Many of you may have heard of the event that occurs every year in the month of May, but for those of you who haven’t, well buckle up, because I am going to delve into it BIG time!
If I could sum up my experience at Big Church Day Out in three words they would be – fun, amazing, blessed, inspiring, musical, pure and utter happiness…ok, I tried to keep it to THREE words BUT MY FEELINGS ARE IMPORTANT!
I’d heard about said event through my friends from my church. They had attended last year and planned on going again this year. I knew this time I was not going to let the opportunity pass by and be left out of the converstaion again! I wasn’t sure what to expect other than the fact that there would be various Christian bands playing and of course..camping!!! BUT BUT BUT, for those who have cringed and shuddered at the idea of camping you could always stay at a nearby B&B, alternativley, come for the day. But we are a hardcore group so we camped the entire weekend. I must warn you though, if you’re not a camper then you don’t get to enjoy the after hours festivities, more on that later!
The day started from midday. My friends and I started making our way towards the faint tones of musicians tuning up their instruments and I just got this exciting buzz when I started hearing it! After going through, my eyes met a huge field, (which within the hour is packed with people so get there early) and the main stage.
Then further out is another stage and copious amounts of food stalls of various cuisines, merchandise stalls (I totally got myself an amazing hoody), and a few rides to keep the kiddies amused. It was just a vast expanse of field which was filled with so many things that one could not possibly be bored. The first stage is the bigger stage of the two and where you find the well-known bands play. The second stage was for other bands but you would find that a band or singer would perform on both stages incase you missed their first performance.
What I really liked about the set up was that you could either be with the crowd right in front of the stage, or you could just set up your own spot further back, still with a good view of the stage, sit back, relax, have some drinks and enjoy the music from there. I definitely did both but I’d say a good 95% I was screaming at the top of my lungs and dancing near the stage. I promise I wasn’t running around ALL the time, and here’s a picture to show my friends and I being cool, calm and collected!
Some bands I knew, and some bands were completely foreign to me. Whether I knew their songs or not, I was joining in! We had bands not only from Britain but from America, Canada and Australia – and even better, the music catered to all ages. I didn’t hear old people complain about it once! Well, except for when I overheard a few complaining about the noise level, but still, everyone was having fun!! Yes, there is a certain expectation that Christian music is all about hymns, droning on about God and just generally..dull. I assure you it most certainly is not! Jazz, Country, Hip hop, Rap, Acoustic, Reggae, Gospel – all these different bands with their different genres of music sang about God in a fun, upbeat and different way. I believe that if we are singing God’s praises, we either sing them with feeling or we should be jumping up and down and that’s what these bands did for me. For example, an American rapper, ‘Lacrae’ left quite an impression. I had never heard his music but apparently I was in for a treat. When he started, he brought the crowd alive with his lyrics. His music is what you would expect to hear in a club, but instead he was rapping about God and Christianity. I LITERALLY don’t think I have ever danced that hard in my life. I lost a lot of calories, but don’t you worry, there was cake in the office when I returned and those calories came rushing right back.
By the end of both nights I left with an amazing sense of wonder. It is an amazing sight when you see hundreds and hundreds of people, closing their eyes, lifting their hands to God, being in the moment while worship music washes over us all. It was even more outstanding when people openly accepted Jesus Christ in their life. For a moment, you feel that you are all one. It’s a feeling I could never do justice in describing through words, so I guess you’re just gonna have to head on down there and experience it for yourself!
11pm is when the day comes to a close, but for those who are camping, the night has just began. The first night I ventured to the after hours tent with my friends, we ran into the lead singer of the band, ‘Need to Breathe.’ Me, being the awesome one out of our group, went and introduced myself, along with my friend. My friend was really cool, and was saying clever and relevant things about his music and I just had to make the lead singer understand that I too was a cool individual. So I screamed at him, ‘THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC!’ Although he appreciated my comment, the glare my friend gave me made me re-evaluate myself and I have come to the conclusion that actually, I am an utter disgrace when meeting lead singers of bands. Just..awful. Swiftly moving on; the after hours tent offered more music from a band that had played earlier on the main stage called the ‘Abram Brothers.’ Their style of music was more of an acoustic vibe and so it was good to relax to after an exciting day.
Sunday was pretty much the same as Saturday expect for different bands that were playing, but the after hours tent was rather full as we discovered a live band playing secular music, so you can only imagine the excitement of a load of young adults when the band started playing Bruno Mar’s ‘Uptown Funk.’ Seeing as it was our last night, my friend and I just did not feel like going to bed. It was perhaps the mixture of the music, excitement, and frantic denial that it was our last night. Knowing that we should go to bed due to travelling the next day, we did the sensible thing and joined a camp fire outside and started singing along with a group of people until 1am. It was a huge camp fire with 40+ people around it. One guitar, one kahon and voices singing along to worship music or mumbling if you didn’t know the words! It was overall, a good end to the weekend, all that was missing was marshmallows…next time.
Two nights of phenomenal music and a closeness to God is what Big Church Day Out guarantees and it is what you get. So, if you decide go next year, I promise you won’t regret it, and come find me, I’ll be the one with the big bag of marshmallows!
Till next time!