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The Big Ticket grows bigger

Ross Boissoneau - June 16th, 2008
After bringing in various single musical artists for shows over the years, Glen Catt believed Gaylord was ready for something bigger. He had a vision of a large-scale Christian music festival that would cross musical boundaries and provide inspiration and entertainment for families. Moreover, he thought it would be a way to honor God and evangelize.
Seems he knew what he was doing, as the event, dubbed the Big Ticket Festival, brought in an average of almost 5,000 people for each day of the event. That was two years ago, and this year, organizers think they can double that number.
“It’s continued to grow,” said Catt, who may be better known for heading the Glen’s Markets chain. “We have 62 musical acts, three major stages, plus areas for kids and sports. It really spreads people out.”
“They come from all over,” added Drew Spanding, another of the organizers. “About 40-50% come from Northern Michigan, with the rest coming from Detroit, West Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, even Canada.”

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Spanding said they try to add something new each year. This year, in addition to the Main Stage, Rock Stage, and Worship Stage, there is an Indie Stage. Performances are staggered throughout the day, with shows overlapping.
In addition to the shows onstage, the kids’ area includes “meet and greet” sessions with BibleMan and the characters from VeggieTales as well as performances by pureNRG and Mission 6. The sports area includes BMX bikes, motocross, skateboard, and other extreme sports demonstrations. “Students can skate with the stars – they’ll give clinics,” said Spanding.
Spanding also points to the World Vision Tent as a new feature he believes will have a great impact on festival-goers. “It’s a 20-by-80 tent where you can take a virtual tour through an African village,” he said. Spanding added that one of the goals of World Vision is to encourage attendees to sponsor a child in a third-world country.
But the main focus of the event is, as its motto says, to Live God Loud. Among the more notable musical acts are BarlowGirl, tobyMac, Newsboys, pureNRG, and Fireflight. Stylistically, the performers range from metal to pop to rock to folk. But the commonality is the artists’ commitment to the messages of Christianity, though that message varies from act to act, just as it does from denomination to denomination.
The event takes place at the Otsego County Fairgrounds. There will be camping on-site as well as various locations nearby, and there are numerous hotels and motels in the area. Ticket prices are $37 for adults, $13 for juniors (Ages 6-11), while children five and under are free. Two-day passes are $65 for adults and $20 for juniors. Prices are also available for groups. These ticket prices will increase on June 15.
For tickets or additional information, go to bigticketfestival.com.


 
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