Thompson-Boling Arena hosts Winter Jam 2020

Written by: Devin Burrow, managing editor

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.— Every year thousands of Christians make a pilgrimage to a local city to listen to Christian artists songs from new albums along with fan-favorite songs. 

On Valentine’s day, Feb. 14, Thompson-Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee’s campus hosted 10 artists who played in front of over 1,000 audience members. 

At every Winter Jam concert, the event begins with the “Pre-Jam party” an hour before the actual concert begins featuring new and upcoming artists. This year, the concert displayed Christian rapper Zauntee and singer/songwriter Ballenger, along with “Fighting for me” singer Riley Clemmons. 

At 7:00 pm, audience members began to take their seats as the first of seven artists took the stage. 

Austin French, introduced by MC of the night DJ G-Baby, was received with thunderous applause and screaming from fans. However, French did not come onto the stage with a huge sound. Instead, the artist was accompanied by only his guitar and smooth voice. 

French followed this act by introducing a full band who played songs like “Born again”, “Good Feeling” and “Why, God?” 

After French left for the night, Christian hard rock group “Red” stormed onto the stage. The audience did not seem to respond much to the boisterous and chaotic rock that the band offered. 

However, one could spot a couple of fans in the crowd who were head-banging and fist-pumping the air to songs such as, “From the Ashes” and “Breathe Into Me.” 

Red was formed by identical twin brothers, guitarist Anthony and bassist Randy Armstrong, and lead vocalist and pianist Michael Barnes. Red left the stage after playing for 20 minutes. 

Newsong performing their famous song “Arise, my Lord

Newsong, the band who founded Winter Jam, was up next and performed their hit song, “I am a Christian.”  Newsong first formed the Winter Jam concerts 25 years ago and has been touring with the concerts every year since. 

Austin French and Pre-Jam show performer Zauntee took the stage again to sing, “Arise, My Lord” while a portrait of Jesus was being virtually drawn on the big screen behind them. 

After Newsong performed, Christian Rapper Andy Mineo took the stage on a hoverboard. He skated back and forth on stage while performing fan favorites such as, “When the saints go marching in” and “You can’t stop me.” 

Andy Mineo performs on stage at Winter Jam 2020

He finished with a personal story about his mom and a conversation he had with her before she passed away. 

“She told me this was her favorite song,” Mineo added. “She said it showed who I really was and when we show who we really are, we show who God really is.” Mineo finished his part of the show with his mom’s favorite song, “No Shame.”

Speaker and pastor of Passion Church Louie Giglio spoke to the crowd about depression and anxiety. He also spoke about a passage from the Bible that describes Jesus raising a boy from the dead. After praying, he introduced Passion for the worship part of the evening. 

Passion started out their worship set with the song “Waymaker” followed by “Build my Life” and their famous song “Glorious Day.” Passion exited before another Winter Jam regular took the stage. 

“Two years ago, we played right here in this stadium,” Roy said. “A woman was here who had cancer and we prayed for her. We wouldn’t have gotten to if Winter Jam wasn’t a thing.” 

Building 429 entered the scene with popular hit songs such as, “Fear No More” and “Where I belong.” Building 429 wrapped up with their song “We won’t be shaken” before frontman Jason Roy came up to the stage to tell a story. 

He went on to add that they gave the first fruits offering to the family of the woman before they passed around buckets for the offering of the night. Riley Clemmons assumed stage to play a song while the offering was being taken. 

The final act of the show was David Crowder. He played songs such as “Wildfire” and “Run Devil Run” in his usual country-esque style. The crowd applauded but was unusually tired and apathetic at this point in the night, which was around 11:00 p.m.

 Crowder left the stage and the audience members left their seats until next year, when thousands more will line up once again. 

Devin Burrow is the managing editor for He is a senior communications major with an emphasis in digital media. Devin loves movies and cooking food for his friends and family.