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To camp or not to camp?

02 November 2006

The Church Times guide to this summer’s Christian festivals, compiled by Ian Wedd


26-29 May

Venue: Felden Lodge, Hemel Hempstead, nearest station Hemel Hempstead.

Size: 1500, non-denominational.

Content: The programme is aimed at young people aged 13-25 and features music, teaching, sport, activities, and fellowship. Theme this year: "Passion". Artists include Delirious?, Andy Hunter (DJ), Onehundredhours.

Accommodation: Festivalgoers will need to bring (or share) a tent. Disabled access. No alcohol allowed on site.

Booking: Evening, day or weekend passes range from £8 to £67. Details from 01235 51042 or www.firm-foundations.org.uk.

Two essentials: "A readiness to be challenged, and a readiness to be active and enjoy a full programme."


15 July to 4 August

Venue: Keswick Convention Centre. Nearest station Penrith, local buses from there.

Size: 12,000 over three weeks, non-denominational.

Content: Celebration, worship, seminars, drama, children’s and youth programme. Theme: "The Church in the Power of the Spirit". Main speakers: week one, Chris Wright; week two, Ajith Fernando; week three, Vaughan Roberts. Additional speakers include Jonathan Lamb, Derek Tidball, Patrick Dixon. During week two (22-28 July), Causeway Prospects runs a programme of celebration services for those with learning disabilities (details on this from 0118 951 6978 or www. prospects.org.uk).

Accommodation: None on site, but plenty available locally (B&Bs, campsites, hotels, etc). Early booking is advisable (via Keswick Tourist Board, www.keswick.org). Site is fully accessible for disabled, speakers are signed, and a loop system is available.

Booking: The convention is free to all, but donations are welcome. Thus there is no need to book, but it is helpful to indicate if you are planning to attend (via www.keswick ministries.org).

Two essentials: "A Bible and an umbrella (or sunscreen)."


SOUTH: 22-28 July, 30 July to 5 August (full)

NORTH: 22-28 July

Venue: South: Royal Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, nearest rail Castle Cary or Temple Cloud. North: Newark and Nottinghamshire County Showground, nearest station Newark.

Size: 28,000 over three weeks, non-denominational.

Content: Seminars, worship, and children’s and youth events. Theme this year: "Heaven-Bound". Speakers include Derek Morphew, Kenny Borthwick (South), Don Williams (North).

Accommodation: A mix of camping and caravans. No pets allowed (except guide or hearing dogs), full disabled access, alcohol allowed.

Booking: Adult price is £121 (online), £128 (postal). Day passes £25 in advance (£30 on-site) for adults aged14 . Each week features one half-day ticket at half price. For full range of ticket prices and to book: 020 8567 6717 or www.newwine.org.

Two essentials: "A bottle of wine and a corkscrew."

 FAITH ’06

29 July to 5 August

Venue: East of England Showground, Peterborough, nearest station Peterborough.

Size: 5000, non-denominational.

Content: Programme includes talks, seminars, worship. Full range of events for children and youth. Foreign-language translation available (pre-booking required). Speakers to be confirmed.

Accommodation: camping and caravans. Disabled access. No pets (except guide or hearing dogs).

Booking: Adults £90 to end of May, £95 from 1 June. Adult day pass £13. Full range of ticket prices from 01293 851883 or www.kingdom faith.com.

Two essentials: "Openness to God and something soft to sleep on."


7-11 August

Venue: The Pavilion, Llandrindod Wells, Powys, Wales.

Size: 300, non-denominational.

Content: There’s no particular theme to the week. Speakers include Peter Maiden, William Smylie, Robert Thomas. Children’s meetings in the morning, but no youth programme. Services are conducted in English, not Welsh.

Accommodation: Guest houses and camping available locally. Full disabled access, loop system, no signers.

Booking: No fee, but donations welcome. No need to book. Further information at www.keswickinwales.org . uk or 01597 822700.

Two essentials: "A Bible and some walking shoes. It’s a beautiful area of mid-Wales."


9-13 August and 14-18 August Momentum and Passion For Your Name 19-23 August

Venue: Royal Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet.

Size: 10,000 for Soul Survivor weeks, non-denominational.

Content: Soul Survivor is specifically aimed at teenagers and includes speakers, worship, teaching, ministry, after-hours gigs and workshops, cafés, skatepark, sports, cinema, and a kids’ programme. Theme: "In Spirit and in Truth". Speakers include Andy Hawthorne (The Message Trust, Manchester), Dave Westlake (Tearfund and Soul Action), J. John (week one), Brother Andrew (week two). Worship leaders include Tim Hughes, Lex Bordie, Ben Cantelon. Momentum runs a similar programme, but is aimed at students and 20-somethings. Passion For Your Name caters for worship-leaders.

Accommodation: Tents and caravans, some off-site accommodation. Under-18s must be accompanied by an adult. No alcohol on site. No animals except guide or hearing dogs. Disabled access. Interpretation for the deaf is available during Soul Survivor week one.

Booking: Ticket price £80 for both on- and off-site stays. Day pass (subject to availability) £24, two-day £43, three-day £62. Details from www.soulsurvivor.co.uk or 0870 054 3331.

Two essentials: "Water pistol and some chocolate."


12-16 August

Venue: Norfolk Showground, Norwich, nearest station Norwich, local buses to site.

Size: 3000, non-denominational.

Content: Speakers include John and Anne Coles, Simon Ponsonby, Rachel and Gordon Hickson, Dave Campbell, Dave Smith. Theme: "Belonging". Worship: Lynn Swart, John Watts. Programme for all ages. Particular services for adults with learning difficulties on 14 August. Leaders’ Day on 15 August.

Accommodation: camping and caravanning. No pets (except guide or hearing dogs). Full disabled access. No alcohol allowed on site.

Booking: Ticket prices: adult £85 (plus £30 for adult camping pitch); adult day passes £20. Concessions on day tickets are available for people on low incomes, but must be applied for in advance. Full range of ticket prices from 01760 441441 or www.living-water.org.uk.

Two essentials: "A radio, as we have an on-site station, and some friends."


12-17 August

Venue: Kent County Showground, Detling, nearest station Maidstone.

Size: 7000, non-denominational.

Content: A mix of seminars, worship, children’s and youth events. Theme: "As it is in Heaven". Speakers include John Paul Jackson, R. T. Kendall, Arnold Muwonge, Catherine Brown. Featured worship leaders include Russ Hughes, Helen Gallagher. Youth programme run by Steve Legg; children’s work by Ishmael.

Accommodation: Camping on-site. Site is suitable for those with disabilities; signers are available. Alcohol is permitted.

Booking: Price £110 adult. Day pass £20 adult, after 4 p.m. £10. Concessions for people on benefits, 60 , students. For full range of ticket prices and to book: 0870 901 7777 or www.detling.com.

Two essentials: "A sleeping bag and a Bible."


25-28 August

Venue: Cheltenham Racecourse, shuttle bus to Cheltenham station.

Size: 20,000, non-denominational.

Content: Events include seminars, worship, theatre, comedy, children’s and youth programmes, music, film, dance, art. This year’s theme: "Redemption Songs" . Music includes Daniel Bedingfield, T-Bone Burnett, The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain. Speakers include Jim Wallis, Walter Wink, Clive Stafford Smith, Dave Andrews, Rudo Kwaramba. Comedy includes Paul Kerensa, Jude Simpson. Children: Big Wooden Horse Theatre Company.

Accommodation: Camping and caravans, as well as limited off-site accommodation. No pets (except guide or listening dogs). Full disabled access and signing is available.

Booking: Tickets already on sale; buy before 31 July and qualify for a £5 discount on the normal £80 adult price. Day passes range from £14 to £27, and £70 family (2 2). Evening only: £15. Discount day or evening tickets to locals with a GL5 postcode. Other concessions available (including for church leaders). Full range of ticket prices and booking: www.greenbelt.org.uk or 020 7374 2760.

Two essentials: "A cagoule (which you won’t need to wear); Red Bull or Pro Plus, as our programming goes on until 2 a.m. (and some all night)."


25-29 August

Venue: Lincolnshire Showground, Lincoln, short taxi ride from Lincoln station.

Size: 10,000, non-denominational.

Content: Speakers, worship, children’s work, youth work and seminars. This year’s theme is "Forward". Worship leaders include Reuben Morgan (Hillsong), Matt Redman. Speakers include Dale Gentry (US), and Rambabu (India).

Accommodation: Most people take their pick of either camping and caravaning, but some off-site residential accommodation available. No alcohol is allowed on site, neither are pets (except guide or hearing dogs).

Booking: Prices for camping pitch and event: £75 adult. Event only: £55 adult. Day pass: £16 adult. For full range of ticket prices and to book: 01522 533535 or www.grapevine celebration.org.uk.

Two essentials: "Bring warm clothing and a Bible."


31 March to 15 April

Venue: Minehead Butlins, nearest station Taunton, shuttle bus to site. Skegness Butlins, nearest station Skegness.

Size: 55,000 over both venues and all weeks. Non-denominational.

Content: seminars, worship, talks, music, entertainment, comedy, theatre, full children’s and youth programme. Theme: "One God, One People". Speakers will include Pete Broadbent, Steve Chalke, Jeff Lucus, Ruth Dearnley, Ian Coffey, Rachael Orrell.

Accommodation: Butlins chalets, touring caravans, no camping. No pets (except guide or hearing dogs), alcohol permitted. Full disabled access.

Booking: Prices to be announced. Day passes and concessions available. Booking opens 8 a.m. on 7 June (Minehead) and 14 June (Skegness). To book fewer than 20 people, call 0870 190 0192. For group bookings of 20 , call 0870 190 0193 (Minehead) or 0870 190 0194 (Skegness). Details from www.springharvest.org or 01825 769000.

Two essentials: "A Bible and a coat."


Varied programme: above: the Revd Steve Chalke at Spring Harvest; below: an evening celebration at New Wine


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