Waddell finds purpose of land in En Fuego

Published 1:18 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Each year En Fuego brings top Christian artists to Verbena.

While several people put in long hours to make the event possible, Grace Waddell has a unique connection to the festival.

It all happens on her land.

Grace Waddell has been a part of the En Fuego team since the late 1990s.

“En Fuego was about in its third year when I came along and became involved with it,” Waddell said.

in 2002, Waddell’s involvement became more of a commitment as she offered the use of her land for the outdoor concert.

“They were looking for a place to have it, and to be honest, I always … just knew somewhere along the way God had a plan for the land,” Waddell said.

The first year getting access to the spot was the most challenging aspect of setting up.

“It was already a pasture back there,” Waddell said. “So, really that first year we just had to decide exactly how we were going to arrange, where the stage would be and how to get a road back there. The biggest part was getting a road back there so we could put people back there

The first year was a challenge as there was no access to water or electricity at the site. She said band members had to come up to her house to take showers that year.

She said it took weeks to decide the best place for the stage and all the vendors that first year at the new location. Now, the process only takes a few days.

Waddell initially took an interest in the 78 acres when her father bought the property.

“My dad actually purchased the property when I was about 13 years old … we visited the property. It was all trees. You could get lost walking out there with him,” Waddell said.

She asked her father then and there if he would keep the property until she could buy it from him. He agreed.

Waddell said she was about 33 when she approached her father about buying the land. He sold it to her for a very reasonable price.

“I just felt such a connection to that place,” Waddell said. “I loved it.”

At the time, she wasn’t sure what, but she knew that the land was meant for something special. Today, Waddell will tell you that something special is the opportunity for people to know Jesus.

“Without question, it is the most humbling thing that has ever happened to me because I walk across the land and I realize it’s not mine,” Waddell said. “I tell En Fuego this all the time, this is not mine. This land belongs to God and he let me stay here so we can do this.”

She said she enjoys being a part of the event and ” something where people come to know Christ.”

“God touches people’s lives and makes a difference for forever,” Waddell said.

She said the impact of En Fuego is far reaching as those changed at the music festival go and make a life-changing impact in others’ lives.

Each year holds special memories for Waddell.

“All of them are so special because there are so many people who flash through my mind, and each year has special memories,” She said.

She said this year “we just have such incredible bands.”

“I am just looking forward to the crowds, just the opportunity people have to come to know Jesus,” Waddell said.

This year’s bands include For King and Country, Tenth Avenue North, I Am They, Plumb and Seventh Day Slumber.

Tony Nolan is this year’s featured speaker.

En Fuego will be held Aug. 26. The gates are set to open at noon and is expected to last until 9:30 p.m. For more information, visit enfuegoinfo.com.