Matthew West

CHRISTIAN CROSS FESTIVAL headliner Matthew West performs as rain begins to fall Saturday night at Skyview Lake in Norfolk. Weather conditions canceled the performance before West could finish his first song. The weather notwithstanding, festival director Brett Simonsen said he was pleased with the event. 

The Christian Cross Festival would have been perfect this year — if not for the weather.

The 15th annual celebration of faith and fellowship at Skyview Lake in Norfolk took place over the weekend. Christian singer Jordan Feliz drew what event director Brett Simonsen said was the biggest crowd ever for a Friday evening show, but heavy rain and lightning ended Saturday’s activities without a full performance by headliner Matthew West.

“We tried to cut back on the time (for earlier performers) to beat the rain, but we couldn’t do it,” Simonsen said. “He played about one song, and then we had to pull him off.”

It was the first time in the festival’s history that weather has prevented the headliner from performing, but it is not the first time Mother Nature has thrown a monkey wrench into plans for the festival. In 2009, inclement weather led to the festival moving from Skyview Lake to Divots.

This year, Simonsen said they cut short performances by other acts Saturday in hopes to slide West’s show in before the storm moved into the area. West initially was scheduled to take the stage at 9:30 p.m. His performance was moved up to 8:30 p.m. — but that turned out to be about the same time the rain rolled through.

“The storm moved in faster than we thought,” Simonsen said.

West had a prior engagement set for Sunday, so the traditional back-up performance time would not work, either, Simonsen said.

Despite the early ending, Simonsen said he was pleased with how this year’s festival turned out. He was encouraged by the number of volunteers who came out from different organizations to help, as well as the number of people sharing their faith and utilizing the prayer tent.

Simonsen said he hopes to pull in more talented performers like the festival did this year for its 15th anniversary. He expressed gratitude for all of those who support the festival and said it will be up to sponsors and supporters to determine the magnitude of future events.

“We’re faith based as far as our funding goes. We step out in faith with our budget,” he said. “We hope to break even before the next month or so.”

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