By Teresa Jagodzinski
Headliners at the 2008 Higher Ground Music Festival will be Casting Crowns and MercyMe.
According to Higher Ground Chairman Terry Fasching, obtaining these two bands is huge for the festival and would be equal to Winstock getting Faith Hill and Shania Twain.
This is the fourth year for the festival which provides Christian music and fun family oriented activities.
More than 20 bands will be heading to the two-day festival Aug. 15 and 16 in Winsted at the Winstock grounds.
Friday’s headliner, Casting Crowns, is a rising star in the music industry.
“They are one of the fastest growing Christian bands,” added committee member, Julie Fasching.
It has been nominated for three Grammy awards this year.
Its record setting number one song “East to West” is nominated for Best Gospel Performance and Best Gospel song with lead singer Mark Hall being nominated as the songwriter. Their new album The Altar and The Door is nominated for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album.
Their previous album, Lifesong, won awards at the 2007 American Music Awards and the 2006 Grammy’s.
They have also been chosen Group of the Year at the Gospel Music Dove Awards for the last three years.
They are the most played artist on all Christian radio formats and have sold more than three million albums to date.
Saturday’s headliner, MercyMe, is a returning artist to the festival. The band performed at the 2006 festival and was brought back because of the high demand for it.
The band has been very successful in the past five years. Its latest album is “All That is Within Me.”
Some new additions will be made for the 2008 festival.
The vendor tent will be expanding, with new merchandise vendors and display vendors.
Also, the tents only section of the campsite will be expanding because that area sold out last year.
Along with the inspirational music provided at this festival, fans can enjoy many fun activities.
They will once again have the inflatable village, and volleyball tournament.
More family activities are planned than they had in previous years.
This family-oriented music festival allows no smoking or alcohol.
Camp Spirit, which is an area set aside for listeners of Spirit 92.9 in St. Cloud, will also return.
The festival keeps growing every year.
At the festival in 2007, Friday was the best single day the festival had in three years.
The rain that then came on Saturday kept people away and prevented the festival from being a financial success.
The committee members would like more people to get involved either by attending, volunteering, promoting, sponsoring, or donating to the event.
Fasching commented that it’s a great event for the Winsted area, and it brings people of all denominations together for a great cause.
The best thing that local people can do for the event is buy a ticket and come out and support the event, he added.
Weekend passes are available for $40 now until Jan. 15. From Jan. 16 through June 15, prices will increase to $45, and starting June 16 prices will increase to $55. A one-day pass can be purchased for $30.
Children 10 years and under are free.
Camping, which is assigned on a first-come, first-served basis, is $30.
At the gate, prices will increase to $65 for the weekend, and $40 for a single day.
Tickets can be purchased now at the Higher Ground festival’s web site, www.hgmusicfest.com, by calling 866-821-5151, or at all Northwestern Bookstore locations.
Starting in February, tickets can be purchased at the Holy Trinity parish office and Glenn’s SuperValu.
Updates on the festival and links to the bands’ websites can be found on the Higher Ground web site.
Anyone who has questions about sponsoring or supporting Higher Ground can contact any of the following committee members: Terry and Julie Fasching, Jeff Campbell, Lois Danielson, Colleen Entinger, Tracy and Roxanne Felder, Stephanie Gillman, or Joe and Melissa Neumann.