The Erie Insurance Arena will be hosting a free Christian-themed concert known as “Rock the Lakes” which is an event by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on Saturday, Sept. 27 and Sunday, Sept. 28.
According to Margaret Dutkowski, a communications spokesperson for the event, the concert on Saturday, is targeting a younger audience, while Sunday is meant to be more family-oriented. Saturday’s performance features artists TobyMac, Red, Flame, Lacey, Nate Feuerstein, Dennis Agajanian and Tommy Coomes Band. Sunday’s performance includes Kari Jobe and Michael W. Smith, among others.
Dutkowski said the event had widespread community support.
“Many members of the community had concerns about the alarming amount of violence and poverty in the city. We hope a message of hope targeting the city’s youth will unite the community and help to treat these issues,” she said. “Because of the community’s concerns, a number of local supporters including churches, local business owners, educators and other figures in the community decided to contact the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association to bring Rock the Lakes here.”
The local religious supporters come from different Christian denominations, such as Father Larry Richards from St. Joseph Bread of Life Church (Catholic), Jack Risner from the Erie First Assembly of God (Pentecostal), and Colby Atkins from Elevate Church (nondenominational).
“It’s very exciting. Bishop Persico has endorsed the event from the beginning and we have had a number of Catholic churches involved in addition to many protestant churches,” Dutkowski said.
The concert’s goal is to deal with things like abandonment, and poverty, but the hope of the supporters is that it will have a positive influence on the high presence of drug use in Erie as well.
“We started this event with the city’s youth in mind, but anybody who feels that they could benefit from the message of hope, were spreading is welcome as well,” Dutkowski said.
The event starts at 6 p.m. Saturday and at 5 p.m. Sunday. The concert is expected to go until 10:00 p.m. Saturday. Seating will be arranged on a first come, first serve basis.