M ike Lemery, the pastor of Faith Chapel Assembly of God has always been a music fan.
He’s attended large Christian music festivals such as Creation Festival in Pennsylvania and Soulfest in New Hampshire and his son, Stefan, is the lead singer of Inward Fire, a group comprised of Faith Chapel members.
Now he’s hoping to bring some of that music to the Whitehall audience.
Lemery has combined his passion for music and church into an all-day music festival he’s dubbed “It’s All About Jesus Fest.”
The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 3 at the Canal Side Park on Main Street and will feature six different Christian rock bands.
“They have these things all over the country but nothing happens in the northeast because the churches are small so we decided as a church to see if we could pull it off. Sometimes you just need to stick your neck out there and go for it,” Lemery said.
Although the event is being organized primarily by members of Faith Chapel and has an obvious religious component, it’s intended to be an event for people of all ages and faiths.
“It’s meant to be a free community event. We have four or five different denominations supporting this thing,” Lemery said.
The initial response to the event has been favorable.
Lemery said the event has attracted about 300 facebook followers and he’s expected several hundred people to show up.
Organizers are hoping to augment those numbers with the crowds of people in town enjoying the annual Town-Wide Garage Sale.
“We choose the Whitehall garage day because there are lots of people in town. They will be able to hear the music. I have my sound guy bringing in the same equipment they have at the larger festivals and there will be more than enough power to send the music out,” he said. “We’re hoping for anywhere from 500 to 1,000 a people.”
The six bands who will attend include: Isaiah Six, Silversyde, Julian Drive, the Bradly Thomas Wilder Band, solo performer Rebecca Spataro, and local group Inward Fire.
Several of the performers, such as Julian Drive from Georgia and Isaiah Six are very well known, Lemery said.
Although all the music can be classified as Christian Rock, the festival will include a variety of musical genres from contemporary, rock, worship and even some heavy metal. “Silversyde will do some heavy stuff,” Lemery said.
The festival will feature more than just music, however.
There will be a “Meet and Greet Ten” where attendees will have the opportunity to chat up all the musicians and score autographs, all at no charge.
“Bubbles the Clown” will be doing face painting and making balloon animals and there will be all sorts of performer memorabilia for sale, including CD’s and official festival t-shirts.
Organizers will be using the pavilion grill and there will be a variety of food available for hungry patrons as well as an information booth to provide people with any assistance they may need.
All the proceeds from the event will be used to cover the cost of the event and anything extra will be put away for next year.
Lemery said his ultimate goal is to make this an annual event and eventually attract sponsors so they can bring in more bands.
“We’re hoping to have a good event that people will be happy with and like the idea and hopefully that gets more people to jump on board next year. This is our first doing something like this so it’s kind of uncharted territory for us. It’s been challenging.”
Admission to the festival is free and overflow parking will be available at the Rec. Center.
For more information, visit www.itsallaboutjesusfestival.com.