Thursday, August 14th, 2014
Free Christian music festival in St. Marys this weekend
By William Kincaid
ST. MARYS - On Saturday, a 36-year-old pharmacist moonlighting as a concert promoter and his team of 30 faithful will seek to transform Skip Baughman Stadium into a beacon of hope for the devoted, the lost and anyone else who wants to come to a free Christian music festival.
Keith Jacobs and his fellow organizers have spent months preparing for the fourth edition of "Waynestock - Living for the Rock." They anticipated as many as 5,000 attendees thanks to a growing word of mouth and a lineup of nationally acclaimed and regional touring acts.
Building 429, Rhett Walker Band, Josh Wilson, Love & the Outcome, Lori Triplett, Salah & Shekinah Band and En Gedi are scheduled to perform.
"This year we have a Grammy-nominated group, song-of-the-year winner and a band that will be performing at The Opry with Vince Gill, along with five other bands," Jacobs told the newspaper. "Three of these bands are from the Auglaize-Mercer county area."
Musical styles range from country-blues to rock 'n' roll, he said.
The musicians will share the stage with pastors and charity organizers who will provide testimonies, according to Jacobs.
The ultimate goal of the musical festival, Jacobs said, is outreach - to touch the lives of people in trouble or struggling. It doesn't matter with which, if any, church denomination attendees associate, he said. All are welcome at Skip Baughman Stadium,.
For some, the message of salvation, as conveyed in lyrics or couched in testimony, may resonate during the festival. It may take hold when driving home from the show or five days later at work, Jacobs said.
"We want to start planting the seeds ... it's basically spreading God's love," Jacobs said.
The sense of community that coalesces throughout the day is a key element of the Waynestock experience, according to Jacobs. He recalled last year's event, when at the end of the night, people from Celina, Fort Wayne, Bluffton and other towns joined with members of Bikers for Christ to reflect in prayer.
"That's what it's supposed to be about," he said.
Jacobs, a 1996 St. Marys Memorial High School graduate, pitched the idea of a music festival a few years back at a finance committee meeting of Wayne Street United Methodist Church. The commitee liked the idea and asked Jacobs to spearhead the event.
The first concert took place at the church in July 2011 and featured local bands, drawing around 250 people.
It netted a $1.26 in profits.
Jacobs abandoned the idea of using the event to raise funds for the church, opting to look beyond the walls of the church to give back to charities.
"So we started to change Waynestock to align with our mission: To bring Christ to the people through music, testimony, prayer and giving," the festival website states.
"This is a simple task that God has asked each of us to do, but we often wonder how we will accomplish this. We believe that our concert is a way that we can do this in northwest Ohio."
Later moved to Skip Baughman Stadium to encourage people of all denominations and persuasions to come, the festival found its identity and began to attract more people, last year attracting 3,000.
Organizers in 2013 also stopped charging admission, relying on the support of the community, local businesses and churches.
Revenue generated from concessions and merchandise will be donated to The Daughter Project, a non-profit organization fighting human trafficking in northwest Ohio.
Gates open at 2:30 p.m., with music to begin at 3 p.m.
"Once again the concert is free and we ask people to just bring their lawn chairs and blankets and find a spot to enjoy the show," Jacobs said.
For more information, visit waynestocklivingfortherock.com
• 3 p.m. - En Gedi
• 3:30 p.m. - Lori Triplett
• 4:15 p.m. - Salah and Shekinah Band
• 5 p.m. - About a Mile
• 5:45 p.m. - Love & The Outcome
• 6:45 p.m. - Josh Wilson
• 8 p.m. - Rhett Walker Band
• 9:30 p.m. - Building 429