Seven of the 10,000 throng gathered at Capesthorne Hall, Cheshire remember some of their experiences

Big Church Day Out North: Seven festival-goers' eye-witness

Friday, 2nd June

Rob Thompson, accountant 10:23am
I'm standing at the Cross Rhythms stand in the huge Bazaar tent telling people about the forthcoming launch of xRhythms. I'm excited to be here and so are the people I talk to. Despite the overcast/drizzly weather, despite the lowish opening attendance (maybe 3,000 hardy campers are here at the off at this most picturesque of sites), the sense of expectation is tangible.

Tony Cummings, music editor 2.05pm
I'm enjoying my cheese burger as I sit on a bench facing the Illuminate Stage, listening to the NXGN Choir ripping through some full-on gospel numbers. They're pretty good until a switch of lead singers brings to the fore a lady whose pitching is decidedly suspect.

Alexander Bushe, student 3:05pm
I'm walking around the Bazaar amazed by how many Christian organizations there are here. I look at the Oak Hall stand, a Christian expedition company; I look at the stand for Jews For Jesus, an evangelistic organization; I chuckle at an amusing T-shirt available on the Sorted magazine stand; I speak to the man on the Christians For Israel stand about his intriguing trips around Israel and then queue for coffee in the Tearfund-run coffee bar.

Rob Thompson 3:51pm
Faith Child is in full flow on the Illuminate Stage. His most effective flow is when he delivers a rap with no accompanying track. His testimony/preach connects.

Tony Cummings 4.03pm
I've been sitting on the damp grass with a couple of friends from my church listening to Michelle Williams. But now I'm dancing as are most of the throng as we sing that repeated line "When Jesus say yes, nobody can say no!" You could label the groove booming from the Main Stage stacks "Afro-flavoured R&B gospel". But who cares about labels at a time like this? This is music for a Holy Ghost party.

Maxine Cummings, editorial manager 4:45pm
I'm waiting for my husband to finish his interview with Drakeford. It's raining but before it gets too heavy I listen to Jonathan David & Melissa Helser singing songs from their 'Beautiful Surrender' album. They sound pretty good.


Maxine Cummings 6:25pm
I catch just a bit of Switchfoot's set but I'm impressed. Clearly a world class rock band at the top of their game, Jon Foreman has never sounded better and their song "Life Is Short" impacts me. The crowd is growing as I watch.

Alexander Bushe 8:01pm
I'm ravenous, so a visit to the fish and chip stall next to the burrito bar and the Jamaican food stall is in order. I sit munching my cod and chips.

Alexander Bushe 9:00pm
I stand watching Bethel Music in the drizzle. It is getting dark, though I can see a lot of people in the crowd in front of me raising their hands to worship God. Although I am near the back of the crowd the sound is crystal clear and I have an excellent view of the stage and the big screen. To my left I spot Jonathan & Melissa Helser in a small tent. They are watching their friends at Bethel Music. Not just watching, but clearly worshipping as well.

Tony Cummings 9:15pm
I'm finding it hard to worship. I'm a bit far back from the stage and I'm tired. But bit by bit Bethel Music's Jeremy Riddle and then Amanda Cook help me, and thousands more, lift our eyes off festivals and fun and towards the lover of our souls. And as Amanda sits at the piano and, after mentioning the recent Manchester terrorist attack, launches into "You Make Me Brave". I feel God's empowering presence once more.

Saturday 3rd June

Rob Thompson 12:38pm
I stop to watch a bit of Matt Maher. His song "Your Grace Is Enough" and others are worship classics but I'd never realised what a great piano player he is. The jazz licks he delivers are wonderful.

Stuart Townend
Stuart Townend

Marian Thompson, mother 1:53pm
I'm sat watching Stuart Townend on the open air stage by the Tearfund Tea Tent. I'm 78 years old and I've come to Big Church Day Out with my son on a mission to cheer myself up. Stuart has a lovely voice. It's clear and melodic and you can hear the message clearly. I particularly enjoy the rendition of "Promise Of The Ages". Stuart tells a funny story. When he arrived at one church, a couple of people heard his name and their jaws almost dropped to the ground. They were astonished that he's still alive. Most composers of hymns sung in their church have been dead for 200 years!