Browsing The Northern Cross

Built Upon a Rock Fest tops 1,000 people in second year

By Deacon Kyle Eller
The Northern Cross

It was not the glorious fall evening of last year’s event, but the rain that according to forecasts earlier in the day had seemed all but certain never materialized, as more than 1,000 people turned out to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary to hear Ike Ndolo and Luke Spehar at the second annual Built Upon a Rock Fest.

Boy with guitar
A young music fan at Built Upon a Rock sat near the front row listening to Luke Spehar, holding a guitar of his own. (Deacon Kyle Eller / The Northern Cross)

“God was merciful with the weather, as I knew he would be,” said Marie Mullen, the originator of the free Catholic rock concert. “No rain. It was overcast and a little chilly, which may have prevented some people from coming out. But with over 1,000 in attendance, we were happy with the turnout.”

Luke Spehar and his band, from the Twin Cities, opened the concert with a modern folk style. The headline act, Ike Ndolo, played a more electronic set drawing from his new album that was due to be released two days after the concert.

Both spoke about their families and their faith.

As always with the festival, emceed by Father Ryan Moravitz and Father Richard Kunst, it was about more than music — it was more like a family get-together centered on the faith. That was evident in the new portable confessionals on the grounds this year, which got a lot of use.

“[T]he most joyful experience of the evening for me was when I discovered there was a continuous line for confession for two hours,” Mullen said. “It brought tears to my eyes.”

Mullen said the fans enjoyed the performances and the bands enjoyed “our Minnesota hospitality” and were impressed with the event and venue.

“Also, we didn’t go through many ear plugs this year, which is a sign that the sound level was better for people,” she said.

Another fun new highlight was a T-shirt gun, which saw various dignitaries blasting T-shirt from the stage across the field to the waiting arms of music fans young and old.

The event continues to offer free food, and with the new setup this year, things went much smoother, Mullen said. The move to a Saturday night event seemed to be a better fit for most people. And Mullen said next year, the plan is for Mass at the Cathedral to start an hour earlier, easing travel considerations still further for those who might be coming from a distance and making the event easier on families with young children.

“To minimize waste from the event, we’ll be moving towards using all recyclable materials next year,” she added. “Also, we’ll be offering water from a dispenser, rather than bottles.”

Behind the scenes, it sounds like things went smoothly. “God pulled the perfect people together for jobs that they were naturally gifted at,” Mullen said. “It was really providential how it all came together.”

We’ll keep you posted as next year’s event comes into focus.