Crowder at 40 fest

40 Fest; WJTL Radio celebrates 40 Years

Christian radio station “WJTL” out of Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Lebanon and most of Central Pennsylvania just celebrated their 40th year of ministry by holding the music festival “40 Fest.” The lineup consisted of Behold The Beloved, Leanna Crawford, Rhett Walker, Cochren & Co, Danny Gokey, and Crowder. (Make sure you scroll to the bottom to see a link to all the photos from the festival!)

40 fest took place at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm in Ronks, PA on Saturday, May 18th, 2024. The gates opened at 12 pm and the music started by 3 pm.

Behold The Beloved Starts Us Off

I drove 4.5 hours from my area in VA and arrived just in time for the opener and PA locals, Behold The Beloved to start. It had been raining all morning; however, it was supposed to stop in the afternoon. It did end up raining during their set, but they performed through it like champs! I loved hearing their newest single “Toxic Lullabies” live. (The single hit #1 on the CMW Christian Rock Charts!) “Sedated till you’re in the ground. They’re scared to let the Spirit breathe. So wake up, break out of the silent crowd. Let the truth spill from your mouth. The Word of Life has set you free”. This is a band you want to keep your eyes on for sure!

Leanna Crawford Standing on the Truth

It’s 4 pm by this point and for the rest of the day it stopped raining. It was only my second time seeing Leanna live, as I previously saw her when she opened for Matthew West back in 2017 on the “All In Tour”. With that in mind, I was very moved by her, especially when she sang “Truth I’m Standing On”. “Right now, I’m choosing to believe. Someday soon, I’ll look back and see. All the pain had a purpose. Your plan was perfect all along. This is the truth I’m standing on”. Amen!

Around The Venue

In-between sets I made sure to walk the grounds and see what else was available. You can see the photos of just some of the activities they had available below! I hung out at BTB’s table quite a bit and caught up with friends. 

Rhett Walker Brought Joy to 40 Fest

Rhett Walker took the stage around 5 pm. This was my first time seeing him live, and he didn’t disappoint! Hearing songs like “When Mercy Found Me” and “Gospel Song” was such an amazing experience. It was also great watching the crowd sing along and giving praise to God. He certainly brought the joy to 40 Fest!

Cochren & Co Bringing the Church Back

Cochren & Co started their set by approximately 6 pm. I was able to see him (by himself) back in 2020 for Tobymac’s drive in tour and I’ve been a fan of his ever since! It was awesome hearing all their hits, especially “Church (Take Me Back)”. “Tried to walk on my own but I wound up lost. Now I’m making my way to the foot of the cross. It’s not a trophy for the winners. It’s a shelter for the sinners. And it’s right where I belong”.

Danny Gokey Sharing Hope in Front of Us

Danny Gokey was the second closer and came on stage by 7 pm. I have a high level of respect for him as an artist and his stances, and I’ve seen him multiple times live. When he started singing his song “Love God Love People”, it caught my ears and I listened more closely to the lyrics this time around. “All this checking the boxes. Trying to be flawless. Has me spinning my head, catching my breath. Too afraid to slow down. I tell myself to keep this up. That God wants more than just my love. But I’ve been complicating things. It’s just like me to overthink.”. And man, it is truly just like me to overthink on every single thing. I felt this in my soul and God telling me to “just be”.

Crowder Shines the Light

Crowder closed out the event from 8:15 till about 9:30 pm. His song “Crushing Snakes” (along with the epic animation he used in his music video for it) is one of my favorite CCM songs, so it is always a privilege to hear it live. An observation you may not know about; I find it interesting that for many years every time I hear him play live and he sings the “How He Loves” song, when it’s time to sing the sloppy wet/unforeseen part he always turns away from the mic and has the fans say either/or themselves. Also, as I was leaving a tad early to beat the rush and get on the road to drive the 4.5 hours back home, he started to sing the song “I Saw the Light”. The gorgeous far away light shots happened during that song. I had to get out my equipment and grab some photos before I left! Fellow photographers will understand the importance of good concert lights. Either way, as always, Crowder put on a great show!

The Purpose of 40 Fest

Overall, 40 Fest was a wonderful festival that celebrated Christian music and those who support it. WJTL’s Promotions Director John Staffieri had this to say about the event. “WJTL 40 Fest was an incredibly meaningful event! Our community came together to commemorate 40 years of local, listener-supported Christian radio. Our team was touched to hear the stories of how WJTL has impacted lives over the decades, with some tales spanning back decades and others as recent as last week. We’re profoundly thankful to God for His faithfulness and to our devoted listening community and look forward to continuing the work that God has begun!”

Congratulations WJTL for being on air for 40 years, thank you all so very much for your vital contribution to the PA area, and to the music community as a whole! See our 40 Fest photo album via Katie’s Media here and check out WJTL’s website here.