Winter Jam rocks Wichita

Jammin' for Jesus Francesca Battistelli, pictured right, was one of the seven Christian artists to perform at the Winter Jam in Wichita's Charles Koch Arena. Other big name artists to perform included tobyMac and Brandon Heath.

Nicole Stormann

On February 28, Winter Jam, Christian music’s largest annual tour, came to the Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, featuring artists tobyMac, BarlowGirl, Brandon Heath, New Song, Francesca Battistelli, Stephanie Smith and Pure NRG. Seeing this many big name Christian bands and artists at one time was enough motivation to attend but even more reason was the ticket price. Admission was first come first serve and a mere $10 at the door.

The concert started around 5:30 p.m., so in regular fashion I was there around two. As I arrived I could see that there were already over a hundred people in line waiting for the doors to open. I had expected a large number of people to attend and had heard on the radio that only 1,600 people would be allowed to enter. Through the course of the day the crowd grew substantially and I was concerned that many people would be turned away.

When the clock struck five, the doors opened and I headed inside just in time to get great seats. The stage was positioned so that half of the arena seats were behind it, and, as the minutes ticked away, I saw people filing in behind the stage on the other side of the arena. In minutes, the entire arena was filled. Because so many people showed up, the concert directors opened up seats behind the stage as well.

The music was spectacular. My favorites of the night were BarlowGirl and headliner tobyMac. The three sisters comprising BarlowGirl sang their harmonious rock ballads perfectly while tobyMac and his band Diverse City jammed to a hip-hop, bass induced beat.

It was almost overwhelming to see so many people praising God in one place. There was a prayer for our soldiers in Iraq, testimonies from Winter Jam’s touring pastors, and even a spotlight on an organization called Holt International, an adoption agency for abandoned children overseas. It was truly more than a concert and according to HearItFirst.com, 267,180 people have attended these concerts all across the U.S. and 54,700 people have made decisions to accept Christ.

Which begs the question: Why doesn’t Topeka host Christian concerts like this one? We have the ability with the Kansas Expocentre, and I believe we have a population that is ready to step up for the Christian music industry. Instead, we travel hours away and will continue to travel to see the shows Topeka isn’t hosting. In the end it was a great way to get away for a weekend and hear great music in the process.