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What began in 1987 on a frostbitten summer day was celebrated this week in 80-degree weather and with almost 10 times as many people. Kingdom Bound Ministries celebrated the 25th anniversary of its signature event, the Kingdom Bound Music Festival, with four days of live music, speakers, family events and Bible teachings at Darien Lake.
"(The) most rewarding part of running Kingdom Bound and seeing God's faithfulness to the ministry and vision (is) to hear how someone's life has been impacted or changed by a message they heard or a concert they attended during the festival," said Kingdom Bound Ministries Executive Director Donna Russo. "Ministries have been launched as a result of a vision being cast by one of the speakers. We know that there are many stories we will only hear in Heaven, but every time a person takes time to write us and share what God did for them at a festival, it reaffirms why we do this event."
When the first festival took place, about 6,000 people braved the unusually cold weather to praise God and build up the Western New York community. For the 25th edition, somewhere around 50,000 or so wore plenty of sunscreen, drank lots of fluids, and watched Kingdom Bound's biggest lineup to date, with Christian mega-headliners Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns, Jeremy Camp and newsboys; newcomers Brit Nicole, Hello Kelly and newworldson; speakers Jill Kelly, Reggie Dabbs, Bob Lenz and Wes Aarum; and favorites Rebecca St. James, Petra, Alvin Slaughter and Phil Keaggy on one of the park's three stages. (photos by Joshua Maloni)