GRAMMY®-nominated platinum-selling rockers Skillet will return to the famed Winter Jam stage to headline the blockbuster tour's 20th year, it was announced tonight. Reigning as the world's #1 first quarter tour for four consecutive years, NewSong's Winter Jam Tour Spectacular revealed its 2015 line-up and cities during a special event earlier this evening at Nashville's Hard Rock Café.
In addition, the event was webcast by Blue Scout Media's StageHop.com to thousands attending "Winter Jam House Parties" around the world, where fans had a front row seat to the announcement and special performances by select Winter Jam 2015 artists.
Founded and hosted by GRAMMY®-nominated NewSong, the tour will also feature Jeremy Camp, Francesca Battistelli, Building 429, for King & Country, Family Force 5 and evangelist Tony Nolan, while the LifeWay Christian Stores Pre-Jam Party is slated to showcase Blanca, About A Mile and VERIDIA.
"As we enter a landmark year for Winter Jam, we're overwhelmed by God's favor on an event that began as one concert in 1995," said Eddie Carswell, Winter Jam creator and NewSong founding member. "The tour has grown in unimaginable ways, but one thing has remained the same-an unwavering commitment to share the Gospel every night. This year's line-up continues a tradition of excellent music and impacting ministry, and we're especially excited to welcome our friends Skillet back as headliners."
"Skillet is pumped to get back out on tour with Winter Jam," remarked lead singer John Cooper from the band's headline tour across Europe, which is selling out in multiple cities including London, Hamburg and Cologne, Germany and more. "After several tours in Europe over the past year, we're looking forward to heading out on a tour that will keep us in the U.S. all winter and spring; and most importantly will help bring the message of hope in Jesus to people all over the nation! It's gonna rock, so get ready!"
Promoted by Premier Productions and presented by Holt International, the tour-known for its 10 artists for $10 admission-will hit 47 cities from January through March. Winter Jam is slated to visit some of the country's top venues, including Chicago's Allstate Arena; the Toyota Center in Houston; Nashville's Bridgestone Arena; the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh; Ft. Lauderdale, Florida's BB&T Center; and the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, among numerous others. For a complete list of dates and cities, visit jamtour.com.
Next year, three daylong JAM ZONE free family events are slated in conjunction with Winter Jam stops in Atlanta; Birmingham, Alabama; and Lexington, Kentucky. The inaugural JAM ZONE, held in February at Atlanta's World Congress Center, included more than 85 local business and exhibitor booths and drew an estimated 7,500 people.
For the second year in a row, fans can access tour information and exclusive content via the Winter Jam App. With more than 100,000 downloads to date, the app offers interactive venue maps; free Winter Jam radio; giveaways; Jam Nation membership purchases; and a Winter Jam store, among other features. The Winter Jam App can be downloaded at jamtour.com/app.
Sponsors of NewSong's Winter Jam 2015 Tour Spectacular include Pure Flix's "Do You Believe?" film; the University of Mobile; Teen Missions; Pepsi; TheOverflow.com; Camp Electric; Premier Christian Cruises; Xtreme Conferences; Texas TransEastern; and Wayne E. Bailey Produce.
GRAMMY®-nominated and platinum selling rock band Skillet has sold more than 2.5 million units in the U.S., racked up more than 160 million YouTube views and amassed a diehard following whose members number more than five million on Facebook alone. Their 2013 Dove Award-winning release RISE debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Billboard Rock and Christian charts, which led to four consecutive No. 1 radio hits. RISE also gave Skillet their late night television debut on Conan and follows the band's 2009 platinum blockbuster, Awake, which garnered three Billboard Music Awards and spawned four multi format hit singles, including the platinum single "Monster," whose companion video has generated more than 69 million YouTube views. Skillet was the only active rock band to achieve RIAA Platinum Certification in 2012 and will launch Winter Jam following a sold out headline tour across Europe.
Capitol CMG artist Jeremy Camp has established himself with landmark accolades throughout his praised 12-year career. Camp has sold more than four million albums including four RIAA Gold-certified albums. He also has a RIAA Multi-Platinum long-form video. At radio, Camp is recognized as a staple artist with 36 No. 1 radio hits across all formats spending more than 175 weeks at No. 1 at radio in his career. His awards and nominations comprise of a GRAMMY®-nominated project, three American Music Award nominations, four ASCAP Songwriter of the Year awards, an ASCAP Song of the Year award, and five GMA Dove Awards including two-time Male Vocalist of the Year and New Artist of the Year awards. Adding author to his name, Camp penned his first book and autobiography I Still Believe in 2013 (Tyndale). He will release his new studio album in early 2015.
Since her debut in 2008, Francesca Battistelli has earned a GRAMMY® nomination, six Dove Awards (including 2011 "Artist of the Year") and 23 Dove Award nominations. With both a RIAA Certified Gold Album and Single to her credit, 2 Billboard No. 1 albums, and over a million in album sales and nearly 2 million single downloads to date, she is the best-selling new artist in the genre in the past decade. The launch of her third album, If We're Honest, found her making her national morning TV debut this year on ABC's Good Morning America performing her multi-week #1 song, "Write Your Story," just weeks before the album hit the top of the Christian SoundScan chart.
Creators and hosts of the Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, GRAMMY®-nominated Christian music leaders NewSong continue to oversee the groundbreaking tour, now entering its 20th year. In addition, NewSong's storied career boasts 18 albums, 20 #1 Christian radio singles and induction into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, among numerous other achievements. The group's unparalleled 30-year ministry has been highlighted by such defining songs as "Arise, My Love" "The Christmas Shoes" and "The Same God." In partnership with Integrity Music, NewSong recently recorded a live worship album, which is slated to release next year.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo celebrated its 25th annual Boo at the Zoo Halloween event over the last two weekends with plenty of miniature monsters, pint-sized princesses, teeny turtle-ninjas and lots of other cute and creative costumes on hand that added up to 42,494 guests, the second highest Boo at the Zoo attendance total on record!
This year's Boo total represents an increase of almost 19 percent over last year's event. Both Saturdays were considered sell-outs for this year, with Oct. 25 boasting the highest attendance total at 7,356 guests. Boo at the Zoo's attendance record was set in 2008 with 43,566 guests.
New for this year was a glow-in-the-dark dance show that dazzled trick-or-treaters of all ages, along with appearances by numerous superheroes conducting their "Superhero Academy." Returning favorites included the Monster Mash Dance Party, Halloween Hay Maze and live animal show.
Northeast Ohio's most-visited year-round attraction, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is open10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $12.25 per person, $8.25 for kids ages 2 to 11 and free for children younger than 2 and Zoo members. Parking is free. Located at 3900 Wildlife Way, the Zoo is easily accessible from Interstates 71, 90 and 480.
The multiple award-winning feature length documentary, ?The Sax Man," will have a one-time only showing at Malone University on Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. in the Stewart Room of the Randall Campus Center, located on the campus at 2600 Cleveland Avenue N.W. in Canton. The screening will be free and open to the public. The filmmakers will present an opportunity for audience members to participate, if they so choose, in an effort to get the film on Netflix. The showing is a special edition of the University’s Friday night film series in that the filmmaker, Joe Siebert, is a 2008 graduate of Malone. The film will be followed by a Q & A session with Siebert.
Most people who have ever attended an event in Cleveland have encountered iconic Sax Man – aka Maurice Reedus, Jr. -- an aging musician who has been playing on the streets for the past 20 years.
"He’s the guy that everyone knows, but no one really knows,” Siebert said.
Siebert and crew set out to change that. They began to dig deeper into Maurice’s life story, and what they found was the stuff of which great films are made.
“People see the performer,” said Siebert, “But they don’t see the person behind the performer. This film tells that story.”
The Sax Man (the movie) is an emotional journey through one man’s life, beginning with his childhood growing up the son of a Grammy-Award winning musician, through his days performing before stadiums filled with crowds at the height of Motown, to today where he entertains all who will stop and listen to him play on the streets of Cleveland. The film culminates with a concert held at the House of Blues, where Maurice was reunited with his R & B band of former days, Sly, Slick and Wicked, performing together for the first time in 40 years. The film premiered at last year’s Cleveland International Film Festival where it was an award winner and has gone on to accumulate accolades and honors across the country. Cleveland Scene Magazine awarded Siebert as best filmmaker.
Siebert’s most recent effort is to secure the rights to the music that Reedus plays in the film so that it may have a wider release and appear on Netflix. Currently, The Sax Man may only be shown at film festivals or in academic settings.
GRAMMY®-nominated, Dove Award winning “Artist of the Year” and Christian music’s best-selling new artist in over 10 years, Francesca Battistelli, in partnership with Mercy Ministries, recently released her latest music video, “He Knows My Name,” which can be viewed here. The second single from Francesca’s third consecutive No 1 album, If We’re Honest (Fervent Records), “He Knows My Name” was also the most-added song during its first week at radio and is currently #2 at NCA, #3 at AC Monitored, #2 at AC Indicator and #6 at HOT AC/CHR.
The 12-minute long-form music video, directed by Joseph Snyder and produced by Ben Kasica of Skies Fall Media Group, wraps the stories of four Mercy Ministries Graduates around the inspiration found in Battistelli’s ”He Knows My Name.” From drug addiction to an unplanned pregnancy to abuse and suicide attempts, Leslie (24), Alma (31), Shannon (20) and Taylor (19) recount the tragedies and circumstances that nearly robbed them of their young lives and how their experience with Mercy Ministries helped restore them physically, emotionally and spiritually.
You can buy Battistelli's albums at http://buff.ly/1wIJQf2.
The partnership between Francesca and Mercy Ministries, who has provided life-saving residential treatment to young women since 1983, is a natural fit given that Battistelli has tackled issues of self-worth and identity throughout her career and has made strides to continue to uplift listeners with her songs and lyrics, even making light of her own shortcomings. In 2009, her No.1 single, “Free to Be Me,” from her label debut, My Paper Heart, brought to the forefront Battistelli’s own battle with perfectionism. In 2011, the lead single from her sophomore album, Hundred More Years, “This is the Stuff,”once again showcased a transparency within Battistelli’s writing that resonated with audiences, indicated by its #1 position at AC Indicator.
“He Knows My Name” resonates with that same awareness of social pressures and the need for one’s identity to be found in Christ. The video releases on the heels of a rising trend of mental illness in America. On October 10, USA Today ran a special report on the growing rate of suicide within America, stating that nearly 40,000 Americans lose their lives each year to suicide, making it the nation’s 10th leading cause of death and second-leading killer for young people ages 15-34.*
Mercy Ministries fills a counter-cultural gap for some of these potential victims by providing its services free of charge. The message within Francesca’s music, particularly within “He Knows My Name,” bolsters their mission. Nancy Alcorn, founder and President of Mercy Ministries states:"We are so thankful for the partnership we have with Francesca Battistelli and Word Entertainment. I am blown away by the 'He Knows My Name' video and so are all the staff at Mercy! This video captures the essence of Mercy Ministries and shares our graduates’ stories in a beautiful and powerful way. I pray God will touch the hearts of everyone who sees this video, and may it be masses of people globally!”
For Francesca, the connection with the song was instant. “You write the songs you need to hear,” says Battistelli. “This was about being transparent and going deeper spiritually. To me, it’s an anthem. How many of us feel defined by what people say about us? But God calls us by name. His words for us are: chosen, free, forgiven, beautiful, wanted, loved. THAT is the only voice we should be listening to.”
Francesca has been taking that message on the road. During each stop along her current “If We’re Honest Tour” featuring Sanctus Real, Francesca has asked fans to RSVP and then, during the performance of “He Knows My Name,” up to 25 of these fans’ names a night are featured on a large screen echoing the declaration within the song
After the tour concludes its 17-date run on November 2, Francesca will once again be a part of Winter Jam Tour Spectacular. The leading female performer, Battistelli joins label-mates Skillet, Everfound, About a Mile, Veridia, Family Force 5 and for KING & COUNTRY on the massive tour thatPollstar has named the largest tour in the world for Quarter One for four years. This marks the third appearance for Battistelli on Winter Jam.
For more information or to watch the “He Knows My Name” video, visit www.francescamusic.com.
For more information on Mercy Ministries, visit www.mercyministries.com.
For ticketing and scheduling information for Winter Jam, visit www.jamtour.com.
*USA TODAY SPECIAL REPORT, The tragic tide of suicide: 4 an hour, By Gregg Zoroya, 10/9/2014. Available here.
Construction crews began demolition today of a major portion of Cedar Point’s Hotel Breakers. This historic section of the hotel is being torn down to make way for a grand new entrance portal as a part of the two-year renovation project at the property. Among the many changes and upgrades coming to the popular vacation destination will be newly-furnished and remodeled rooms with LCD TV’s, new furniture, bedding and décor, a new Starbucks and the Surf Lounge bar inside the famous rotunda, an outdoor water play area and much more. Originally built in 1905, the hotel’s legendary main entrance has welcomed millions of guests during its 110-year history.
The Columbus Crew announced several honors following its regular-season finale at Crew Stadium on Sunday ahead of the club’s first MLS Cup Playoff berth since 2011. Federico Higuain was announced as the Crew’s 2014 Barbasol Most Valuable Player, capturing the award for a second consecutive season.
FEDERICO HIGUAIN – BARBASOL MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
Higuain was once again masterful in his third season with the Crew, earning the Barbasol Most Valuable Player award for the second time after winning it during his first full season with the club in 2013. The Argentine notched 11 goals and seven assists to tie Ethan Finlay for the team lead in each category. The central attacking midfielder was nominated for the Etihad MLS Player of the Month in March after a month that saw him rack up three goals and two assists in three matches. He won the MLS Player of the Week award in Week 11 after a two-goal, one-assist performance at Portland. He was also nominated for the AT&T Goal of the Week award three times. The Crew held a record of 5-1-3 when Higuain scored and 5-0-1 when he provided an assist.
FEDERICO HIGUAIN AND ETHAN FINLAY – BUDWEISER GOLDEN BOOT
Federico Higuain and Ethan Finlay finished neck-and-neck in the race for the Budweiser Golden Boot award. Each recorded 11 goals for the campaign, and each was also level on the first tiebreaker, assists, with seven.
Higuain's goal-scoring consistency fueled the Argentine to a second consecutive 11-goal campaign for the Crew. His 11 goals moved him into eighth place on the team's all-time goal-scoring list with 27 total, passing Brian Maisonneuve (23) and Alejandro Moreno (20). His goal-scoring exploits this season saw him rack up two multi-goal performances, onMarch 8 at D.C. United and on May 17 at Portland. The playmaker also recorded a three-match goal-scoring streak over the span of July 26 at New England through August 9versus Toronto FC.
Finlay broke out this season to the tune of 11 goals and seven assists, all of which have come over his last 23 appearances. Over that span, no Crew player had more goals or assists. Since his first career goal on May 17, the winger was tied for seventh in League goal scoring. The 2012 MLS SuperDraft First Round choice was one of two Americans under the age of 25 to notch 11 or more goals in MLS this season, joining LA's Gyasi Zardes. The winger also became the sixth player under the age of 25 in Crew history to notch double-digit goals in a single season, joining Pete Marino, Brian McBride, Stern John, Jeff Cunningham and Edson Buddle in this exclusive club.
STEVE CLARK – DEFENDER OF THE YEAR
In the midst of his first season in Black & Gold, Steve Clark quickly ascended to the ranks of one of the best goalkeepers in MLS. The goalkeeper notched eight clean sheets on the year to tie for third in the League, including a stretch of four shutouts in six matches from August 23 versus Houston through September 27 versus Montreal. His 14 wins were tied for fourth in MLS, and his 111 saves ranked in the top three in MLS. In reaching 100 saves, Clark became just the second Crew goalkeeper to hit the century mark over the last 10 years. A key element of the club's defensive unit, no League goalkeeper attempted or completed more passes than Clark.
MATT LAMPSON – OHIOHEALTH HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR
For his work with the Central Ohio Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and his own LampStrong Foundation, Matt Lampson captured the OhioHealth Humanitarian of the Year award for the second straight season. The Crew Homegrown goalkeeper has made it a consistent point to give back after he beat Stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma seven years ago, hosting over 60 LampStrong Heroes after each and every Crew match, home and away, as well as conducting the annual LLS Hero Social at Crew Stadium. He also sponsored a team in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon through the LampStrong Foundation. On the field, Lampson represented the Crew in the inaugural Chipotle Homegrown Game as part of the AT&T All-Star festivities in Portland, holding the Portland Timbers U-23 side off the scoresheet through the match's opening 45 minutes.
STEVE CLARK – KIRK URSO HEART AWARD
Goalkeeper Steve Clark becomes the third player to receive this award after Kirk Urso was posthumously honored in the inaugural year of the special recognition in 2012. Voted by his teammates, Clark was chosen as the player that best exemplified the qualities in a teammate and became “the heart” in the Black & Gold’s locker room. Clark, in his debut season with the Black & Gold, has played every minute of every match, one of just five players in MLS who can make that claim. The goalkeeper has endeared himself to Crewsupporters with his passion and enthusiasm, an attitude that is exemplified in his now traditional "Yes!" chant with the Nordecke after Crew victories.
BEN SWANSON – ADIDAS CREW SOCCER ACADEMY PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Having recently signed a Homegrown Player contract with the club, Ben Swanson is the adidas Crew Soccer Academy Player of the Year. The 17-year-old Grove City native became the ninth Homegrown Player in club history after formally signing his professional contract on October 16 in front of members of the Crew Juniors' Under-9 Gold Boys East squad, the same age with which the midfielder began his Crew Youth career. The longest-tenured member of the Crew Youth program, Swanson has also represented the United States' youth setup on several different occasions, including receiving a starting nod in the championship match of the Vaclav Jezek Tournament this summer against Ukraine, helping the United States U-18 National Team on to a 1-0 win and the tournament title.
Singer-songwriter Debra Black is quickly finding an audience with Christian music fans and churches following the August release of her debut album, God In Every Season. Since the album’s release, Black has kept busy with a broad outreach to churches and an impressive string of media appearances, while the first single, “Be Free,” has been receiving airplay on radio stations coast to coast.
God In Every Season can be ordered here.
Today, NewReleaseTuesday.com will host the world premiere of Black’s new lyric video for the song “You Go Before (‘Tis So Sweet).” A free download of the song will also be available that day via iTickets.com.
Black’s media schedule continues this month with appearances on JUCE TV’s TOP3 (Oct. 28), Good Morning Arkansas (Oct. 30), WREG-TV Memphis’ Live at 9 (Oct. 31), The Marybeth Conley Show (Oct. 31), and upcoming stops at Life Lessons Radio and more. In recent weeks, she’s also appeared on Atlanta Live, Niteline, Friends and Neighbors, Cornerstone Television Network’s REAL LIFE! and Kingdom News.
Produced by Josh Williams, critics are raving about God In Every Season:
“A notable debut” - The Journal of Gospel Music
“An impressive debut effort with an earnest, infectious spiritual hunger that will cause you to look for God in every season and situation.” - RockinGodsHouse.com
“Though this is just her debut album, God in Every Season is a very revealing record. It shows the depth of artistry and potency in Black; and such a dimension is not created by her mere cleverness. Rather, it comes from a soul soaked in the richness of our Father's Word.” - Hallels.com
Based in Atlanta, Black had already been singing and leading worship for more than a decade when she started working on her own music. She founded and pioneered Worship on the Square, a non-profit organization bringing the church body together in city centers to worship God and bring awareness to social causes. Unique, relatable, and possessed of unshakeable faith, Black inspires listeners to take refuge and find trust in God.