Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Winter Jam’s cool tunes ready to heat up Coliseum

Big Christian music concert on Feb. 20


Chris Hupe

Whatzup Features Writer

Published February 13, 2020

One of the biggest Christian events of its kind, Winter Jam has always had as a goal to bring together great music while sharing the message of the Gospel. Its low admission price — just $15 at the door — allows families and youth groups to enjoy a night of top-notch entertainment that serves a greater purpose, without breaking the bank.

Some have called it the Lollapalooza of Christian music.

Winter Jam returns to Fort Wayne’s Allen County War Memorial Coliseum on Feb. 20 with a brand new lineup featuring Crowder, Hillsong Young & Free, Andy Mineo, Building 429, RED, Austin French, and speaker Greg Stier.

In addition to the main show artists, the preshow jam includes up-and-coming acts Riley Cleommons, Ballenger, and Zauntee.

Tremendous growth

The Winter Jam Tour Spectacular started from a single show in 1995 to explode into the genre’s benchmark tour in just a few short years.

At first, NewSong member and founder Eddie Carswell recalled a press release about the event saying that the popularity of worship music is considered a fad.

But that’s not the case anymore. This tour has helped Christian music solidfy its place in the industry as a bonafide genre capable of making waves. Throughout the two plus decades since its inception, the travelling road show has regularly ranked among Pollstar’s top outings.

Although not motivated by profit, “The money still works out fine,” Carswell said. Performers get paid and no debt is incurred. To help, during the show, buckets are passed around the audience to allow for a free will offering, but no one is obligated to give if they don’t feel like it or if they can’t afford more than what they paid for their admission.

“Some people give a dollar or just the change in their pocket,” Carswell added. “Others give $20 or more. Giving is a real Christian-hearted thing and people want to be involved in it. The lineup is amazing and the desire to see Jesus change lives remains our top priority.”

Crowder is wowed

Grammy nominated singer/songwriter David Crowder will headline this year’s show with his band, simply called Crowder. With such recent hits as “Red Letters” and “All My Hope,” Crowder has sold more than three million units and has a regular gig at the Grand Ole Opry, but counts the experience of touring on Winter Jam as one of the highlights of their ministry.

“We can’t wait to get out on Winter Jam 2020,” Crowder said in the press release. “There is nothing like it and 2020 is going to be just insane! Too much goodness in one place.”

In addition to Crowder, Winter Jam 2020’s lineup is extremely diverse in that it showcases several genres of music including hip-hop (Andy Mineo), pop (Building 429), hard rock (RED,) and a singer/songwriter (Austin French).

Mineo spoke about the diversity of the lineup in a recent interview with Whatzup. He stressed the importance of having someone from his genre on the tour.

“Hip hop is the rock n’ roll of our day,” he said. “It’s the world’s biggest music art form and the music of the younger generation.”

Hip hop isn’t for everyone though, which is why Mineo realizes he is just one cog in the machine that is primarily trying to appeal to the younger generations.

“We need to focus on the youth because, like it or not, they are who are coming next,” he said. “To be in the world and not of it, that is a delicate balance and even harder for young minds. It’s difficult for them because they’re not a lot of good role models out there. We want to reach them now, through our music, no matter what genre they like the most, so it can be a better world, a better tomorrow.”

High production values

Mineo, who was a part of the tour in 2016, says he came back for a second round because Winter Jam is special. Although it takes place every year, each show is unique because it offers a chance to reach new people at every stop.

A legitimate arena show with a low admission price, it affords a chance for some people who may not normally be able to attend these types of shows a chance to see one.

“It’s the highest level production and its loaded up with tons of artists,” he said. “It’s like a sample platter of artists from all over the spectrum creatively. I think it’s one of the best tickets out there.”

Seating at Winter Jam is general admission and all tickets are sold at the door, which means you need to get there early to ensure entry into the venue.

However, if you sign up for the tour’s popular Jam Nation membership, you are awarded advance venue entry, among other special perks.

In addition, Winter Jam is introducing a limited number of Jam Nation Ultimate Access passes for 2020. This exclusive pass includes a backstage meet & greet with Crowder, premium reserved Jam Zone seating, and free Jam Nation entry to any other 2020 Winter Jam date, which lasts through the end of March.

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