting to get up-close and personal with the artists can purchase VIP packages, which will include premium seating and premium parking.
For more information about those packages, or for more details about the festival, visit www.rocktheridge.net.
Contact Phil Anderson at (785) 295-1195 or follow live reports @Philreports on Twitter. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/philreports.tcj/