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2017-04-21 / Features

Bridge City Music Festival at Miners next Saturday

Day-long Christian music event looks to grow in second year
By Chris Mammenga
HTF Contributor

VIRGINIA – The Bridge City Music Festival will open in Virginia for the second year in a row on Saturday, April 29. Last April, nine acts consisting of mostly local and regional musicians converged on the Miner’s Memorial Arena to perform Christian music ranging in styles from solo acoustic and bluegrass to blues, hip-hop and classic rock. This year, while many of the acts are new, the same principles apply with a wide variety of music intended to give everyone in the family something to enjoy.

This year’s event is longer, filling a full eleven hours of music and entertainment with the sole intent to bring glory to God and give people an opportunity to know Him in a personal way.

Inspired by the Wood City Music Festival in Cloquet, Guy Anderson approached friends and fellow bandmates Chris Mammenga and Gustave Schroeder with the idea of renting the Miner’s Memorial Building and doing something similar. With only three and a half months of planning and with the amazing help of our families and a small group of friends, the first festival came together to attract over 400 people. Local vendors attended as well as musicians from Minneapolis, Duluth, Mora and the Iron Range.

With help from the guys in the headlining group “RENDER” a professional sound and light show accented the many musicians and speakers that filled the afternoon and evening. This year, local sound company AAI, owned and operated by Bob Cap and son Jeremy, will be providing the sound and lighting. Gustave Schroeder and his wife Nicole, both part of the planning committee for Bridge City, and the Embarrass Region Fair Association, along with friends John Swenson Jr. and Dave Alaspa, both of Embarrass, built the stage last year that will also be used this year.

Bridge City is not just about a fun day of music. Our vision is to see people of all denominations and walks of life come together so we can reach out to people. It’s about coming together as a community and making a difference. One way we hope to accomplish this is by adding a free children’s carnival to the festivities. Anyone age 5-12 can attend this fun-filled area of the event, where Dan and Priscilla Treistman will be putting to use their experience running a local outreach to area youth called Kids Club.

Also new this year is Mark Beck of Josiah’s Gift. Mark has an incredible ability to commit entire books of the bible to memory and recite them with passion and intensity. He will be reciting the entire book of Acts from memory throughout the day while performers change over. A worship team made up of several Range church leaders will be leading a time of worship midway through the festival, followed by a message by local pastor Mike Tifft, founder of Second Chance Christian Fellowship and also a member of the planning committee for Bridge City.

Several new musicians and bands will be at the festival this year. Some you may have heard of like local legend Casey Aro, and some that may be new to you like Josiah Charon from the Bemidji area. Josiah is a 15-year-old hip-hop artist whose latest recording, “King Amon’s Son,” is available on Sound Cloud. Our headliner this year is Children 18:3, a Minnesota family group consisting of two brothers and a sister. They have gained some national success over the years and have played on the Range in the past. They are a high-energy Christian punk-style band, and we are so grateful to have them this year.

For more information on the performers, speakers and attractions at this year’s event, go to www.bridgecitymusicfestival. com. There you will find music sharing sites, see the schedule of events and, of course, be able to purchase tickets. Note: Children 12 and under get in free. Advanced tickets are $10 for the entire day, but buy early as they will go up to $15 on the day of the event.

Putting on an event like Bridge City is a huge undertaking both in time and finances. One of our greatest desires is to partner with local and extra-local sponsors in order to bring in more national acts as well as continue to offer local groups a place to spotlight their talents. Our long-term vision is to extend Bridge City’s experience to other cities. To accomplish this we need financial partners willing to invest in seeing this vision become reality. If you, your church or business is interested in being a financial partner with us to see people reached for Christ through the medium of music done with passion and excellence, please contact Guy Anderson, Chris Mammenga or Gustave Schroeder via the contact form on the Bridge City Music Festival webpage.

We are so grateful for those who have donated items for our raffle last year and look forward to those who will help us similarly this year. From the beginning, we partnered with Duluth-based ministry Pure Gospel Network both for our music licensing and our non-profit status. Kevin Reihala, founder of PGN, has been a huge blessing to us and our biggest supporter.

Please check out their online radio ministry at for information on how to make a tax-deductible donation to help them reach people around the world with Christian music and teaching. There is a link to support Bridge City there as well.

Anyone willing to stay and help with tear down would be appreciated. Thank you on behalf of the Bridge City Music Festival.

Chris Mammenga lives in Virginia, MN.

Events schedule

10:30 a.m. Doors Open, Kids’ Carnival opens

10:50 a.m. Welcome and opening

prayer by Pastor Mike Tifft

11 a.m. Mark Beck, Book of Acts

11:10 a.m. Matthew Seipel-Anderson

12 p.m. Mark Beck, Book of Acts,

South kitchen open for Sloppy Joe lunch

12:10 p.m. Casey Aro

1 p.m. Mark Beck, Book of Acts

1:10 p.m. Nathan Thronson

2 p.m. Mark Beck, Book of Acts

2:10 p.m. Josiah Charon

3 p.m. Mark Beck, Book of Acts

3:10 p.m. Tru-Serva

4 p.m. Mark Beck, Book of Acts,

South kitchen closed

4:10 p.m. Iron Range Worship Team

5 p.m. Pastor Mike Tifft Message

5:30 p.m. Mark Beck, Book of Acts,

Kids’ Carnival closes

5:40 p.m. Old Man Down

6:30 p.m. Mark Beck, Book of Acts

6:40 p.m. To Cross an Angel

7:30 p.m. Mark Beck, Book of Acts

7:40 p.m. Fight for the Weekend

8:30 p.m. Mark Beck, Closing remarks

8:40 p.m. Children 18:3

10 p.m. Closing and final prayer

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