Mark Humphrey, AP
"We used to come here as kids," says Bear Rinehart, lead vocalist of NEEDTOBREATHE, the Christian rock outfit that opened for Taylor Swift last year. "[Night of Joy] is exciting. It's going to be a lot of fun. A lot of bands have their kids and wives down here. It's a cool thing for all the families. It's going to be great. I'm looking forward to it. We're gonna rock it and see what happens."
This year marks Disney's 30th annual Night of Joy. The festival is known for showcasing both the Christian/gospel community's headliners on the stage in front of Cinderella's Castle as well as providing a exposure for up-and-coming acts such as Royal Tailor, who will be performing at the Rockettown Plaza Stage.
"People are coming from all over. Other companies should take a look at what Disney's doing here," says Jon Micah Sumrall, lead singer of the band Kutless, who returns to Night of Joy again this year. "What a great business model this Night of Joy Festival has been. It's always gone really well from our perspective, from the artist's standpoint and it seems the fans are really psyched about it."
When they aren't on stage, most of the artists can be found hitting such rides as the Tower of Terror, Soarin', Space Mountain or any of Disney's other attractions. Casting Crowns frontman Mark Hall has made lots of great memories during Night of Joy. "When your kids first see Disney World it's always such an amazing thing," says the father of four. "Our first year we got [our son] John Michael a little safari outfit off the jungle cruise and bought these little jewels and hid them all over the hotel room afterwards so he could be an explorer."
In 2010, Mark and his wife Melanie adopted their daughter Hope from China. "Just watching her experience Disney World was awesome," he says of her introduction to the land of Mickey and Minnie. "Just putting those Mickey ears on her for the first time and letting her see everything was great!"
Third Day's Mac Powell, by the way, released his self-titled solo country debut album on Aug. 21.
Click here for more information about Disney's Night of Joy.