The 2011 Rock the River Tour came to a rockin’ finish tonight in Winnipeg, Manitoba. After a couple of spectacular events in Milwaukee (Rock the Lakes) and Denver (Rock the Range), the tour headed to the Great White North for a day of music and fun on the banks of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers.
In this area, known locally as The Forks, the Gospel was shared with more than 10,000—many of whom responded to the invitation to start following Jesus.
The fun and festivities kicked off the in brisk, cool morning with KidzFest and a performance by God Rocks!, a Canadian-based kids outreach band. Emcee Nick Hall talked to the young audience of 1,200 about the love of Jesus and challenged them to start walking with Him.
The main show was unleashed later in the afternoon, beginning with two passionate hip-hop performances from Flame and Canadian native, Fresh IE. Fresh shared his story, which included spending time in prison. But through it all he discovered that “God is able.” His music reflected an energy and passion that comes with new life in Jesus.
Lacey Sturm followed them with heartfelt acoustic worship, sharing her testimony in the midst of a short song set. Franklin Graham joined Lacey afterward, proclaiming the God’s love and talking about humanity’s problem of sin.
His message focused on the story of the prodigal son and he compared our need for salvation to the wayward prodigal’s need for redemption: “Jesus took our sins on himself when he hung on the cross.”
When he gave the invitation for people to come forward to accept Jesus as their savior, he urged them not to let pride prevent them from making an eternity-altering decision.
From there, the rock and roll took over in full force. Pittsburgh, PA natives The Letter Black, fronted by female vocalist Sarah Anthony, rocked the stage with a heavy alternative rock sound. Anthony talked about her struggles as a teenager with cutting and sex, but she ultimately found hope through forgiveness and redemption.
The Winnipeg native sons of Starfield were up next, proudly representing their city as they played their pop-infused hits, mixed with a dc Talk cover and some classic worship tunes.
Thousand Foot Krutch (who also hail from Canada) closed out the night in raucous fashion, mixing rap, metal and rock in an explosive concoction that got the crowd moving and celebrating.
This outreach concert represented a unified effort from the local churches, as 134 different congregations (across 31 denominations) joined together to bring Rock the River to Winnipeg. Additionally, these churches were covered by six networks that lifted up the entire event in prayer.
Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz thanked Franklin Graham personally from the stage, expressing gratitude for the youth teams who helped clean up Winnipeg earlier this summer. He also said that, “Looking out at the youth who are here, I know that our city, our province, and our country are in good hands.”
With God transforming their lives and hearts, the next generation is indeed on the right path. Please continue to lift up the new believers and the churches in Winnipeg as they follow-up and start discipling the newest members of God’s family.
Help Us Bring the Gospel to a Hurting Generation
Youth are starved for the hope of the Gospel. You can help bring them the love of Christ by donating to future Festivals and Celebrations.