The Valley's Newest Music Festival Is a Party of One
Christian music festival OneFest brings family fun
When Heather Flashinski’s first son started attending Sunday school in 2016, she was surprised to discover that the program didn’t include learning the small songs and hymns she remembers from her own childhood. When she volunteered to play piano and lead songs for the group, she was again surprised that there didn’t appear to be much new music for her to teach since she had attended Sunday school decades earlier. She began listening to more and more modern Christian music, and in her search for new songs to teach her students, she found inspiration for something else: launching the first Christian music festival in Chippewa Falls.
"It will be a 100% safe zone for families all the way from no alcohol to the song lyrics and everything in between." – Kevin Schultz, Onefest
The result is OneFest, a two-day music festival at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds July 28-29. The festival will feature nationally known artists including Tenth Avenue North, Mandisa, and Citizen Way, as well as performances by regional and local musicians such as Brady Luke and CollECtive Choir.
“I love that atmosphere of going out and hearing great music,” said Flashinski, who does contract work for an organization that educates farmers and consumers about grass-based agriculture. She frequently attends Country Fest in Cadott, and wanted to organize something similar to celebrate faith-based music. So she met with festival organizers in the area and asked why there wasn’t a Christian music festival. Many people she spoke to said such an event wouldn’t be profitable, but Flashinski wasn’t in it for the money.
After garnering support from locals, she created a nonprofit organization, enlisted a board, and reached out to Kevin Schultz, organizer of Revival Fest in Eleva, to form a partnership. Schultz redirected his efforts into OneFest, bringing his experience and connections to the table.
“I think if anyone involved is being honest they would have to say that Heather is doing 90 percent of the work,” Schultz said. “She is amazing! She seems to get done the work of 10 people all while raising a family and running a farm with her wonderful husband, Mark.”
“It’s a fun deal, working with a group who’s so excited about the festival,” Flashinski said. Members have been tirelessly planning and fundraising since, reaching out to local businesses for sponsorships and networking with other festivals.
“Local sponsors and support plays a big part in bringing the community together,” Flashinski said. In her research into other Christian music festivals, she found that if the organizers and sponsors were from outside the community, the event lacked the unity of a truly successful celebration.
Bringing artists on board was one of the biggest hurdles OneFest organizers faced. “You had to have funding to get the offers down, but you also had to have artists to get funding,” she explained. Artists were also hesitant to perform at a new event without proof of investment from other artists. But once the first band was on board, drawing talent grew easier.
“It made me realize I can’t control everything, but in the same sense, when I stopped pushing it, things started coming together in really great ways, Flashinski said.
OneFest organizers come from many religious backgrounds. Members of Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, and other churches have come together to put on and promote the event.
“It will be a 100-percent safe zone for families all the way from no alcohol to the song lyrics and everything in between,” Schultz said. The festival will feature kid-friendly activities such as bouncy houses and sports courts. Vendors will offer food, merchandise, and information at OneFest.
OneFest’s mission is communicated through Ephesians 4:1-6: “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one spirit just as you were called to one hope when you were called one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
Flashinski receives an email or a text message (her ringtone is one of Tenth Avenue North’s songs) almost every day from someone thanking her for her work in organizing the festival. She hopes this indicates a good turnout at the event, which she wants to leave people feeling loved and inspired to be a positive influence in their community. “And I want them to come back!” she added with a giggle.
OneFest • July 28-29 • Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, 225 Edward St. • (715) 379-3742 • one-fest.com