Wednesday, September 4, 2013

This Weekend: Christian Music Culture Clash

Scene from a previous "Night of Joy" event.
Photo: Disney


Those of us in the Pacific Northwest have only heard about a phenomenon called the “Night of Joy” that is held each year at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Florida. For 30 years now, the “Night of Joy” has been an annual event bringing the best in Christian music entertainment and spreading them out throughout the legendary themepark. And when there’s no music playing, you can hang out at Space Mountain, the Pirates of the Caribbean or whatnot.

The “Night of Joy,” started in 1991 with just two acts, Stryper and REZ. The next year, the event featured six concerts including DC Talk and Steven Curtis Chapman. Not to be outdone, Universal Studios Florida started their own music festival, “Rock the Universe” in 1998 with pretty much the same concept. By 2001, the one-night events turned into two.

This year, both events are happening this weekend and Christian music lovers will be torn on which to attend. Performing at the Magic Kingdom: Skillet, MercyMe, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Audio Adrenaline, Mandisa, For KING & COUNTRY, Moriah Peters, We As Human and City Harbor on September 6. The next night includes The Newsboys, TobyMac, Francesca Battistelli, Building 429, Group 1 Crew, Matthew West, PLUMB and Jamie Grace. Tickets are $55 for each night.

Universal’s “Rock the Universe” boasts of being Florida’s Biggest Christian Music Festival. Competing for your attention are Swithfoot, Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Tenth Avenue North, Family Force 5, Colton Dixon and Kyle Sherman on Friday. On Saturday, the event features Casting Crowns, Jesus Culture, Lecrae, Relient K, Red, Everfound, Crave and Wayne Simien. Tickets are only slightly cheaper at $54.99 for one night.

The Little Mermaid herself, Jodi Benson, will be making an appearance at the “Night of Joy” as a representative for World Vision. “Rock the Universe” will feature a candlelight service late night on Saturday. Which event will be better? That really depends on what type of music you like. For me, it’s times like this that makes me wish I lived in Florida. 

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