Church's slot at prominent music festival
A Baptist church finds itself sharing the same billing as UB40 and Gabrielle this weekend
Upton Baptist Church in Worcestershire has been invited to run a holiday club as part of the Sunshine Music Festival, a three-day event that unites a host of top 80s and 90s music acts.
Set in the riverside setting of Upton upon Severn, Sunshine bills itself as "England’s greatest family festival", with this year’s headliners the reggae/pop band UB40, who have sold more than 70 million records, and Gabrielle, whose debut single Dreams topped the UK charts in 1993. In total the event will feature more than 100 artists across four stages.
The church is directly involved for the first time, bringing a little bit of the seaside to the Worcestershire field by running a Christian-based holiday club on the Saturday and Sunday morning for five to 11 year olds under the banner ‘Seaside Rock’.
The holiday club has been arranged to enable organisers to open up the festival to children within the community of Upton. While half the places are allocated to festival goers, the rest are open for the community, and visiting parents will be able to enjoy the coffee and breakfast area of the festival for free whilst their children are having fun.
This is the first time that such an initiative has been attempted, and the Revd Paul McCabe, minister at Upton Baptist Church, hopes the arrangement will benefit all.
‘In discussions with the Sunshine Festival over the last few months we have come to realise how much of a heart for those who attend the festival and for the community the organisers truly have,’ he said.
‘We have both agreed that we will learn and develop together not just for this year but for next year as well. I have no idea if this has ever been done before at a major UK festival but this is an opportunity for the festival visitors and for locals alike.
‘Being a part of the festivals is close to our own heart for our community. Upton is known for the festivals held in the town throughout the year and it has been a real pleasure to work with the festival organisers.
‘We are called as a church at the heart of its community to bring the good news of Jesus to all of our community – we believe that this new initiative does just that.’
The church’s programme will bring together craft activities, games and fun and will feature a live band. The programme will be based around the story of Peter the Fisherman and aims to deliver a quality children’s programme for the morning sessions, building on the church’s successful Messy Church initiative.
Steve High, the Festival’s head of PR, said, ‘It’s great to work alongside the local community and investigate new links, especially with such a dynamic and inspirational leader as Paul.
‘The seaside in the country side may sound like a crazy idea but in reality both organisations say that their main aim is to serve their communities, whether the children of festival goers or the local children, and if it works it could well prove a good blueprint for other joint community initiatives.’