Underdogs for Jesus

Festival Con Dios

Meet the antithesis of Ozzfest: Festival Con Dios, a place where moshers lift up people who fall and apologize for bumping into you.

Sept. 21’s event was a Christian festival, with bands like Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, OC Supertones and Pax217, accompanied by eight sideline bands. “Mosh pit” and “Christian” seem to contradict each other, but not at Festival Con Dios, where a huge mosh pit formed, crowd surfing was common and a rainbow of neon hair colors were sported—all of this and more in the name of Jesus Christ.

Organizers estimated the crowd at 2,500, less than the 4,000 expected, and suggested many might have stayed home because of the Sept. 11 attacks. Still, it was a good crowd.

Inside the “village,” as the bands liked to call it, there was a skate ramp, a mechanical bull, bungee jumping and a climbing wall. Dominating the huge stage were 100,000 watts of multicolored lights, a rotating drum set and a fog machine.

The Superchicks opened the festival with a scriptural reference to the idea that it is OK to be young and to have fun. That kicked the concert into high gear.

Audio Adrenaline started out with, “When I Say Jesus You Say Christ.” They pulled people on stage if they “were truly crazy.” Audio Adrenaline spoke out on Christian persecution by jokingly making “L” shapes on their foreheads, calling the crowd losers and underdogs, as in Underdogs for Jesus.

People lifted their hands in praise, while rapper T-Bone prodded the women to yell, “Do it, Papi, do it!” to encourage the motorcycle jumper to perform more tricks.

The only real problems were the high prices for beverages combined with the 90-degree temperature in a treeless arena and the lack of water, which later caused the bathrooms to be closed while the tanks were replenished.

As a Christian and a member of the target audience, I found the performances and the amazing spirituality of the punk rock Christian music, combined with hundreds of people jumping up and lifting hands in praise, to be very uplifting and encouraging.

Although booked as a Christian music festival, the performances were not "preachy," and religion was not pressed upon attendees, making the festival enjoyable for all music-lovers. Festival Con Dios provided a casual atmosphere to see the best in Christian entertainment. Combined with great rock music, dancing and other entertainment, Festival Con Dios was a winning combination.