With the focus squarely on spirituality, Gaylord’s Big Ticket Festival was founded in 2005 by Glen Catt, whose vision was to create a festival that “truly connected with every member of the family.”
Fast-forward almost ten years later, and Big Ticket is still going strong, a multi-genre event that covers bluegrass, pop, rock, rap, and country music, plus a range of other festival diversions. The 2014 version is set to be one of their biggest yet.
MUSIC AND MORE
“Music was just the beginning,” said Drew Spanding, executive director of the festival and President of White Stone Project, which oversees the event.
“Every year, Big Ticket also hosts some of the world’s best speakers to communicate messages of hope. Over the years, we have also had ice skating exhibitions, marathons, illusionists, action sports, and more.”
This year’s schedule includes a big lineup of bands, including headlining rockers Third Day on Saturday, popular CCM artist Chris Tomlin on Friday, and power-popsters Tenth Avenue North on Thursday.
And that’s just the very beginning of the schedule of bands; there are over 30 main stage performers in all, plus an Indie Showcase that will present up-and-coming musicians.
All faith-based artists, these performers help Big Ticket teem with positivity, which Spanding said is part of what makes the festival special.
“The songs are not about the artist, but about something larger than them,” he explained. “This kind of music points you to something so much greater than a person.”
New to the fest this year is something that will expand Big Ticket’s appeal even more - they’re kicking off a country music night called Big Ticket Country on the Wednesday before the fest, with Country Music Award Duo of the Year winners Thompson Square in concert.
Kiefer and Shawna Thompson have appeared on Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel, and have snagged two Grammy nominations in addition to their CMA nod.
They’ll be joined by special guest speaker Nick Vujicic from Australia, who has overcome life without limbs, and now works to inspire others to beat obstacles in their lives.
“Nick is truly one of the most remarkable people in the entire world,” Spanding said enthusiastically. “He gets over 30,000 requests to speak a year, and he’s coming to Northern Michigan!”
FUN FOR EVERYONE
In addition to the musical performers and inspirational speakers, Big Ticket is bringing back plenty of other favorite events, too.
The Giant Inflatables - which include the inflated Mechanical Bull and the Euro-Bungie - are sure to bring lots of laughs, while the Stand Strength Team will demonstrate feats of strength to communicate messages of positivity and motivation.
Food vendors, a special prayer tent, a kids zone, and camping round out the festival fun, in a weekend the whole family can enjoy.
Spanding is looking forward to this year’s event, but he’s also got his eyes set further forward, with plans to continue improving the event year by year.
“We can still grow the festival by 50 percent in our current location,” he said. “I would hope we are fortunate enough to reach a sellout in the next few years.”
The 2014 Big Ticket Festival takes place June 19-21 at the Otsego County Fairgrounds in Gaylord. For tix and a complete schedule, visit bigticketfestival.com; Big Ticket Country tickets (June 18) are sold separately.
BIG TICKET’S 2014 LINEUP:
Tenth Avenue North
Thousand Foot Krutch
And many more!