Soulfest writeup

I'm back from Soulfest, and I have to say I had a wonderful time. I got to spend two days wandering from venue to venue, looking at beautiful mountains, hearing good presentations and music -- all this, and they gave me free food and a parking pass!

Soulfest has something like 50 workshops running in the afternoons (bands are also onstage bewteen about noon and midnight in 5 locations.) The ad the Soulfest management graciously put in the program for my U2 workshop drew a good crowd: we had about 90 in a room that was set up for about 70, with people on the floor and trailing out into the hall. Plus (the room was on an outside glassed-in corner) a full table of people listening at one set of windows from outside, and a group of perhaps 15 who had been unable to get in the main entrance and, undeterred, stole folding chairs from some other room and set up a satellite area directly behind me on the outdoor walkway. I had invited a DATA volunteer to come by at the end and collect signatures for the ONE Campaign, and she gamely climbed in the window!

We basically spent the session getting the song "When I Look at the World" talking to a selection of Bible verses, and I said a few words about the book. If there were any hardcore U2 fans there, they did nothing to make themselves known. However, several people were clearly gratified to see U2's work getting approbation and comment at a Christian music festival, and afterwards some came up with "It's about time" remarks. I met one college student who asked me to come with him to the bookstore tent to sign a copy of Get Up Off Your Knees, and along the way he told me he was on leave from the military. He is currently stationed in Iraq and plans to use the Bible study in the back with the small group he leads there.

The DATA roundtable on Saturday morning was also great. Hosted by Chris who was responsible for the DATA presence at Soulfest, it included Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay, a guy from World Vision whose name I didn't get (he has been working on African issues since the 80s and was Bono's host when he was there after Live Aid), and Dan Russell who is the founder of Soulfest.

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