AMERICAN FORK, Utah — LDS musicians and their fans from around the world will gather in American Fork this weekend for the 7th annual LDS Music Fest. 

This is a festival that began small and is growing into greatness.  In 1999, one lonely LDS musician (Brad Thompson of Ontario, Oregon) started an email group in hopes of networking with other LDS musicians that shared gospel values. From that small beginning he has been joined by hundreds from around the world, united by a love of music and the gospel.

The first festival, in August 2000, marked a special effort to get group members together face to face. Each year since then, the beautiful red rock amphitheater near the Mt. Timpanogos Temple has become a cherished destination for those able to make the trip. An annual compilation CD, “LDS Styles,” has also become a group tradition and a kind of audio yearbook charting members’ progress.  The festival marks the release date for each CD, allowing even those who can’t make the trip an opportunity to participate in the excitement and progression.

This year’s festival includes an 8:00am session at the Mt. Timpanogos Temple, potluck lunch at noon, and then two workshops.  At 1:00pm, well known songwriter and NSAI (Nashville Songwriter Assoc. Int.) coordinator Jeannine Lasky will discuss several aspects of the music business along with the pros and cons of being your own publisher. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the music business with credits in radio, television and the big screen. 

At 2:00pm the second workshop will feature efforts from the group on getting music made and heard, and will include five or more random song evaluations by Jeannine.  Her experience with NSAI and the FCMA (Faith Centered Music Association) “Refiner’s Fire” song evaluation team will make these valuable critiques.

After the workshops it will be time to get the music started.  An open microphone session, “Songs in the Round,” will be held from 3:00 until 5:00pm.  All musicians are invited to participate and take turns at the microphone.  While many will step up with years of performance experience, for others this part of the program may mark their first public appearance. With festival attendees and family all joining to become an appreciative audience, the safe and supportive atmosphere gives even the most timid the courage to let their light shine.

Following a short break for dinner and a sound check, the evening showcase will begin at 6:00pm.  Past festivals have included performers of diverse styles from headline artists like Dave Edwards, Stephanie Smith, Maren Ord, and the Sam Payne Project.

The 2006 Showcase will feature rocker Mark Hansen and pop crooner Chris Hartwell from Utah, California vocalist Danielle Ibsen, popular children’s musician Eric Herman and the Invisible Band from Washington (described as a cross between Shel Silverstein and the Beatles), and this year’s headliner, the dynamic acoustic folk duo Border Crossing, from Idaho. 

This FREE concert is part of the American Fork Summer Concert Series and is guaranteed to be a family friendly crowd pleaser for all ages. 

The festival’s final event begins Sunday at 7:00pm.  A fireside of inspirational music will be offered at the LDS chapel located on the same grounds north of the amphitheater.  While music forms a common bond, it is truly a love of the restored gospel that brings these varied musicians together from around the world. The fireside session creates a balance between appreciation for fun and uplifting entertainment with the sacred tradition of inspirational music and worship that is our Latter-day Saint heritage.

The 7th Annual LDS Music Fest is free to attend and all activities are open to the public.  If you have a love of fun, energetic, uplifting, inspirational music and the restored gospel, come join the members of ldsmusicians.com for a wonderful weekend of music.

For more information visit http://www.ldsmusicians.com or email Fest Coordinator Julie Keyser at keyser65@msn.com.