Since 1986, Kingdom Bound, the yearly Christian music festival launched by the late concert promoter Fred Caserta and area musician Michael Caputy, has made the Darien Lake Amphitheater and theme park a gathering point for fans of the genre.
Now widely regarded as one of the biggest annual festivals of its type, the fest returns to its home venue for four days of music, speakers and various Christian-themed activities, beginning at 5 p.m. July 28 through 11 p.m. July 31.
Over the years, Kingdom Bound has grown from a more conservative religious and musical stance into a more welcoming and adventurous experience, as gospel music, hip-hop, hard rock, alternative and various permutations thereof became popular with festivalgoers. This year’s lineup suggests a continued embrace of musical and cultural diversity.
Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect from the top performers and speakers.
Crowder, 9:30 p.m. July 29, Amphitheater stage
The former frontman of the David Crowder Band is considered one of the finest singer/songwriters in contemporary Christian music.
For King & Country, 9:30 p.m. July 30, Amphitheater stage
American Songwriter has referred to this Christian pop duo as “Australia’s answer to Coldplay.”
Skillet, 9:30 p.m. July 31, Amphitheater stage
The heaviest and most clearly alternative rock entry on the Kingdom Bound roster is also one of the most commercially successful bands in the history of Christian rock.
Danny Gokey, 7:30 p.m. July 31, Amphitheater stage
The former "American Idol" contestant moved quickly through a modern country music phase and then fully embraced the Christian pop idiom, earning him a reputation as one of the biggest mainstream crossover acts extant.
Unspoken, 9:30 p.m. July 28, Amphitheater stage
The rising stars of this year’s Kingdom Bound, quite likely bound for headliner status at next year’s fest.
Selah aka the Corner, 10 p.m. July 29, Revival Stage at the Worship Tent
Give it up for the gospel-hip-hop up-and-comer, and for Kingdom Bound’s willingness to broaden the stylistic umbrella.
Skillet drummer double-dips. Though she is widely revered for her role as drummer/harmony vocalist with Skillet, Jen Ledger will also appear at this year’s Kingdom Bound in her slightly goth-y alt-rock solo artist guise, Ledger, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday on the Amphitheater stage.
Local siblings return. Buffalo’s own Brothers McClurg bring their increasingly popular Christian folk-rock to the Worship Tent at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. (Revival Stage) Wednesday.
Musician-turned-speaker. David Zach of Nebraska-born Christian alt-rockers remedy Drive will give an inspirational seminar at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the Amped! Tent and perform later that day, at 10 p.m., in the Worship Tent.
Follow that band’s performance (10 p.m. Tuesday, in the Worship Tent) with an inspirational seminar at 2 p.m. Tuesday in the Amped! Tent.
Kingdom Bound takes place July 28 to 31 at Darien Lake. The four-day full event ticket, including all performances and seminars, is $159. (On-site camping is not included.) Single-day tickets are $69. Campsite and RV reservations, VIP options and parking passes also are available, through KingdomBound.org/festival.