A last-minute music festival hosted by St. John’s Lutheran Church brought more than 350 community members together in a socially distanced style Saturday afternoon. 

The St. John’s Fall Music Fest featured two popular Christian music groups, along with a couple of local acts, in an outdoor concert on a grassy soccer field behind the church.

The turnout and event went smoothly despite it being an idea that came to life only a few weeks ago, said the Rev. Randy Rasmussen. Starting Friday evening, volunteers began setting up staging and sound equipment that arrived in a semi-truck from Grand Island.

“Just to turn this around so fast, it was another gift from God,” Rasmussen said. “I used to be an event person; there’s just no way that happens. We were very fortunate we were able to do it.”

The bands I Am They and Cain, both of which have top hits on Christian radio stations, attracted about 350 to 400 people, with some coming from Omaha. Rasmussen said he heard a lot of positive feedback from the community.

“We had a really great day and weather-wise you couldn’t have gotten any better,” Rasmussen said. “The visuals were just great, kids were running around playing; it was really family entertainment. It really did what I was hoping — it gave us something to take our minds off, even for an afternoon, of all the stuff that’s going on in the world.”

St. John’s worked with the local health department to ensure a safe concert during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rasmussen said. Families were socially distanced around the field, and the church set up hand sanitizing and hand washing stations.

There were also multiple food vendors at the event.

Rasmussen said even though the day was long, he credits its success to the many church and community volunteers working the event. Church members will be discussing the possibility of hosting the festival again next year, and Rasmussen said he’s hopeful it might become a tradition.

“I have never been so tired in all my life,” Rasmussen said. “But everyone had a wonderful time, and that’s the nice thing about doing something like this in the community — it's not a denominational thing, it's a Christian thing. Everyone put a tremendous show, and it was incredibly worshipful.”

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