By Linda Scherer
WINSTED, MN An impressive list of performers for the seventh annual 2011 Higher Ground music festival was recently announced, and its sponsors are calling the lineup “one of its best todate.”
Appearing with headliners MercyMe and Jeremy Camp for 2011 Higher Ground are Matthew West, Go Fish, Kutless, Group 1 Crew, Anthem Lights, Vota, and Rush of Fools. Watch for additional updates on artists yet to be confirmed.
Tickets for the festival, scheduled Friday and Saturday, Aug. 5 and 6, are now available on-line at www.hgmusicfest.com or by calling (877) 840-0457.
The event is scheduled two weeks earlier than previous years because a large percentage of the festival’s fans are families who have found the later date in August conflicts with the start of school activities. Since the change, Higher Ground sponsors have been receiving positive feedback on the earlier time.
Higher Ground fans will be happy to hear Saturday’s headliner, MercyMe, is back for its third appearance on the Higher Ground stage. It was named America’s favorite contemporary inspirational artist at the November 2010 American Music Awards, an award it also received in 2004.
In addition to MercyMe appearing at Higher Ground in 2006 and 2008, it has been on The Tonight Show, CNN, Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends, ABC News, and CBS’ The Early Show. Articles about the group have been in Entertainment Weekly, the New York Times, USA Today, and Billboard.
In 2009, Billboard magazine named MercyMe the Christian songs artist of the decade for the 2000s, and its song, “Word of God Speak” was named the Christian song of the decade.
Its latest album, “The Generous Mr. Lovewell” sold nearly 90,000 copies its first week, debuted at number-three on Billboard’s Top 200 chart, and number-one on Christian SoundScan; and the album has already given the band another number-one single with “All of Creation.”
The headliner for Friday evening is multi-award winning Christian vocalist and guitarist Jeremy Camp. Since starting his career, he has sold 3 million records, has had 19 number-one hits, and won several major Dove awards. Of the seven albums he has released, four have been certified Gold by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).
Camp has also had several songwriter of the year wins, and an American Music Award nomination.
His most recent album, “We Cry Out: The Worship Project,” was released Aug. 24, 2010.
This is a return visit for Camp, who also performed at Higher Ground in 2009.
In addition to Camp’s performance, Friday’s lineup will also include Kutless, which appeared at Winstock in 2009, as well as two first-time appearances at Higher Ground by Group 1 Crew, and Anthem Lights.
A new performer at Higher Ground, Matthew West will make his debut Saturday night.
West started out as an independent musician in the late 1990s.
In addition to his main solo career, West has worked as a songwriter for many Christian musicians and groups such as Point of Grace, Mandisa, and Natalie Grant, as well as mainstream country acts Rascal Flatts and Billy Ray Cyrus.
Nominated for five Dove awards, West has released seven studio albums, and is known for his number-one hits, “More,” “You Are Everything,” and “Motions.”
Other performances Saturday evening include Go Fish, which will be making its third appearance at Higher Ground, having previously performed in 2007 and 2010; Vota, making its debut; and Rush of Fools, which appeared at Higher Ground in 2008.
Early bird ticket sales
The early bird ticket special began Jan. 7, and will continue until Friday, Jan. 21 for a $49 weekend pass.
A group special is offered until Jan. 21 that comes with the purchase of 10 tickets. In addition, the group will get two free tickets, plus two free campsites.
All groups that purchase by Friday, May 20 will be registered to win a free campsite concert with a Higher Ground artist, a pizza party, or a pack of CDs for everyone in their group. Group orders can be directed to (612) 253-5151.
New this year, children 10 and under can get discounted tickets to the Artist Circle for $70. For everyone else, it is $125.
There are only a limited quantity of Artist Circle tickets available, and they cannot be purchased at the gate.
The Artist Circle tickets for Higher Ground 2011 include a weekend admission ticket, all weekend access to the Higher Ground Artist Circle tent, located next to the main stage; an exclusive private seminar and praise worship gathering, special meet-and-greet sessions with Higher Ground artists and bands, a hot catered dinner both Friday and Saturday night, free fountain pop and water all weekend, and preferred seating in front of main stage (bring your own chair).