OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — Christian music festival Lifest began its 25 year celebration in Oshkosh Thursday, bringing Christians together from far and wide for four days of worship.
John Dougherty is the festival's director and says he expects roughly 30,000 people to come each of the festival's four days, to check out about100 acts on seven stages.
He calls Lifest a "party with a purpose," and says seeing such a large crowd singing and worshiping together always makes a big impact on him.
“You look out over 30,000 people all together, all in one space, worshiping, singing along, just being together in community," he said, "it’s just an amazing experience.”
Caitlin MacWilliams is the marketing and content coordinator for the Oshkosh Convention and Visitor's Bureau — also known as Discover Oshkosh. She says the event makes a big impact on the Oshkosh economy as well.
"...It brings in about $5 million in economic impact to the area…." she explained, "there’s over 30 thousand people here each day creating economic impact for restaurants, hotels, local businesses, camp grounds, so it’s a pretty awesome event.”
Among the estimated 30,000 who attended Thursday was Kate Abbe. She drove with a group of friends from Elkhorn to take in this year's festival. She says she's been having a great time enjoying the music, and says worshiping together with so many other Christians has been good for her faith as well.
“Church is in so many ways about community…" said Abbe, "to be able to come and just openly worship, to be able to hear the testimonies of artists on stage that build into conversations that you have with your peers that you're sitting amongst, it’s just a faith builder.”
Lifest is set to continue Friday and Saturday, before concluding Sunday.