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Newsboys headline Uprise Festival

July 30, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. -- Christian rock fans will get to see and hear nine acts at Saturday's Uprise Festival, including headliner Newsboys with their new lead singer, Michael Tait.

Tait, formerly of DC Talk, became lead singer of Newsboys in March after founding member Peter Furler decided to stop touring regularly with the band, according to Newsboys.com.

Newsboys drummer Duncan Phillips said the moves could improve efficiency and make the band stronger as Furler will keep writing songs for the band. He's already writing for their next pop-rock album.

"I think the best is yet to come for Newsboys," Phillips said during a recent phone interview.

Fans can judge for themselves, or just enjoy, as Tait will sing Saturday with his new band at Uprise Festival at Shippensburg Fairgrounds.

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The contemporary Christian music festival, formerly called Vertical Festival, began in 2004 at the Chambersburg YMCA with about 600 people in the audience, said Scott Brown, the festival's executive producer.

Last year's festival featured 15 bands and drew about 2,500 people to the fairgrounds. Brown is hoping for attendance of 3,500 this year.

This year's lineup includes The Afters, Group 1 Crew, Wavorly, Manic Drive, Phil Wickham, Jonny Diaz and local bands Next to Nothing and Ryan Payne Band. The headliner, Newsboys, is the festival's biggest act yet, said Brown.

Newsboys began in the 1980s in Australia.

"Growing up in Australia, we had no songs that we could call our own or that were much good, so we knew we had to put on a good show," Phillips said. But now they can do both, play their hits and put on a good show.

The band tries to make festival shows as much fun as a tour date, bringing extra lighting and fun stuff, Phillips said.

Phillips said in addition to playing hits like "Shine" and "Breakfast," Newsboys will perform four songs from their latest album, "In the Hands of God," which came out in May. They'll also perform four DC Talk songs, including "Jesus Freak."

Any time a band changes the lead singer, it's a huge transition, but Phillips said the fan reaction to Tait has been mostly positive. The band toured with DC Talk 20 years ago and the two bands have many of the same fans.

Phillips joked about helping fans adjust to the change.

"We spent the last 20 years (telling people) Peter was the bomb and now we've got to try to convince them that we were wrong," he said, laughing.

If you go ...

WHAT: Uprise Festival, formerly Vertical Festival

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 1. Newsboys perform at 8 p.m.

WHERE: Shippensburg Fairgrounds off Fayette Street, Shippensburg, Pa.

COST: $20 in advance; $25 at the gate

CONTACT: For tickets, call 717-491-1955, go to www.itickets.com and search for Uprise Festival, or stop by LifeWay Christian bookstores in Hagerstown or Chambersburg, Pa. For more information, go to www.uprisefest.com.

MORE: Free giveaways include Starbucks coffee, Rita's Water Ice and Turkey Hill ice cream.

Activities and entertainment include inflatables, paintball, a climbing wall, volleyball, karaoke, children's activities, a prayer tent, information about upcoming mission trips, games, lectures, a youth pastor's lounge, speaker Bob Lenz and a skate park for skateboarding, in-line skating and BMX.

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