With popular headliner and several improvements, organizers expect successful En Fuego

Published 4:02 pm Friday, August 19, 2011

There are several reasons to think the 15th version of En Fuego could be the biggest and best yet.

The popular David Crowder *Band will headline the event as the group winds down its performing career, and organizers have made changes they think will enhance the experience of those who attend the Christian music festival, to be held on a hillside in Verbena on Aug. 27.

Beginning about 7 p.m. the night before the event, a “praise and prayer” time will be held at the site of the festival, under the first aid tent.

Local band Tower Hill will perform for 15-20 minutes, and then someone will bring a short message. Afterward, En Fuego volunteers will walk the hillside, praying over the site, musicians, vendors and attendees.

“You’ve just got people praying everywhere,” said Rebecca George. “Some sit and pray; some walk and pray. It’s just whatever you feel led to do. This is a good opportunity for those who may be interested but can’t make the event—maybe it’s going to be too hot for them or whatever. We invite them to come pray over the event.”

In past years, counselors have been made available to attendees after a speaker shares a message from the main stage. This year, organizers wanted help to be near at all times during the festival, so a prayer tent will be erected and manned by volunteers.

“That’s going to be available the entire time of the event,” George said. “Maybe a band member shares a testimony—you never know when a student is going to need to talk to somebody. We will also have some professional counselors there if there are things that go beyond our scope because students these days have a lot of things going on in their lives.”

As always, there will be a variety of vendors on hand when festival goers become thirsty or hungry. About 10 outside vendors will set up shop along with four En Fuego vendors.

“We do ask that there be no outside food or outside drinks brought in because vendors give back 10 percent of proceeds to En Fuego,” George said.

Souvenir cups will be available for $5, with refills costing $1 each. The cups were an idea to save people money but also to give people something to take with them from the event, in hopes it keeps En Fuego on their mind throughout the year.

Though En Fuego is a free event, tickets were made available this year that would get attendees in early; 6,000 of the free passes have been processed, leading organizers to believe 2011 will see one of the event’s largest crowds ever.

Gates open to the public at 11 a.m., and music begins at noon and lasts until at least 9 p.m. Some people rush in to grab a spot close to the stage; others are content to plop down a chair farther up the hill.

“You can hear the music from anywhere,” George said. “There’s not a bad seat in the house.”

Volunteers are still needed to help with many aspects of the event. Those interested should visit enfuegoinfo.com and follow the links, or call (205) 516-0467.

David Crowder *Band will be preceded on stage by Sanctus Real, Sidewalk Prophets, Luminate, Sent By Ravens, Haley Morgan Smith, LP, Cleveland, and speaker Travis Crim.

David Crowder *Band has announced its intentions to retire from making music and touring at the end of the year.

Wesley Springer—who has performed at the event previously and is a member of the band Ohio Avenue—will emcee.