Over the weekend, I attended one of the biggest tours in Christian music. Started by the band Newsong, Winter Jam offers a cornucopia of different bands in varying genres of Christian music.
Headliner, Toby Mac, has been a staple in Christian music for almost 25 years. With older hits like “Boomin’” and “Gone” and newer songs like “Steal My Show” and “Eye On It,” he is still able to entertain the crowd like no other. Toby Mac started out in rap-turned-rock group DC Talk, moved on to hip-hop as a solo artist, and is currently using a plethora of instruments like horns and drum corps drums in his music. His ability to change with the times is a tribute to his versatility as an artist. It was a real joy to see 8th graders dancing and singing to the same guy I used to dance and sing to when I was in 8th grade.
Matthew West, who I describe as the Michael Buble’ of Christian music, performed before Toby Mac with his most famous song, “More,” and other songs that he described as “stories.” His message of forgiveness and grace through his songs was better than speaker Nick Hall’s message of resetting and recharging, in my opinion.
Red, a screamo band with Steampunk stage decorations and costumes, also performed as well as Sidewalk Prophets, newcomer Jamie Grace, Newsong, Royal Tailor, Jason Castro of American Idol, OBB, and DJs Capital Kings.
The light show and stage effects were excellent. The turnaround of bands was quick, and the sets were short, which didn’t leave much time for boredom. Freedom Hall is also very easy to navigate; however, the venue was simply not big enough. The line to get into the building was exceptionally long (even before doors were set to open at 5pm), and I gathered that many people had to be turned away.
Staff and security guards weren’t very helpful and were often impolite. One security guard in particular, very rudely told me to “flip a coin” to decide what to do as I was looking for a spot where my consistent coming and going to take pictures wouldn’t be cumbersome to those around me. I found out later that other media personnel were being allowed to sit behind the barriers around the stage for that very purpose. Even though I had proper clearance and badges, he passed by my seat several times seemingly “keeping an eye on me,” and blocked me from taking pictures when the headliner moved to another area of the stage.
Aside from my encounter with security guard on a power trip, I very much enjoyed my night at Winter Jam, and I would highly recommend this family friendly music extravaganza as it comes to Louisville every winter.
For more pictures of Saturday night's show, check out Josh Lee's slideshow here: http://www.louisville.com/content/winter-jam-2013