By DAVID HUNTER
The Cannon County Ignite Missions and Ministry hosted the second annual Ignite Music Festival on Sept. 17 outdoors at the Arts Center.
The festival included new and returning Christian musicians and motivational speakers in front of a small but inspired crowd.
"We are very excited about this year's event," Ignite Missions and Ministry Board Member Christi Bogle said. "If you came last year and enjoyed the music this year will not disappoint you. We have some returning artists and some new. There will be various musical styles ranging from roots/blues to praise/worship to heavy metal/rap."
Last year, the festival was in November at Dillon Park, but the weather turned cold once the sun went down. So, this time official moved it to September, and earlier in the day. The weather was better, cloudy and warm, but less people showed up,
However, both the artists and the board members agreed, it was not about the number of people who attended instead it was about the ones who did being inspired by the festival through God.
"Certainly we did not have the attendance we anticipated," Bogle said. "However, we still feel the event was a success. We had incredible artists and every performance was fantastic. A fun time was had by all who attended and we will continue the tradition next year although we do not have a date or location to announce at this time. Our goal is to be the hands and feet of Christ; to reach people and change lives. It was great to see and hear from people who attended last year's event. It only takes a spark to get a fire going."
The musical acts this year, included Shonrock, IGN, worship leader Joel Bennett, Leander, The Persuaded, Change Musik, Quan Cole, Mary Howell Band, Root Road, Embassy and Megan Swindler.
Some of them made a return trip, while other acts were performing at the festival for the first time. Regardless, each of them were glad to be performing at this festival. The returnees included The Persuaded, Change Musik, Root Road, Embassy and Swindler.
"We came back, because we wanted to share Jesus with the world," Embassy member Caleb Smith said.
He along with his sister Esther perform a mix of rock, hip-hop, grunge and pop for the duo.
Another returning trio was Root Road, including the brothers John, Anthony and Nathanael Gilkes, in which the group lives in Murfreesboro.
"We are honored and stoked to be back this year, because everybody treated us so well last time," Root Road said.
Change Musik brought back their Christian Rap, which was a big hit with the fans again for the second consecutive year. The duo includes David Manning and Humble Me.
"We love the vision of Ignite, and the freedom of what they do," Manning said. "We are not too far, and we wanted to support the community. We love the event, because it is real pure."
For those rock and medal fans, The Persuaded also came back for another year, which included members, Josh Honea, Trent Russell, Cody Phillips and Joe Vargas.
"We had a lot of fun last year, and everybody seemed to be well receiving of our set," Lead Singer Josh Honea said. "Lives were touched, and we got to pray for some people. We definitely wanted to come back."
Swindler played dual roles during the event, including playing a longer set than last year along with being the Master of Ceremonies for the rest of the show.
"I wanted to be a part of something by using music to help reach God," Swindler said.
Speaking of the females, a newcomer to the event was the pop trio, IGN, which means One Girl Nation. The group includes Lauryn Taylor Bach, Kayli Robinson, and Carmen Justice as they wanted to use their music to help empower women in a positive way.
"There are so many messages being thrown at our generation, especially with social media being a huge thing in our culture today," IGN said. "There are messages of hate and comparison. We bring with our music a message of love, and love overcoming that hate. We encourage girls that they are beautiful, being women we love speaking up against the different insecure women feel. We love that we can be a voice."
Besides the music, Joel Bennett came all the way from a media appearance in LA the night before to spread the message to those who needed it through praise and worship.
"I believe you cannot get to heaven without Jesus," Bennett said. "So, I am going to do the best I can to getting it across to the people in the audience tonight."
There were also tents set up, including a food truck, cotton candy stands, face painting, and a kid zone with things for them to do during the event.
"Our goals are to make an impact in the lives of youth and young adults," Bogle said of the IMM mission. "We plan to continue this tradition annually and are hoping to grow each year. We also have big goals and ideas for the future of the organization outside of the festival."