Ashley White is the community content coordinator for the West Central Tribune. Follow her on Twitter @Ashley_WCT.
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WILLMAR - Sonshiners were forced to evacuate the festival grounds Saturday night after a potential tornado cloud was spotted over the city. At around 5:30 p.m., the Sheriff's Reserve patrolling the grounds advised all festival campers to take down their tents because of a possible storm with high winds and hail. Security had been expecting and preparing for a storm all afternoon, according to Sgt. Julie Asmus of the Willmar Police Department. At 6:40 p.m., festival-goers were sent to their cars, the high school or the Civic Center to wait out the storm.
WILLMAR -- High temperatures Friday didn't stop Sonshiners from enjoying the festival to its fullest. The second day of the 29th annual Sonshine music festival offered with a diverse line-up of artists, including concerts from big-name bands Superchick, the O.C. Supertones and the David Crowder Band. Friday ended with a performance by the newsboys, a band that has been representing the Christian music genre for 25 years.
WILLMAR -- From rap music to social networking, young people at Sonshine are finding new, fresh ways to express their Christian faith. Friday, a number of hip hop, heavy metal and rap bands performed on the festival's indoor stages. These bands had Sonshiners headbanging, praying with their fists in the air and "making some noise for Jesus." Tyler Wivstad, 18, from Annandale, rocked out to several of the bands on the Holy Hip Hop Stage yesterday afternoon.
WILLMAR -- The 29th annual Sonshine Festival officially began yesterday with more than 30 bands hitting the stage. The evening ended with concerts by Tenth Avenue North and Casting Crowns, an 11-time Dove Award winner and 2005 Grammy winner for best pop/contemporary gospel album of the year. Some of the festival-goers were there for the first time, others were veterans who keep coming back because they enjoy the music and the atmosphere.
WILLMAR -- When most people camp out at Sonshine, they make sure to bring the essentials: a sleeping bag, sunscreen and plenty of snacks. But when Amanda Krause, 23, and her mother Martha come to camp at the festival, they have to haul along everything from a Hoyer Lift to an oxygen tank to a portable air conditioner. Amanda, from Fergus Falls, has Friedreich's ataxia, a rare neuromuscular disease that causes muscle loss, severe scoliosis, heart failure, hearing and vision loss, slurred speech and sometimes -- as in Amanda's case -- diabetes.
WILLMAR -- Not even heavy bouts of pouring rain could dampen Sonshiners' spirits as they continued to arrive at the festival Wednesday. All morning and afternoon, groups of people showed up at the grounds surrounding the Willmar Civic Center ready to pitch their tents, settle in and enjoy a night of music on the Main Stage. Sonshine kicked off Wednesday evening with a free concert by Remedy Drive and Family Force 5, and the festival officially begins at 9 this morning and continues until late Saturday. Campers, however, could begin showing up as early as Tuesday, and many were finding creat
WILLMAR -- Securing a roof in mid-air with nothing but a safety harness might intimidate some people. But not Will Danielson. For him, it's just another day at Sonshine. The 29th annual Christian music festival won't begin until tonight with a free concert by Remedy Drive and Family Force 5, but volunteers have been working since early Monday morning to prepare for the 20,000 people who will be in town this week for Sonshine. Danielson's job, along with brothers Craig Holden and Lance Holden, was to secure the roof on the Main Stage, where the festival's best-known artists will perform.
WILLMAR -- If the body of Christ could be divided into individual parts, the band Family Force 5 would like to think of themselves as the dancing shoes -- or maybe the booty. The Atlanta-based Christian band is widely popular across the country for its dance-inspiring beats and fun, upbeat lyrics. Their shows promise to be loud, crazy and entertaining, but with a Christian message at the core. Family Force 5 will take the stage around 8:45 this evening at Sonshine, following Remedy Drive.
WILLMAR -- Starting today, an estimated 20,000 people will make their way to Willmar for one of the largest Christian music festivals in the United States. The camping area opens today, and the 29th annual Sonshine Festival will begin Wednesday evening with a free concert by Remedy Drive and Family Force 5.
WILLMAR -- When heading out to the lakes this weekend, it might be best to leave the beer at home, local law enforcement advises. Over the Fourth of July holiday, officers in both Kandiyohi and Meeker counties will be heavily patrolling the lakes for boating while impaired violations, as well as other safety concerns. "Be careful with alcohol consumption," said Kandiyohi County Chief Deputy Randy Kveene.