Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow

Jfest marks 20th anniversar­y with 10 Christian music acts taking the stage at Camp Jordan Arena. SATURDAY

TEN ACTS PLAYING CHRISTIAN MUSIC FESTIVAL AT CAMP JORDAN

- STAFF WRITER BY SUSAN PIERCE

Ted Gocke was at the first Jfest when it launched 20 years ago at Camp Jordan Arena. Several hundred folks turned out to see what the new Christian music festival that radio station J103 was launching was all about.

Over two decades, Jfest has grown to become the largest Christian music festival and longest-running in this region, says Gocke, now J103’s morning show host, music director and promotions director. Last year’s event drew nearly 8,000 visitors; its biggest year saw close to 10,000 pass through the gates.

“The music has become more diverse. Christian music has evolved and now there are all the dif- ferent Christian genres: rap, hip- hop, rock, contempora­ry Christian,” says Gocke. “But one thing hasn’t changed about Jfest: the mission to evangelize and to give people the opportunit­y to sit down with their families and spend time together listening to a variety of music.”

Jfest marks i ts 20th anniversar­y on Saturday, May 19. Gates open at 9:30 a. m., when the first of 10 Christian music acts takes the stage.

As has become tradition, Jfest will end the day with fireworks, but a double- dose extravagan­za is planned this year.

“Last year was the first time in 19 years where we had a bad storm come in,” says Gocke. “It sat on us before the headliner and fireworks. We had to end the show and we lost both of those. So the fireworks this year will be twice as long.”

This year’s headliners are Britt Nicole, whose current single is “Be the Change,” and Tenth Avenue North, three- time Dove Award winner.

Gocke says organizers have tried to book Tenth Avenue North for years, but scheduling never worked out. The band’s current single is “Control,” which Gocke says has been the No. 1 song for several weeks in Christian music.

Tori Parris of Gadsden, Ala., will open Jfest. Performing the remainder of the day will be The Young Escape, Unspoken, The Color, Mallory Hope, Finding Favour and Calling Glory. Britt Nicole will come on about 6: 15 p. m. and Tenth Avenue North about 7:45.

New this year is the addition of an after-party, says Gocke. Christian hiphop artist Aaron Cole will entertain.

“Aaron is one of TobyMac’s proteges and is on TobyMac’s record label. Aaron will be onstage immediatel­y after the fireworks,” he says.

Also new this year: Vendors will accept cash.

“Normally, people have exchanged currency for J Bucks. This year, vendors will take cash. As a result of that, we’ve gotten more diverse vendors,” says Gocke.

The early morning Run For God Jfest 5K is still part of the event, however this year the festival is partnering with Volunteers in Medicine for the run. VIM will be the race presenter and beneficiar­y.

Race registrati­on starts at 7:30 a.m. The entry fee is $ 40, which includes a Jfest ticket.

For more informatio­n: jfest.com.

 ?? FACEBOOK. COM ?? Tenth Avenue North has played Riverbend, but Saturday’s show at Jfest marks its first appearance at that festival.
FACEBOOK. COM Tenth Avenue North has played Riverbend, but Saturday’s show at Jfest marks its first appearance at that festival.
 ??  ?? Britt Nicole’s new single is the title track from album “Be the Change.”
Britt Nicole’s new single is the title track from album “Be the Change.”

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