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With hopeful hearts: DL welcomes annual Hope Fest music festival to the area

Hope Fest attendees celebrate the festival with arms raised. (Brian Basham/Tribune)1 / 3
Thousands of people are expected to go through the gates for the annual event, which takes place in Detroit Lakes. (Paula Quam/Tribune)2 / 3
Hope fest is a Christian music festival that runs every year just outside of Detroit Lakes. The festival started Thursday and runs through Sunday. (Paula Quam/Tribune)3 / 3

For the seventh year in a row, The Refuge Christian Outreach Center is bringing three days of faith-filled music to Detroit Lakes.

Hope Fest 2017 is scheduled to take place from June 23 to June 25, featuring a full lineup of Christian-based artists--from singer-songwriter Colton Dixon, who concert-goers might recognize from his time on American Idol, to the all-female contemporary band Point of Grace. Other acts include Disciple, Kent Dudley, Adelaide, Auburn, Rapture Ruckus, J.J. Weeks, John Waller, Jamie Grace and Zach Williams.

"The thing that separates us from other things that are going on is that it's a non-alcoholic and drug-free event, so it's geared toward younger people," said Mel Manning, president of The Refuge. "We bring in bands that the youth will enjoy because we want something that's good and clean, but there's also a variety of music this year."

The Refuge is, once again, pairing with Rising Entertainment (a Christian concert promotion company that began about 15 years ago) on this family-friendly event.

"We're focusing on trying to make this an amazing event that we can continue to do every year and make into a family vacation in the summertime," said Aleisa Jopp, who works as an assistant manager at The Refuge and is assisting in event coordination. "We want to get the word out that there are a lot of hurting people in our community and that this is a safe place to go to for so many reasons."

In addition to three days of live music, concert-goers will also have the opportunity to worship and participate in various activities. Face-painting, hayrides, a petting zoo, inflatable games and various arts and crafts projects will be available free of charge, and a tent will be set up throughout the festival for guests to use for reflection and prayer.

"Once you're in the gate, everything is free except the food concessions," Jopp said. "We want this event to continue, simply because it's a very positive, family event that anybody can go to. We're trying to bring more families in and make it more affordable."

In another attempt to make the event more affordable, a program called "Reach One" has been implemented this year. The Reach One campaign provides those purchasing a large number of tickets to receive an equal number of tickets for free. If an individual buys 10 or more tickets through a special Reach One link on the webpage, The Refuge and Rising Entertainment will match that purchase with an equal number of free tickets.

"We're hoping that church groups take advantage of the promotion and help to get youth groups here," Jopp explained. "Or, if you wanted, you could purchase 10 tickets or 20 tickets and give the 10 or 20 free tickets to somebody who needed them."

Tickets have been on sale since December and, although discounted ticket prices only ran through June 2, full-price tickets will be available throughout the event and Reach One promotional tickets will cost $49 up until the event.

At the event, tickets for the full weekend cost $75 for adults (age 14 and older) and $39 for youth (ages six-13), while children age five and under are able to attend the event for free. Tickets for a single day cost $59 for adults and $39 for youth.

On-site camping is also available for an additional cost, depending on the size of campsite needed and the type of camping (RV and tent prices differ).

Overall, though, the point of Hope Fest is to spread hope in the community and to surrounding communities.

"We're trying to create an environment that's friendly to families and people who want to serve the Lord, because we want to minister the gospel of Jesus Christ to the community," Manning said. "It's about singing His music and sending out a positive message because there's so much negativity in the world that it's literally destroying people. We want to bring the community together under the love of the Lord and we want to work with each other, love each other and become strong."