OSHKOSH – Lifest attendees can expect not only a star range starring Skillet, Newsboys United and Matt Maher, but also a chance to reunite with other music lovers and music lovers for the first time in nearly two years.
Festival director John Dougherty said the planning for the 2021 event was completely different from the previous 20 years. Still, he said there was something particularly rewarding about seeing him come together after the Christian music festival. canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.
“When it comes to wanting to bring so many people together, obviously we want to be safe,” he said. “But from an entertainment point of view, it will be great to have 25,000 people coming together, worshiping and doing what we think we are called to do.”
The four-day festival takes place Thursday through Sunday at the Sunnyview Expo Center. The lineup includes an impressive array of musical and comedic acts, guest speakers and, new this year, improved cleaning and security protocols, including more space in the main stadium.
While space in front of the main stage was previously tight to increase the energy of the crowd, Dougherty said this year that they opened it up.
“We usually only used about half or a third of the space (in front of the stage), and now it’s 100%,” he said. “If we have a capacity similar to 2019, we will have almost twice as much space for people to expand.”
Winnebago County required all events in 2021 to have a COVID-19 security plan, said Vicky Redlin, program manager at the Sunnyview Expo Center. The promoters had to share this on their website and prepare for the worst case scenarios.
“It might not be that big of a deal, but, as we saw last year, you never know,” Redlin said. “We are ready to open and want people to be careful.”
Dougherty wants attendees to have the space they need to feel safe, but also allow those who feel comfortable being close by to gather in the spotlight and enjoy the shows. .
Masks are encouraged but not required and are available for purchase in the field. Employees and volunteers will be provided with masks if they wish, and participants will often see disinfection and hand washing stations. Unlike in previous years, all sellers will accept card purchases, although cash is still accepted.
“We want to be as safe as possible while allowing people to come together in the freedoms that are granted to us in this country,” he said. “We want people to respect each other’s personal decisions (whether or not to wear masks).”
The cafe, which typically holds 1,200 seats, will seat less than 1,000 this year, and markings outside vendor stations will encourage social distancing. Staff also opened up “pinch points” such as front doors to allow better circulation.
Musicians always offer meetups and greetings, although Dougherty said comfort levels vary. Some will only take larger group photos instead of the usual side-by-side individual photos.
Dougherty thinks the extra planning could be beneficial in the long run – after all, it’s no fun for anyone when over 20,000 people crowd through the doors.
“I’m sure many of these changes will improve the experience for our participants and continue as we look towards 2022,” he said.
Tickets cost $ 72 if purchased online before Wednesday or $ 78 at the door.
To keep things contactless, he said hosts will scan tickets on cellphones where possible and hand people their bracelets to put on themselves before entering the pitch.
Dougherty said those who are still hesitant to attend such a large rally but have already purchased tickets are urged to postpone them until 2022 or receive a refund.
For Faq and to purchase tickets, visit lifest.com.