Jesus Fest, Christian music festival this Saturday

“It’s All About Jesus Fest” is all about music, fellowship and community.

The second annual Christian music event returns to the Skenesborough Canalside Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1.

The festival, which is a free event for people of all ages, will feature contemporary Christian music from a half dozen different performers, dancers, food, and refreshments.

The event is organized by Mike Lemery, the former pastor of Faith Chapel Assembly of God.

Lemery said one of the reasons he left the church in January after serving as its pastor for 17 years is to organize events like “It’s All About Jesus Fest.”

“I really like these types of events. They’re community-based and free,” he said.

Although Christian music festivals are held throughout the country, there are very few held locally, a fact Lemery is hoping to change.

“There’s nothing like them in upstate New York. My passion is to develop things like that here. It’s hard to get bands up here. The churches are smaller. I’ve seen, firsthand, the burden of small churches. They don’t have the money to bring these kinds of events in,” Lemery said. “So I’m trying to develop it. It would be nice to have something here in Whitehall to partake in.”

Last year’s inaugural event drew a crowd of 400 to 500 people and Lemery expects this year’s festival to attract even more.

He said one of the biggest challenges is financing the event. It costs about $4,000 to stage the event and Lemery said most of that money has come from donations by individuals and local churches.

He hopes one day the event will rival Soul Fest and Creation, large Christian music festivals on the East Coast. “My goal is to bring in bands that travel the world. The biggest in the Christian world,” Lemery said.

For now he is content with attracting local and regional performers.

The festival will feature six different performers: River, Silversyde, 72nd Hour, Samatha Young, Divine Order, and the Mark Bolos Band.

“It’s a variety of different musical styles. Most of the music is contemporary. Silversyde was here last year and they play some heavier stuff. I think the kids will really like them. It’s all decent music,” Lemery said.

Silversyde and Divine Order both hale from the Capital District, the band River is made up of musicians from the local area, and 72nd Hour, who performed during last year’s festival under the name “Inward Fire,” consists of several kids from Whitehall.

“Samantha Young is from the Fair Haven Baptist Church and has a really nice voice and the Mark Bolos Band is probably the most well-known group,” Lemery said.

Fans will have the chance to meet all the performers in the “meet and greet tent” where they can also pick up merchandise from each of the performers. And several local youth groups will participate in the festival as well. New Life Ministry from the Fair Haven Baptist Church, the primary sponsor of the event, will make a “human video” and Faith Chapel’s dance team, Fearless, will create a dance video on scene.

Kevin Gebo will be the festival’s minister and there will be a variety of grilled food available.

“There’s a lot of doom and gloom in the world and I think it’s good to have some hope. This is a nice community event,” Lemery said.

Parking will be available on Skenesborough Drive and Main Street.

For more information, including a full schedule of performers, visit www.itsallaboutjesusfest.com.

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