Christian music fest rocks Ottawa

Oct 1, 2012 | News

By Keaton Robbins

Aaron Gillespie, the lead singer of The Almost, performs at Rock the River on Saturday night. PHOTO BY KEATON ROBBINS

Rock the River, the Christian rock festival, hit Ottawa over the past weekend.

The non-denominational festival was put on by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada, and admission was free of charge.

Twelve bands played from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday outdoors in the west end’s Brittania Park.

Bands headlining the festival included Toronto’s Thousand Foot Krutch, Flyleaf lead singer Lacey Sturm, and the former Underoath drummer Aaron Gillespie’s band The Almost. Rap Artists Prosper and Flame were the only hip-hop performances at the festival.

Some of the artists had shifted from secular music to faith-based songs, but not all the songs were explicitly Christian worship music.

Rock the River also included a message from Franklin Graham, president of the BGEAC and the son of legendary American evangelist Billy Graham.

Organizers considered the weekend a success, drawing around 18,000 people, mainly young adults.

Ottawa isn’t the first Canadian city to host Rock the River, as Fraser Valley, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Edmonton have all hosted the event previously.

Humber News caught up with Karl Kuin, a pastor at Living Hope in Peterborough, Ontario. Kuin was brought to Rock the River by its organizers to see if a similar concert would be feasible in Toronto.

Here’s Karl Kuin’s interview below:

Rock the River attendee, and Ottawa University student, Victoria Edwards, spoke of the experience:

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Apparently things got a little too rowdy…

Sunday was wet and muddy.

Josh Havens, the lead singer of the Afters loving it with the crowd.