Each year a very special event takes place in Oswestry, Shropshire. Tony Cummings reports on Meltdown.

Events concerned with Christian music come in all shapes and sizes but few have hewn out for themselves such a unique identity as Meltdown. Now in its 4th year the event defies all attempts at efficient pigeonholing. Its rallying call is a passion for Christian metal and/or alternative rock though what precisely draws the 100 plus leathered and bestudded throng to the Quinta Centre in Oswestry each year is hard to define beside the obvious...God. The weekend event, held this year on 9th to 12th November, has three main elements. Element one is a Saturday night concert, last year featuring American guitar virtuoso Jeff Sheetz, Canadian expatriate Johnny Markin and Midlands heavy rockers A.N.D. Element two is workshops, with afternoon teach-ins for guitar, bass, drums and vocals and a miscellaneous communication skills teach-in for those with no inclination to play music other than on the stereo. And element three, a series of seminars/ministry times which go deeper, much deeper, than the bland superficiality of some Bible week seminars.

Dave Williams who, with the help of a committee which includes famed graphic designer Rodney Matthews, organises Meltdown, is in no doubt that the seminars/ministry times are the event's raison d'etre. "Anyone who was present at the '94 Meltdown can give testimony to an almost palpable experience of the Lord during the events. We choose our seminar ministers very, very carefully. Last year we were privileged to have Les Carlsen come over from the States to minister. Les is the ex-lead singer of Bloodgood and his teaching was exceptional. In past years we've had other top Bible expositors experienced in the metal/alternative rock counterculture such as Glenn Kaiser of Rez and Michael Bloodgood. We always try and bring over a top American."

This year is no exception. Lined up to take seminars and workshops at Meltdown '95 are Tony Palacios, the guitarist with Guardian, and Tim Buschog, the vocalist with Love War. Bands set to play at Meltdown '95's concert are Gethsemane Rose, No Second Chance and After The Fall. The concert at Meltdown is much more than an exercise in entertainment for Christians. Dave Williams: "Last year we pioneered a plan whereby the few days prior to Meltdown we sent a schools team into a secondary school in Oswestry taking lessons and assemblies. Then on the Saturday, rather than have a concert at Quinta, we bussed all the Meltdown folk to a local school to put on a very evangelistic concert there. The system worked really well, God really moved and 12 young people came forward to accept Christ. This year we'll be doing a similar thing in another school in Oswestry. We now have the support of all the churches in Oswestry which is a real breakthrough."

This then is Meltdown, a unique event which down the years has been a rallying point and a means of spiritual nurture to hundreds of young metal and alternative rock enthusiasts. Long may it continue. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.