Christian music festival grows, now spans three days

The Afters

CUMBERLAND — Area churches, families and businesses are gearing up for the Unite Music Festival. What started two years ago as a single day event has grown into three days of activities this year.

A kickoff event will be held Aug. 22 at LaVale Baptist Church, 1115 National Highway, with the remaining activities at the Allegany County Fairgrounds Aug. 23 and 24.

National recording artists The Afters will headline this year’s main stage on Aug. 24, and will be joined by the Amani Children’s Choir.

Other bands performing that Saturday will be Wheelhouse Pilot and New Day. Similar to last year, the event will be held free of charge.

“Our festival strives to provide local talent with an opportunity to perform outside their home congregations,” said event organizer Eric Turner in an emailed news release. “This year a ‘local talent’ showcase is being held on Friday evening in the Multipurpose Building at the Allegany County Fairgrounds starting at 7 p.m.”

Doors will open at 5 p.m. that day with a picnic-style dinner being donated by area businesses. Local praise teams and featured soloists will highlight the evening’s festivities and include performances by Caleb Shaffer, Kristen Beeman, Mark Jewell, praise teams from Calvary Chapel, Grace Memorial Community Church and more.

“Our all-volunteer team continues to learn each year what helps make this event such a hit with local families,” said planning committee member Jim Jeffries, pastor at LaVale Baptist. “In addition to contemporary Christian sounds, a strong local following has emerged to support traditional Southern gospel. This year we are honored to host nationally acclaimed entertainers The Perrys at our kickoff event on Thursday the 22nd at LaVale Baptist Church.”

Due to limited seating, individuals interested in attending the event must obtain a ticket in advance by calling 301-707-3100.

“The event is not being planned to replace any church’s worship or music ministry. We envision this festival as an event that can be shared by any congregation,” added Turner. The cost associated with producing such an event can be formidable. “We are very thankful that a large number of churches, businesses and families have contributed again this year to support this event,” he said. “We strive hard to structure our events so that they are affordable for a family of any size.”

Event organizers wish to acknowledge the support of the Cumberland National Day of Prayer Inc., which serves as the fiscal agent for the festival.

Stage area seating and preferred grandstand seating will be available on a first-come basis.

For more information, contact Jeffries at 301-707-3100 or Turner at 240-522-7774.

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