Spirit West Coast music festival features impressive artist line-up


MONTEREY, Calif. — Fans of Moriah Peters, who was turned down by American Idol because of her Christian lifestyle, will hit the stage during the Aug. 1 to 3 Spirit West Coast festival at Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.

Believed by many to be a rising star in the Christian music scene, Peters wowed guests at last year's festival in Del Mar, Calif. event. She is part of an impressive music line-up, including a healthy mix of industry powerhouses, independent artists and newbies.

Other artists making an appearance include Andrew Schwab and Project 86, Manafest, Press Play and Christian reggae artist Dominic Balli. Al Menconi, an expert in biblical worldview and culture, will speak at the event.

In recent years, the annual festival has rotated between Southern California and Monterey.

"It's very exciting to sense and hear about the enthusiasm people have because they are getting to return to Laguna Seca for this year's festival after missing it last year," said promoter Jon Robberson of Celebration Concerts. "Just like what I hear from the Southern California events we've held, hearing stories of what God has done in lives at Spirit West Coast is rewarding because spiritually changed lives is the purpose for staging the events."

In addition to Peters and Balli, the festival will feature Newsboys, Tenth Avenue North, Jeremy Camp, Audio Adrenaline, The City Harmonic, Matthew West, Building 29, Fireflight, Manafest, Thousand Foot Krutch, For King and Country, Jamie Grace, Rhett Walker Band, Tedashii, Capital Kings, Abandon, Dominic Balli, Project 86, Lybecker, Esterlyn, Manic Drive, Brian Weaver, Hee Sun Lee, Press Play, Curvine, Todd Brown Band, Nicole Croteau and Lakeshore, the latter of which were winners of last year's indie Partner & Play competition at Del Mar.

Although created as a music festival, Spirit West Coast has evolved into an "evangelistic crusade, all-ages summer camp, camp-out retreat and getaway vacation all rolled into one Christ-centered spiritual" event.

The musical acts, for instance, will be complemented with comedians Bob Smiley and Stephen B. In addition to Menconi, the speaker's list includes Reggie Dabbs, Bob Lenz, Reid Saunders, Nick Hall, Andrew Schwab and Austin Powell.

Veggieland, the popular children's ministry area at Spirit West Coast will include appearances by Strongman Jon, Mr. Wiley & Miss Debbie and Otis & Vicki. Children will also be treated to a variety of rides and other entertainment.

Fun in the sun
In keeping with California's active culture, Spirit West Coast is bringing back its sports and action activities, including basketball, giant volleyball, powerball, ultimate Frisbee, boomball and dodge ball. Fee-based recreational activities include inflatable action games, a mechanical bull ride, bungee trampoline and rock-climbing walls. Tickets range from $1 to a full-day pass for $20.

Skating enthusiasts will be able to use the Embassador Skateboards portable skatepark with the Team Riders, a ministry that uses demos and testimonies to witness to others. A paintball vendor will also be on site for this fee-based event.

Even as final touches are under way for Monetery, Robberson and his team are already looking ahead to next year, with an eye toward a new location.

"It is still our intention to present a Spirit West Coast festival in Southern California in 2014, which by now is just 12 months or so away," the promoter said. "Many people from south of the Grapevine are coming north to Monterey this year, and we're trusting people from the north will travel south in 2014. As a ministry we are committed to reach people with the gospel in each region."

Since its inception 17 years ago, Spirit West Coast has presented 23 festivals, eight in Southern California and 15 in Monterey. While hundreds of thousands of people have attended, Robberson said the true indicator of its success cannot be measured by the number of guests.

"It's hard to believe, but over 10,000 people have made first-time salvation commitments or rededications—10,000!" he said. "That is why it is so important that Spirit West Coast continues as an evangelistic ministry. Sure, thousands have a fantastic time of celebrating their faith and worshipping, but lives are changed for eternity—that's what it's all about."

For more information about the festival, including ticket prices and camping accommodations, visit www.spiritwestcoast.org.