When one of your favorite bands plays at a music festival a mere twenty miles from your house, you can’t not go. Right?
Yesterday, I attended the annual Sonshine Music Festival with my old roommate, Alli and one of her childhood friends. I’ve wanted to go for a long time, but this was the first summer I’ve managed to be in the crowd. Usually, the festival takes place in Wilmar, MN–near where I went to college. This year, the event moved not only towns, but states! It’s now in Somerset, Wisconsin–just across the river from home.
Although the festival goes for many days, I only went for one. Because of the location shift and a brutal thunderstorm in the middle of the night, attendance was low. Alli, has been to Sonshine many, many times and was shocked at how small the crowds were.
It was a perfect July afternoon–hot and sunny. I dressed for the weather in breezy shorts and a tank top, but still managed to sweat gallons. I can’t count how many bottles of water I consumed just to keep hydrated.
Heat complaints aside, it was really fun to see all the different bands. I got to see Remedy Drive, a group that played at several youth conferences I attended in high school. We watched Children 18:3, who hail from Morris (my alma mater). I’ve seen the band’s members lead worship several times, but never perform. They went CRAZY. We hid in the back of the crowd to prevent getting trampled by overly enthusiastic fans.
The best part of the day, though, was Rend Collective. Hailing from Northern Ireland, their music is folksy and hard not to dance to. Although they’ve become pretty famous in the Christian music sphere over the past few years, it hasn’t affected their heart for worship. Their concerts aren’t performances. They’re all about celebration, authenticity, and family.
During Rend Collective’s time on stage, all my troubles melted away. We were lucky to be in the front of the crowd, as close to the stage as possible. As they played song after song, I couldn’t stop smiling. Despite being relatively reserved most of the day, I jumped and shouted and danced without a care in the world. The set wasn’t about putting on a good show–it was about celebrating the honor of serving a wonderful God.
We didn’t stick around for the big closing act–the Newsboys. I know they’re one of the biggest bands on the Christian music scene, but honestly… I’m not really a fan. We watched a few of their songs, but they completely lacked the heart and soul of Rend Collective. So while the other Sonshine attendees screamed and shouted excitedly, we packed our chairs and headed to the car.
All in all, it was a day well spent. I love attending concerts and they’re even better when they’re bands close to my heart. I ended up with my worst sunburn of the summer, but wouldn’t change a thing.
Want a taste of Rend Collective’s style and philosophy on music? Check out the following video. It’s got the same spirit as their live shows.