Revelation Generation – What I think Rev Gen Could Improve On – Post 2

In my last post, I gave my praise about Rev Gen.  Each year they have demonstrated they are trying to make this event better and so for this post, here are some things they ought to consider.

1. Are all those tables in the Resource Tent necessary?  Honestly, some of them mock our faith more than help it.  I know it helps offset the costs of the event but is it substantial?  Unless they are serving as an example of what artists like Derek Webb are singing against, I’m fairly certain that if Jesus were to return on Labor Day weekend, He would first stop at this tent, overthrow half these tables and then continue on to that East Gate in Jerusalem that He’s supposed to walk through ;-)

2. I think it’s time to stop the annoying tract givers as soon as you walk into the festival.  Those money tracts are absolutely ridiculous.

3. I love the leader tent, it really is helpful.  But this year the vibe seemed a bit more stingy with the free drinks.  If youth leaders are abusing it and handing out free water, they could just put up a sign that says something like, “In order to provide adequate refreshments to our leaders, please help us by limiting these to our leaders.” or something like that.

Revelation Generation – What I Liked – Post 1

The story of “Revelation Generation” begins quite awkwardly for me.  I had just begun my  second pastorate here and had decided to take the students to this new music festival  with a  name that I wasn’t crazy about.  Long story short – Rev Gen got rained out and  headed to  Philly.  The following year, we attended and the kids loved the Philly Stage and  stayed for  Newsboys.  Last year was exactly the same, kids loved Philly Stage, and the  Newsboys did  the exact same set list, down to Peter telling the same stories. We left    during Breakfast in  Hell to beat the traffic.  After that, I was fairly certain that we would not return (We have a saying in Texas, “That says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again”). How could we return for a fourth year?  Well, we’re glad we did and here’s why.

What I liked about Rev Gen:

1. The excellent line-up.  The Philly stage attracts a number of our students.  The NY Stage has gotten alot better.  One year they had Brian Latrell (I believe he was a Backstreet Boy and I refuse to Google that for any type of confirmation).  Opening bands like the Fold and Seabird were steps in the right direction.  Then headlining bands like Relient K and Switchfoot tell people like me that they are really trying to make this a great event.  There were more tents like the Urban Stage, the Come and Listen Stage (which is a label that gives away free music), and the Nashville Stage which had Bethany Dillon, Jon Foreman, and Derek Webb.  (I really, really liked that they invited Derek and didn’t censor him.  He’s an important prophetic voice in the Church and along with many of my friends, we were grateful he was there).

2. We didn’t do the Friday concert last year but this year, they had Jars of Clay, Matt West, Delirious, and Mercy Me.  For most of us, wanting to hear  Jars do new songs off “The Long Fall Back to Earth” was the reason we came Friday.  The unfortunate thing was we underestimated a couple of things.  Some of our students had just returned to school and so by the time we left, we missed most of the bands.  Two, Jars wasn’t headlining.  Three, Mercy Me was.  And Four, it wasn’t really Jars’ best show.  Not a big crowd yet, not very energetic either.  Then Jars said they lost track of time and were told they had just played their last song.  Frankly, I think the concert organizers should have let them play their last song, it was clearly an accident and they are an established band.  I don’t know the business of putting on concerts but I’m pretty sure Jars has earned enough respect to play one more.  So in the most anti-climatic way, Dan took the blame, apologized for not paying attention to the clock and said something like, “We want to be invited back so we’ll say good-bye here.”  I thought it was pretty classy to submit to the stage manager and end their show the worst way possible.  I know I’m not being complimentary but it was an awkward moment that Jars handled really well and it spoke to me a bit.

3. Unless you go into the merchandise tent, you don’t feel that you are at one of those cheesy Christian concert events.  The production is fantastic from the signs a few miles away directing you how to get this to obscure farm to the numerous workers and volunteers that create a presence of “we know what we are doing so don’t get any ideas.”  They have great signage, very professional looking stages, and enough porta-potites to “facilitate the pending needs” of their own feeding of 5000.

4. Cheap Water.  Bottled water was only a dollar.  I still think water bottles should be allowed in because there are no water fountains but $1 water is a fair deal.  Speaking of concessions, food tickets do help eliminate lines at the actual food booths – nice job.

5. I appreciated the leader tent, (even though they seemed a little more stingy with the water this year).

6. All the workers, volunteers, security measures, demonstrate their professionalism and communicate that they are serious about keeping control of this event.  This is important to me because too many Christian events are put on by well-intentioned churches with not enough expertise or volunteers and people, students especially, find the weak spots and exploit them.  For instance, there is only one way to actually get in.  The perimeter is fenced in very well and monitored.  As a youth pastor, I like this level of safety and security and aside from a few check-ins, our students roam as they please and check in with me every so often so I can make sure they are hydrated and more importantly not hanging out with home-schooled kids from the hyper-fundamentalist church ;-)

7.  Loved going with Tim Nye, Josie, and my youth group. Also loved seeing my friends, Evan Curry, Eric Couch, Charlie Lyons Pardue, KJ Marks, and appreciating seeing Rob Schwinge.

Stay tuned for what I didn’t like.

Revelation Generation

Once again this Labor Day Weekend, we took our youth group to Revelation Generation.  Now their third year doing this, I must say that it’s a fantastic event.  Granted the first year got drowned in a terrible rain storm so I wasn’t really expecting much last year.  However, comparing this year to last year, there was improvement.   They have 3 stages at RevGen:  The Nashville Stage, Philly Stage, and NY Stage.  Nashville’s headliners were Shawn McDonald, Bethany Dillon and Phil Keagy.  Philly had August Burns Red, Devil Wears Prada, the Myriad, Flyleaf, and As I Lay Dying.  Those that performed on NY were Robbie Seay, Skillet, Sixpence, Toby Mac, and Newsboys (among others).

What I liked:

–  that my students were very excited about the Philly stage line-up

–  that they told the crowd how to mosh.  Pick people up immediately when they fall down, no crowd surfing, practice doing moves (instead of just flailing your arms, which I think is a move but anyway).

– that Toby Mac always puts on a  good show.

– the variety of food they had

– the pastor/youth leader tent with water and coffee.  Thanks for taking care of us youth pastors.

– the nice job on the signage

– the big screen next to the stage

– the section for tents and blankets (behind the soundboard).

What I didn’t like:

– the “preferred viewing” section for $10 more.  It’s like first class seating.  Seems so unChristian to reward those who pay more.  Why not give the preferred viewing to the old or short or at least to those in that band’s fan club.  

– the overpriced food.  Though water was only $2, I thought the food was a bit much.

– the fact that Newsboys did the exact same set as last year, with the same stories and even prayers!!!  Peter, you’re so much better then this.  You ought to know if you are the headlining band for the second straight year that you can’t do the same set, with the same jokes, and again the same prayers!!!  One thing is to have the novelty of the spinning sideways drum kit thing but this was a little … dumb.

We left during Breakfast in Hell.  Once again, our students had a great time.  And we’ll probably come back unless it’s a bad lineup.  And if Newsboys are headlining, I’ve already memorized the Isaiah 40 prayer, I’ll recite it on the walk back to the vans.