By RONDA GREGORY
News & Journal Staff Writer
A joyful noise resonated at this summer’s three-day Christian music extravaganza along Main Street in downtown Clarksburg August 7 to 9. At the 10th annual Jesus Fest, local, regional and national Christian bands and artists lifted up their voices in praise and worship.
The few thousand visitors to the free, faith-based, nondenominational event could choose their favorite Christian music to enjoy from several music styles. “Almost every genre was represented,” said Moranda Clark, Jesus Fest past president and current secretary. “We had rap, gospel, rock and contemporary Christian worship music.”
Ben Stottlemyer, a board member, said that having many choices helps in attracting more and diverse people to come out for the Festival. “Having different genres reaches out to different folks … we’re reaching out to them, some who may not have been comfortable going to church. Some may have thought they wouldn’t be accepted by a church. We want to say to them that they can come as they are and that the Lord will help them.”
Artists performed from both the STAR Furniture Stage and the Huffman Corporation Stage during the event. Just some of the 21 popular artists or bands who performed were rapper 5ive, Abandon, Josh Wilson, Jonas Woods and Adam Cappa.
Stottlemyer said a unique opportunity for people at a Christian music Festival such as Jesus Fest is that most of the artists mingle with everyone before or after their sets. “They stay with the Festival. For example, Abandon performed Saturday night and then came back the next day to hang out with everyone,” he stated.
Organizers say the Festival is a way to help people “meet Jesus for the first time or (for those who already are believers) celebrate and renew their relationship with Him”.
“The Festival is important for three main reasons, Clark stated. “It’s purpose is to unite the churches in the area, to provide clean family fun for people in the area and to share the love of Jesus Christ with others,” she stated.
Organizers explained that the idea of having a music-focused celebration was based on Numbers 10:10 from the Old Testament: “Blow the trumpets in times of gladness. Too, sounding them at your annual festivals”.
Amid all the entertainment, the one chord played throughout is always the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Clark emphasized.
“The music is the main attraction, but while the artists are here, many share their own testimonies with the crowd,” she stated. “We want to share Jesus with them.”
In addition to the music, Festival attendees could learn and be inspired by several faith-focused speakers and preachers – some individuals and some who represented ministry groups, such as the WVU Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the World Championship Wrestlers: Crusaders for Christ.
“The Gospel message was presented every single day,” Clark noted.
As was fitting, the Festival featured a Sunday morning group church service at Jackson Square with Pastor Peggy Williams, a local Clarksburg minister, officiating, and artist Adam Cappa leading the music worship.
For automotive enthusiasts, the Festival hosted a Car, Bike & Truck Show Saturday.
People attending the Festival could purchase souvenir T-shirts, caps and an assortment of other faith-based products. One local craftsman, who is a welder, makes decorative crosses.
Food is also a part of celebration, of course. Clark said area restaurants and some churches had delicious food items for sale.
The free event operates exclusively on donations. To contribute to the Festival or for more information about it, visit the website at jesusfestwv.org or on Facebook at “Jesus Fest, WV.” Mark your calendars for future Jesus Fests. They always are scheduled for the second weekend in August.