UpLift brings Christian rock back to Vail | VailDaily.com

UpLift brings Christian rock back to Vail

VAIL — UpLift is a God thing, says John David Webster, and if God gives you a thing you'd better do it right.

They did.

"People say Kirsten (his wife) and I started it, but we really believe God started it, and we're along for the ride," Webster said.

In the beginning

Webster, a pastor at Calvary Chapel Vail Valley, was talking to a friend who wanted to talk about creating a gospel music festival in the valley. The idea began to grow, as good ideas do.

UpLift is the first Christian music concert of this scope anyone can remember. Local and regional churches are putting some muscle behind their prayers and spreading the word.

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God smiled on it, and so did everyone involved.

They talked to the folks who run the Gerald Ford Amphitheater and stepped out on faith — which is one of those things people say when they have no idea how they're going to pay for something.

But they did pay for it that first year, and the second.

Camp, Cappa and coming home

Jeremy Camp is headlining again this year.

"God moved and it was awesome!" Camp said of UpLift. "It went better than anyone expected."

Adam Cappa is back. So is Roy Tesh. Jordan Feliz had the No. 1 song in the country earlier this year.

"When these people come here, they feel at home," Webster said.

Webster is opening the show and will debut songs from his new album, "This Fire."

You can sit in the back and hum "Kum By Yah" if you want, but the rest of us are gonna be down front dancing.

Camp has 25 No. 1 singles across all formats, four gold albums, a Grammy nomination, and a collection of those No. 1 hits, "I Still Believe."

"We don't get a lot of concerts that Denver gets. It's such a blessing to have all this talent in our community. There's a great Christian community here. People get together and have a big party. I believe being a Christian is fun, being someone who is forgiven and free."

Vail Valley Cares was the presenting sponsor that first year, and still is. The Gerald Ford Amphitheater will be packed, but tickets are still available.

'This Fire'

Webster's new 10-song album "This Fire" is his first solo work in years, and probably his most vulnerable, he said.

He pours out his heart and follows it from the first track, "Brought Me Out," to the last, "Free To Fly."

Other albums had him asking him where this song would go, or what market would like that song. His mom died a couple years ago and the songs started pouring out of him.

"At this point in my life I'm more interested in reaching people than selling records," he said.

He said he prayed for God to give him a song for his mom who had just died, and "My Song" showed up.

Others took a more earthly route.

"High Hopes" started out as a ballad about a whole bunch of life its ownself, but it was never quite right. Different music started rattling around in his head, so he put his old lyrics into his new music.

In between, some of his own life its ownself happened.

He was rolling through Georgetown heading home and got stopped for speeding. His problems compounded because he had mistakenly put the wrong license plate on his car. Johnny Law took a dim view, and the traffic ticket was momentous.

He had to go to court.

Unlike God, not quite all was forgiven by the judge in Georgetown, but enough to get him out the door toward home with a fine and a stern lecture.

"I love the way it turned out. As long you're alive and breathing, God is not through with you yet. It's not too late, and to walk in that is powerful," Webster said. "It's real life."

Adam Watts produced "This Fire" in Los Angeles, so Webster was back and forth.

In between that, writing and performing music as a pastor at Calvary Chapel Vail Valley, being married to Kirsten and raising kids, he teaches music at The Vail Academy and Vail Christian High School.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

If You Go

What: Uplift, a contemporary Christian music festival

When: Doors open 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4

Where: Ford Amphitheater, Vail

Cost: $40 reserved, $20 general admission

More information: Jeremy Camp is the headliner. For tickets and information, go to http://www.upliftvail.com or take your chances at the gate. A youth party starts at 4 p.m. before the concert.