Weather gods smile on Christian festival

ENJOYING THEMSELVES: An enthusiastic audience responds to a performance by Mumsdollar at the Parachute Musical Festival at Mystery Creek yesterday.
ENJOYING THEMSELVES: An enthusiastic audience responds to a performance by Mumsdollar at the Parachute Musical Festival at Mystery Creek yesterday.

The weather gods were smiling on the Parachute Christian music festival at the weekend, helping to make the event a sellout.

Visitors to the venue enjoyed sunny, hot weather for all three days of this year's festival held at Mystery Creek. .

The last of the 17,500 tickets were snapped up on Saturday with people being turned away at the gates.

Tickets were capped this year after sales were slow at last year's event.

Four thousand tickets for next year's festival also went on sale, at a substantially reduced rate, with a four-day adult pass selling for $99 and a four-day family pass selling for $250.

Despite the blazing heat, parts of the Mystery Creek venue were covered in water, with festival-goers splashing each other with water from their drink bottles to cool down.

Police reported no issues, but the festival wasn't without controversy, with New York Times bestselling author Paul Young and Blue Like Jazz film producer Steve Taylor among guests to stir up reaction with some even boycotting the event in protest.

Young's book, The Shack, spent 51 weeks at the top of the New York Times bestseller list, but has seen him labelled a heretic overseas.

A Kiwi Christian media distributor, police officer and two festival-goers boycotted Parachute when they saw Paul Young was on the speaker list, emailing their disgust to Parachute organisers.

Young wrote The Shack to appease his wife who wanted him to detail his world view for their six children.

The book, which Mr Young describes as a parable, tells of how a fictional character meets God in person.

Marcus Pringle, of Ray of Light Witness in Hamilton, emailed organisers to say he would not attend because Mr Young was a heretic.

His objections were similar to those made against Elemeno P a few years ago.

Some said the band was not Christian enough to perform at the festival.

"We found that Paul Young doesn't believe that Jesus died for our sins, doesn't believe that God punishes sin, doesn't believe in Hell.

"We also looked at all the heretical aspects of his book.

"His beliefs and his book go totally against God's Word and is another gospel," Mr Pringle wrote.

But Young told the Times Mr Pringle was wrong on all counts.

"I would love to talk to him about me," he said.

"He's [Mr Pringle] not telling me about me he's telling me about him, what he's afraid of, what's important to him. I know that Poppa [God] is pretty fond of him."

Meanwhile, Taylor's film - which caused angered reactions in the United States when it was being made and was labelled anti-Christian- was a hit at Parachute, with punters being turned away from the Palladium stage because there wasn't room for them all.

Blue Like Jazzis based on a New York Times autobiographical bestseller by Donald Miller about his college years.

Waikato Times