Major music muscle slated for May music festival


DEL MAR, Calif. — When Spirit West Coast heads in to town May 25 to 27 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, its army of Christian musicians will bring 29 Dove Award nominations, five Grammy nominations and one Grammy win. And that's just this year.

Third Day, the 2006 Grammy winners for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album, returns to the Southern California music festival after a year hiatus. They are slated as the headline act on Sunday's closing night.

Also appearing will be three of the five Dove nominees for New Artist of the Year, Aaron Shust, Leeland and Ayiesha Woods. Shust and Leeland each garnered five Dove nods, while Woods claimed two.

Leeland and Woods also competed with Third day in the Best Pop/Contemporary category.

Winners of the Dove Awards will be announced April 25 at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, Tenn.

Other powerhouses appearing at Spirit West Coast will be tobyMac, Newsboys, Stellar Kart, Delirious?, BarlowGirl, Todd Agnew, Seventh Day Slumber, Family Force 5 and Phil Wickham.

Baja builders
In addition to his presence on the stage, Newsboys lead singer Peter Furler will be the guest speaker for the 3rd annual Baja Christian Ministries benefit banquet at the fairgrounds during the festival.

The dinner is planned for May 25. The Newsboys will appear in concert after the dinner.

The band has adopted Baja Christian Ministries and has traveled with different teams to do single-day house builds. The day before the banquet the band and its management team will head to Baja to build a home.

The typical house is built in one week by teams of church volunteers, who raise the $5,500 average cost to construct a small house.

The banquet will begin promptly at 5 p.m., finishing in time for the final music acts of the evening.

The cost is $120, which includes the daily admission fee into the festival.

Proceeds from the banquet will be used for the ongoing housebuilding efforts in the greater Tijuana area.

For more information, contact Cheryl at (909) 627-4339 or visit

National competion
Word Label Group, the Christian Festival Association and Artist Ovation have partnered together to launch a new talent competition that will include performances at 16 summer festivals, including Spirit West Coast.

The trio of organizations is hoping to discover the next generation of Christian musicians.

The contestants will perform before a panel of judges at any one of the 16 festival sites, with one finalist selected at each location.

The finalists will compete in Nashville where the 2007 Artist Ovation winner will earn an artist development agreement and a Word Label Group prize package. The development agreement would include one of the group's labels: Word Records, Fervent Records, Myrrh Records and Word Music Publishing, is a division of Word Entertainment, a Warner/Curb Company.

The company represents a wide range of Christian musicians, including Amy Grant, Point Of Grace, Mark Schultz, BarlowGirl, Big Daddy Weave, Building 429, Nicole C. Mullen and Stellar Kart.

"The sole purpose of this exciting new venture is to identify and elevate a new voice to help bring God's timeless message to the next generation," Bob Thompson, CFA president said in a news release.

The association's 25 member festivals draw more than 1.4 million fans each summer.

For more information, visit

Published, April 2007