Major changes at Greenbelt Christian arts festival.

A FAR greater emphasis on direct evangelism, a 'rave praise' special from mainstage and a headlining appearance of a non-Christian rock star are just three of the features at the Greenbelt Festival. Due to be held at Castle Ashby, Northampton on Friday 28th to Monday 31st August the annual Greenbelt arts festival will this year feature its usual cavalcade of the cream of Christian music artists including Scotland's rock stars Runrig, Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn, the Martyn Joseph Band from the UK and indie rock band evangelists the Violet Burning from USA. (A fuller list of those appearing can be found on page 10.)

The fresh emphasis on direct evangelism will be headed by British evangelist Eric Delve and will include Australian pastor and Cross Rhythms columnist John Smith. Said Greenbelt's general manager Martin Smith, "We at Greenbelt feel that an increasing number of those who come have no knowledge of the basics of the faith and the time is therefore right to provide a more directed and less esoteric opportunity for people to hear the Gospel."

The Rave Praise event will take place on Friday night when NOS - the Nine O'clock Service from St. Thomas's, Crooke, Sheffield will be presented from mainstage. A Greenbelt press release proclaimed "The NOS worship has the potential to be awesome, to inspire and to empower all those present. It will be a fantastic way to open the Festival, but remember - this is not a performance - this is worship.

The controversial appearance of Bob Geldof highlights again the continuing Greenbelt policy to give a Greenbelt platform to non-Christian performers. In previous years the Proclaimers and Steve Harley and other non-Christian musicians have appeared at the event.

Speakers at this year's Greenbelt include Jennifer Rees Larcombe, Dave Tomlinson and Nicaraguan priest Gustavo Parajon. 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.