It’s official. The FEST 2020 will be different this year.
Instead of about 40,000 people heading on Aug. 9 to the Center for Pastoral Leadership in Wickliffe, FEST organizers invite everyone to “attend” this year’s event – TheFEST@home -- from the comfort of their own homes.
Dozens of people have been working for the past year to plan The FEST 2020. Father Bob Stec, pastor of St. Ambrose Parish in Brunswick, hatched the idea for the FEST two decades ago as a way to inspire and energize teens, young adults and families throughout Northeast Ohio for one day – and beyond. The first event in 2000 welcomed home the diocesan contingent from their trip to Rome for World Youth Day. Called “Home from Rome,” it drew nearly 3,000 people. The FEST, a family-friendly event, has grown steadily since then, attracting huge crowds to the spacious CPL campus.
This year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, it will join countless other events that have been impacted by the health crisis.
“We prayerfully considered the implications of gathering tens of thousands of people together, spoke with our safety partners and sponsors and concluded that the best thing we could do is to not gather in person, since it would be difficult to maintain social distancing and keep everyone safe,” Father Stec said.
FEST organizers have been releasing a series of videos updating followers on the event. The most recent video (click here to view) broke the news that this year’s FEST would be different – an at-home version of the event.
Father Stec told FEST followers that the virtual event will have many of the same features, including music, reflection, witnesses, activities, surprises and more. “And you can do everything from the comfort of your home,” he added, encouraging people to “invite everyone you know.”
“And just like always, we will end with an amazing, uplifting and inspiring Mass so we can all come together. And if there’s ever been a year when we all needed to come together, it’s this year,” Father Stec said. The FEST is a way to reflect on the blessings of God in our lives and to strengthen our bond with the Lord, he noted.
“Given all the challenges of our times, we need God’s message in our lives this year,” Father Stec said. “The FEST 2020 will be a glorious day. It will look different than past FESTs and God willing, it will look different than next year’s.”
The bands that were scheduled to perform this year – For King & Country, Danny Gokey, Tauren Wells and We are Messengers -- agreed to move their performances to next year’s FEST: Aug. 8, 2021. Father Stec encourages everyone to save the date.
FEST organizers are working with the bands and some past FEST artists for special performances at this year’s event. Online details for TheFEST@home are being finalized and will include national and local performers, entertainment, faith-based messaging, resources, ideas for crafts and activities, engaging videos, messages from sponsors and partners, dinner recipes and surprises, they said.
Look for updates and more details at thefest.us.
Organizers sand the plan is to have a FEST 2021 as usual on Aug. 8, but noted that they will continue to work with their safety partners and make good decisions that can ensure everyone’s health, safety and well-being.
Join Father Stec for a Facebook, Instagram and YouTube live Q&A session at 7 p.m. June 2 and ask him your questions about FEST 2020. Submit those questions on the contact form on the FAQ page, then tune in to hear the answers.