The official line-up for the highly-anticipated 2016 Winter Jam Tour Spectacular was announced last night at an exclusive invitation-only party held at Nashville’s Adventure Science Center. Next year’s diverse line-up includes co-headliners for KING & COUNTRY and Matthew West, joined by Crowder, RED, Sidewalk Prophets, KB/Tedashii/Trip Lee, Lauren Daigle and evangelist Tony Nolan. The annual Pre-Jam Party will include newcomers Stars Go Dim and We Are Messengers, and the entire evening will be hosted by Winter Jam founders and CCM veteran group NewSong. Returning sponsors include Holt International and Pepsi MidAmerica, among others.
Following a reception, complete with a space-suit wearing DJ spinning out-of-this-world EDM hits, artists were unveiled before an intimate crowd of label staff, managers, press and radio winners in the Adventure Science Center’s Sudekum Planetarium. Meanwhile, more than 30,000 fans watched the presentation live online via StageHop.com. Attendees inside the planetarium were treated to a video feed that stretched across the domed ceiling as 2016 Winter Jam artists were introduced one by one.
Announced as the first 2016 artist, Crowder kicked off the event with a sparse acoustic rendition of “Come As You Are.” Next, We Are Messengers frontman Darren Mulligan greeted the crowd with a word of gratitude followed by his labelmates Stars Go Dim making an appearance via video. Then, hosts NewSong took the small stage up front with a cello and a circle of acoustic guitars for a latin-infused version of “Defining Moment,” complete with signature harmonies. The triple hip-hop threat of KB, Tedashii and Trip Lee were unveiled next with a video greeting from KB, before Sidewalk Prophets took the stage for a stripped-down performance of “Prodigal.” After expressing his excitement about being a part of Winter Jam, lead singer Dave Frey also commented about the evening’s creative venue, adding, “When I was a kid, I went to space camp, so this is awesome!”
RED was introduced next with the three members adding their own brand of humor to the night: “We’re over the moon to be on Winter Jam.” Lauren Daigle sang her first No. 1, appropriately titled “First,” against the quiet strum of a sole guitar before the headliners were announced.
for KING & COUNTRY’s Joel and Luke Smallbone didn’t sing, but they did take the mic to express a word of thanks to Winter Jam. Fifteen years ago they were a part of the tour’s load in/load out crew when they were working with big sis Rebecca St. James. Next year, the duo will co-headline with Matthew West.
West, who capped off the evening with “Do Something,” said one of the best live shows he ever attended as a kid was a NewSong concert in Estes Park, Colo. “I’m honored to be a part of any tour that’s about a greater mission,” he added.
In addition to revealing the tour’s epic line-up, a Winter Jam movie was also announced. Filmed during Winter Jam 2015, This Is Winter Jam will premiere in select cities next spring, telling the story behind one of the world’s largest tours. NewSong member Russ Lee described the film as “loaded with the Gospel.”
“The heartbeat of Winter Jam is ministry and community,” Lee remarked. 2016 marks the 21st year of Winter Jam. The tour will visit 48 cities starting in January. In the meantime, Winter Jam will visit the West Coast for a limited run of dates in November. No tickets are required; it’s simply $10 at the door. For a complete list of dates and cities, visit www.jamtour.com.