Thousands flock to James Brown Arena for Winter Jam

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A teenage girl walked to the side of the James Brown Arena stage Thursday and gathered the courage to ask the question.

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Taylor Cooke-Dew, 13, sings along with Jason Roy and his band Building 429 on Thursday night during Winter Jam at James Brown Arena. The event attracted thousands of attendees.  CHRIS THELEN/STAFF
CHRIS THELEN/STAFF
Taylor Cooke-Dew, 13, sings along with Jason Roy and his band Building 429 on Thursday night during Winter Jam at James Brown Arena. The event attracted thousands of attendees.

“Will you sign my Bible?” Taylor Cooke-Dew, 13, shyly asked illusionist Brock Gill.

Taylor’s goal was to get her linen-covered Bible filled with autographs by the end of the night after she saw her favorite bands perform in the Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, the largest Christian music tour in the country.

“It’s just you, Jesus and thousands of your closest brothers and sisters of the Lord watching a great show,” said Taylor, who traveled with her sister from Brunswick, Ga., for the performances.

Thousands of people filled James Brown Arena on Thurs­day evening for Winter Jam’s Augusta concert, which featured 10 musical acts along with Gill and speaker Nick Hall.

Hours before the 7 p.m. start time, a line of fans waiting to buy tickets at the door snaked up Seventh Street and onto Telfair Street.

Fourteen friends from North Augusta High School waited outside the arena with four boxes of pepperoni pizza and sodas, making sure they wouldn’t be like the thousands of people who were turned away from the Atlanta Winter Jam show last month when Philips Arena was filled to capacity.

“We had to make it,” Travis Redd, 15, said. “It’s nice to go to something that can be religious and also be with your friends.”

At 4:30 p.m., a couple of hundred mega-fans gained access to the preshow party, which featured a Q&A with three of the featured bands.

Dara Maclean, Group 1 Crew and Peter Furler stood on stage and answered questions from the audience as Gill moderated. Questions came from the young and old, who asked about the inspiration behind certain songs and what it is like to perform on tour.

Winter Jam is in its 17th year and puts on 58 shows on the East Coast and in the western U.S. Tour pastor Bobby Joiner said 144 people pack into 12 tour buses and four tractor-trailers to put on the tour.

The traveling bands have daily devotionals on the road and try to bring positivity to each of their performances, he said.

In the audience Thursday, Missy Desouza, of Charlotte, N.C., sat with six friends to soak in the music and the message. She said one of her friends had three deaths in her family within four years and felt the music could help her.

“This music touches you,” Desouza said. “It’s really amazing.”

Comments (23) Add comment
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Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/10/12 - 04:26 am
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A crowd of nondrinking,

A crowd of nondrinking, nondopers… not gothic, punk or emo… a counterculture from prevailing American society. I hope there was an adequate police presence in case this crowd got out of hand. They are dangerous.

da labor guy
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da labor guy 02/10/12 - 07:28 am
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The concert was amazing! So

The concert was amazing! So many people, so much love for God!

InChristLove
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InChristLove 02/10/12 - 08:01 am
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Amazing concert last night!

Amazing concert last night! The JBA has approximately 11,000 seating and I don't know how many can fit on the floor in front of the stage but the place was standing room only. I can honestly say I never heard a bad word, never saw a fight or scuffle, and only saw one law enforcement officer (course I'm sure there were more) as we were leaving. Yes, God rocked the house last night!!

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 02/10/12 - 10:42 am
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Isn't it amazing that among

Isn't it amazing that among all faiths and philosophies, it is Christianity that is the most reviled by progressives, the media, the entertainment industry, etc. But, get a large group of Christians together to "occupy" a single location, and there is nothing but joy and excitement; no crime; no problems; no drugs; no arrests; no gangs; no violence.

If this is the fruit of real Christianity, then maybe this is indeed something we need more of in this country. Yet, the prevailing idea is to put down Christianity as antiquated and paint Christians as backward-thinking idiots. Events like Winter Jam prove otherwise.

But, sadly, the backlash against Christianity is to be expected. Jesus himself warned that the world would never accept his teachings and would actually fight against them with hatred. We see it every day. Unfortunately for those who rant against all things Christian, their actions are just affirming and verifying what Jesus taught all along.

ridesbrd
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ridesbrd 02/10/12 - 02:27 pm
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Do you have proof that there

Do you have proof that there was no drugs, fights or alcohol at this concert? If not thats just opinion, I have worked with christian youth groups and was in one as a youth. There was plenty of all that and sex going on, I know people that were there that take xanax, vicodin, paxil, cipro, viagra, and caffeine. Those are drugs too you know....

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 02/10/12 - 02:54 pm
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Ridesbrd, I think the idea of

Ridesbrd, I think the idea of "no drugs" was referring to illegal drugs, not aspirin. It was assumed folks would know that, but we should have been more specific. I would imagine more than a few coca colas were consumed, so yes, there was abundant caffeine among many of the participants.

No one claims Christian (especially Christian youth) are perfect. Point is that if you have a large group of Christians assembled, you don't have the worry about crime and police protection that you'd have if virtually any other group was assembled.

That's all anyone is saying. You seem to be grasping at straws to try and make a point.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/10/12 - 03:01 pm
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Ridesbrd, if you worked with

Ridesbrd, if you worked with crowds at concerts would you agree these Christian youth crowds are better behaved? I'm not saying they are perfect, but they are probably better behave than the Lil Wayne crowd. No?

ridesbrd
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ridesbrd 02/10/12 - 04:00 pm
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@riverman maybe so and maybe

@riverman maybe so and maybe not, the best behaved crowd i have ever worked with is Hippies. No fighting, love, and all they do is thank you at every turn. Just FYI

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/10/12 - 04:06 pm
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Ridesbrd, when did you work

Ridesbrd, when did you work with hippies?

InChristLove
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InChristLove 02/10/12 - 04:13 pm
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ridesbrd, not sure if you

ridesbrd, not sure if you were there last night but I was and I can't positively say there were no drugs or alchohol because with any youth (not all who attended were Christian.....that's the whole point of having these concerts)there are those who may have but none seen. As for fighting, with over 10,000 people in one place there is always the chance that someone with a bad attitude might have caused a verbal confrontation but believe me, if there had been a physical fight, those who look for ways to degrade Christians would have most definitely made it known to all who would read or listen. All I saw was an arena filled with a bunch of souls that were worshiping the presence of an Almighty God. If you can positively point out anything negative that happened last night, please do so, otherwise maybe you should have experience what I and thousands of others experience last night and that was the presence of a mighty Holy Spirit among us. Awesome feeling.

"worked with is Hippies".....to bad their feel good was artifical. Need to try the real thing and compare the two. I already know which one is everlasting.

ridesbrd
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ridesbrd 02/10/12 - 04:11 pm
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Grateful dead tour in the

Grateful dead tour in the early 90's, many summer festivals, and phish shows. I am an EMT so i could pretty much work whatever i wanted.

ridesbrd
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ridesbrd 02/10/12 - 04:14 pm
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Of course this was a good

Of course this was a good loving law abiding crowd, i'm not gonna deny that but the delusion of no drugs or alcohol is insane. Anytime you get a group of 10,000 people together there is gonna be both. I used to go to christan rock concerts and punk shows when i was a kid, yes they were singing about God and love while everyone was drinking and doing recreational drugs. Now I know this event is very different to what i experienced at small christian rock shows when i was a kid. Now you gusy have me so confused i dont even know my point.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/10/12 - 04:16 pm
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Grateful Dead fans weren't

Grateful Dead fans weren't into drugs? Heh.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 02/10/12 - 04:26 pm
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ridesbrd posted "the best

ridesbrd posted "the best behaved crowd i have ever worked with is Hippies. No fighting, love, and all they do is thank you at every turn. "

During the mid-90's there were a series of small "Deadhead Riots" peaking with a large scale riot at the Deer Creek Music Center near Indianapolis in July 1995. The riot was triggered by several gatecrashing incidents and resulted in the fence at the venue being torn down by rioting Deadheads and subsequently the cancellation of the next day's show. The riot received national attention.

Yeah, sure sounds like a peaceful group to me.

bjphysics
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bjphysics 02/10/12 - 04:37 pm
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I think I was at a Grateful

I think I was at a Grateful Dead concert once but I can’t be sure.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 02/10/12 - 04:43 pm
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ridesbrd, I suspect the point

ridesbrd, I suspect the point you were trying to make was (or it appear to be that way) that the excellent behavior of the crowd last night could not have been as well as it was stated.

I believe howcanweknow's comment was spoken in general terms about the lack of all the normal criminal and violent activities associated with "concerts" and from one who actually attended the concert, I would have to agree with howcanweknow's opinion.

No harm in having a different opinion, but it appeared that it was fact, not a view point.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/10/12 - 04:47 pm
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Maybe they were shouting

Maybe they were shouting hallelujah too loud last night?

ridesbrd
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ridesbrd 02/10/12 - 05:07 pm
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@inchristlove how do you know

@inchristlove how do you know that its everlasting? The only thing that is real to me is my interactions with people on this planet and treating everyone with the respect and love they deserve. Praying to some mystical god in the sky is not everlasting, sounds more like fear to me.

ridesbrd
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ridesbrd 02/10/12 - 05:09 pm
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No i guess my point is that

No i guess my point is that peaceful crowds can be found in many different types of music and gatherings. Theres no need to stereotype your event or the lack of police presence because your group is holier than thou.

Riverman1
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Riverman1 02/10/12 - 05:18 pm
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Ridesbrd, LOL....I don't mean

Ridesbrd, LOL....I don't mean to give you a hard time, but for goodness sakes it was a Christian concert. Why try to taint it? It was a news event, a concert. That's no reason to get in this philosophical discussion about religion. The concert goers were peaceful. Why try to say otherwise?

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 02/10/12 - 05:26 pm
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Yeah, no need to grind axes

Yeah, no need to grind axes at an exciting, yet peaceful Winter Jam concert. The event was great, and appears everyone had a great time. No police blotter effects afterward either.

Be happy for it, and celebrate it.

Jake
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Jake 02/10/12 - 07:39 pm
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Maybe next year they can do

Maybe next year they can do this at the TEE center and help fill up Billy's parking garage.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 02/10/12 - 07:56 pm
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"@inchristlove how do you

"@inchristlove how do you know that its everlasting"

Well I could ask you, How do you know it isn't?

If you only believe what is on this planet, then that is your choice. I said I know which one is everlasting because that is the promise my Savior gave me. Never said you have to believe it.

And why would you say "your group is holier than thou"? and who's stereotyping? You are the one that made the negative comment, I only posted a fact I found relating to your hippie group you compared this group to. There were at least 10,000 people there, from all walks of life, from all different religions including some who are non-believers, so your comment appears to be out of spite and has no basis other than your negative attitude towards Christians.

Jake, if attendance continues to increase as it has in the past couple of years, it looks like they may need a large venue and the extra parking would be a big help. Having to park on the side of the road almost to Broad Street and walk back is good for the health but bad on the nerves when you have to parallel park.

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