Around 300,000 people will be attending four of the biggest UK music festivals over August Bank Holiday weekend and Christian volunteers will be on hand to help festival goers have a fun and safe experience.
Leeds, with 85,000 people attending, and Reading, which attracts 105,000 people, will see teams of Festival Angels at Leeds and Street Pastors in Reading.
At Leeds one hundred and seventy Festival Angels will be running a Prayer Cafe and Lost Property with detached teams offering support and assistance across the festival site including serving drinks to security throughout the night. The Prayer Cafe is expecting to serve at least fifty thousand drinks over the five days of the festival.
Paul Blakey MBE is one of the coordinators and says, "Festival Angels are at Leeds Festival for the eleventh year with our amazing teams of volunteers going above and beyond to offer help and support to festival goers to help show that Jesus Loves Festivals. We have discovered at other festivals where our teams have been this year that there is a new interest in spirituality and prayer with many wanting to chat about life and faith with our volunteers. One festival saw two hundred of our Jesus Loves Festivals Gospels requested and distributed. Music festivals are a great opportunity to show faith and love in action amongst those who wouldn't normally engage with church."
Street Pastors in Reading are running two tents at Reading Festival for the ninth year with around one hundred and twenty five volunteers serving refreshments and snacks in marquees open 24 hours throughout the five days. Providing a safe place for festival goers to come if they are feeling overwhelmed, anxious or just in need of a chat. The tents are open to everyone including staff, police and security. There are also Street Pastors patrolling all the campsites throughout the five days working with the zone managers and stewards to keep people safe.
Sally Leonard, Reading Street Pastor Coordinator, comments, "Last year we saw thirty five thousand people come to the two tents. It is an amazing opportunity to share our faith if asked but just to be caring, listening & helping. Many of the festival goers have asked for prayer over the years and we know of at least one person who went home, found a Church and was baptised off the back of being given a wristband with a piece of scripture written on it!! The tents are often called the Church by the festival goers.”
Creamfields, the world's leading dance festival, attracts 80,000 to Daresbury in Cheshire with the local church running We Are Church At Creamfields. The team of over fifty volunteers will be on hand to keep festival goers hydrated by handing out water as well as offering a safe place, prayer, support and Jammy Dodgers in both the camp site and main arena.
Rev. Jane Proudfoot, the coordinator of the team, says "This will be our fourth year at Creamfields and after a break because of Covid we can't wait to be back providing a listening ear for festival-goers and staff alike as part of the welfare wing of the festival. It's a privilege for our ecumenical team of wonderful volunteers to be invited by the organisers to serve the festival by offering a safe space, love and compassion as well as our trademark Jammy Dodgers! Please pray for Creamfields.''
In Upton-upon-Severn the Sunshine Festival will see 30,000 festival-goers supported by a team from Upton Baptist Church. This is the final of several festivals over the summer which have included Festival Angels offering support and help across the town and free drinks and music in the church.
Rev. Amy Wearing, pastor of Upton Baptist Church, comments, "This is the first time Festival Angels have been at the Sunshine Festival, and what's great is that we have been invited by the organisers! We are joining with Imagine Ministries in their Tea Tent to share the good news that Jesus loves Festivals and that Jesus loves you! There is a team of over thirty volunteers over the four days, and we are excited to see what God enables us to do."
For more information visit festivalangels.org.uk