By Sherrie Norris
Tickets are available now and going fast for the annual FaithFest in neighboring Wilkes County. Now in its third year, the event, slated for August 31, is quickly gaining popularity and expected to draw a record crowd on the campus of Wilkes Community College.
The Watson and Cabin Stages, so familiar to those who come for Merlefest in the spring, will come to life once again with some of the biggest names in the contemporary Christian music arena.
From those behind the scenes, “The mission of FaithFest is to use worship music (in a variety of genres) and the word of God (via testimonies and the preached word) to unite believers, save the lost, bring a community together — and spark a revival that will change our area and beyond.”
The 2019 artist lineup includes main stage attractions King & Country, Zach Williams, Natalie Grant, Jason Crabb and Iron Bell Music; The Cabin Stage will host Selah, Rhett Walker Band and Leanna Crawford.
According to the event’s website, ticket sales are limited for FaithFest 2019. “Last year, with 20,000 in attendance, we were packed, so we expect to sell out quickly this year.”
A pre-FaithFest Kickoff concert will be held Sunday, Aug. 25, 4 – 7 p.m. at the Carolina West Wireless Community Commons, 102 West Main St. in Wilkesboro.
For the FaithFest main event on Saturday, Aug. 31, gates will open at 12:30 p.m., with official start-up at 2 p.m. General admission seating is on a first-come, first-served basis with patrons bringing their own chairs.
Coolers and backpacks are allowed, but will be checked to insure safety of everyone in attendance.
No alcoholic beverages, drugs, tobacco products, firearms, pets/animals (with the exception of service animals), unauthorized video or audio recordings, glass containers, drones, segways, hoverboards, tents/canopies, or high-back chairs will be allowed in the festival.
There will be a kids area available, with parents and/or group leaders responsible for supervision of the children in their care.
The event will be held rain or shine, with plans in place in the event of thunderstorms.
Among the reviews found on the FaithFest FB page, Sarah McPherson wrote, “We came all the way from Australia for Faithfest 2018. We loved the day so, so much. The music was amazing and the people were so lovely. It’s worth the travel, so wherever you are if you can make it, do it. No regrets, although the journey home we exceptionally long (Wilkesboro to Washington to Los Angeles to Auckland NZ to Sydney Australia ….. still worth it!!. My pastor hubby turns 50 the day after Faithfest this year and has asked to go back to celebrate his birthday . . .”
The local FaithFest Committee includes: Randy Brooks, Randy Gambill, Larry Skipper, Craig Church, Tim Parsons, Melissa Lackey, Tim Adams, Taylor Baker, Faith Brooks, and Randall Parsons.
A couple of ticketing options are available online at www.faithfestnc.com with discounted tickets offered before August 5. Group sales of 12 or more include $25 tickets per person (ending Aug. 4). Individual presale tickets prior to Aug. 4 are $30, after which “last minute sales” will be $35 each. Children 12 and under are admitted free. Tickets are non-refundable, but transferrable.
FaithFest 2019 will be interpreted for the deaf and hard of hearing with a special seating area near the stage, for interpreters and deaf guests. Chairs are not provided.
Deaf attendees get free tickets (family members not included). Visit this page for more info: https://www.faithfestnc.com/deaf-sign-up/
Also, a generous Invitation for special needs families was earlier issued, with the first 100 registered “Special Friends” (individual with medical or developmental disabilities) and their families admitted free. In addition, accessible parking, assistance, a tent-covered seating area, snacks, drinks and adult-accessible changing spaces are being offered. Please check online at https://www.faithfestnc.com/special-friends/ to see if these opportunities are still available.
For all attendees, FaithFest will offer free parking on the campus of Wilkes Community College, with shuttle vans running from top parking lots. There will be signs and traffic directors to help with the parking. Overflow parking, if needed, will be in the fields beside and across from Sagebrush. VIP parking is limited to artists, media and sponsors. Parking in this area will not be allowed without a VIP parking pass.
Food and festival merchandise will be available for purchase.
Wilkes Community College is located at 1328 S Collegiate Dr. in Wilkesboro.
Presenting sponsors, in addition to Craig Church Ministries, include Carolina West Wireless, Gardner Glass Products, Page Interworks, PA,, and Window World, with numerous other local businesses offering support.
Mark your calendars now and reserve your tickets while you still can!
Scenes from the 2018 FaithFest in Wilkesboro, attended by 20,000, including many from the High Country.