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Easterfest hits back in 2012

Christian band Hawk Nelson perform at Easterfest 2012. Photo by Taylor Perren

TENS of thousands of people visited Toowoomba over the Easter long weekend to celebrate Easterfest, the largest Christian event and largest drug and alcohol-free festival in Australia.

Festival director David Schenk said that after shock floods at Easterfest in 2011, this year the event ran smoothly and was a complete success.

"All the challenges that we had with the weather caused last year's event to end in ways that we certainly hadn't anticipated," he said.

"This year however it was just an amazing atmosphere.

"I think that anyone who was at the festival this year would have gone home raving about the overall experience."

In his first year as festival director, Mr Schenk said he has his team to thank for the success of this years' event.

"I actually had one of the most enjoyable and almost relaxing festival weekends that I've had since I first came to work here
back in 2005.

"When you've got a team as amazing as what I've got it's not as hard as what you might think."

The majority of the key team are volunteers from Toowoomba, Brisbane and South-East Queensland.

"They just did such a tremendous job that I really didn't have too much to worry about.

"I was able to take a step back and really breathe in the festival".

Mr Schenk said many attendees noted that this year felt notably different.

"The spiritual atmosphere was really quite different this year," he said.

"There was just an incredible atmosphere and presence of God there over the weekend.

"Our prayer all along as a team was that the tents, lights and famous people, all the infrastructure and all the exciting things would not be a distraction from the message of Easter and what Jesus has done for us.

"They would be a platform to be shared.

"I think we're excited to say that it really seemed like that was the case," said Mr Schenk.

Matt Gees from Wellers Hill Tarragindi Uniting Church couldn't agree more.

He was particularly moved by an Easter Sunday service hosted by the Bremer Brisbane Presbytery in the camping ground.

"The genuineness of the worshippers was obvious and the connection to each other and to God was done with simplicity.

"It was the best Easter Sunday service of worship that I had been to in a long time," he said.

Mr Gees was particularly impressed by Trinity Theological College student Fa Ngaluafe's testimonial about the importance of Easter to her.

"Fa's moving testimony had the rest of the camp in silence.

"Fa had shared how it was an Easter Sunday not much different to this one that she heard God really speak to her.

"It changed her life and her faith," said Mr Gees.

Luke Reynoldson from Forest Lake Uniting Church said that his highlights at Easterfest were listening to his favourite
Christian bands perform live, creating new friendships and the fellowship of thousands of other Christians.

"My favourite parts of Easterfest would defi nitely be the variety of music, from big band jazz to rock, and the number of

"The festival is a place where Christians from around the country can come and remember what God did for us.

"There's definitely something for everyone."

Mr Reynoldson is looking forward to what Easterfest might bring in 2013.

Mr Schenk said despite last year's festival having to end early because of flooding, this year had the highest number of pre-sold tickets.

"We're just really excited that there is that experience of being at Easterfest that seems to draw people back again and again," he said.

Photo : Christian band Hawk Nelson perform at Easterfest 2012. Photo by Taylor Perren