CityFest throng flocks to foreshore

GOD has never been so cool.

The Newcastle Foreshore was packed with thousands of Christian pilgrims at the weekend to hear world-famous preacher Luis Palau’s modern message.

Crowds at the CityFest event were seduced by the sounds of the Salem International Choir, whose gospel songs echoed from Nobbys to the city on Saturday and yesterday evening.

The high-energy group, an African-American choir that funds its own tours, was one of the highlights of an event that included performances from Australian Idol winner Stan Walker and New Zealand rockers Evermore.

Activities included extreme sports demonstrations and a market full of food stalls.

‘‘It’s just been sensational and ... gone off without a hitch,’’ Rick Prosser, the event organiser, said.

Mr Prosser brought together more than 100 Hunter churches to put on the event.

‘‘It’s been fantastic for the city, motel rooms and restaurants have been full.’’

Organisers had hoped about 20,000 people would attend across the two days and were blown away by the response.

‘‘Lots of people have been listening to Luis’s message.’’

Mr Palau was the main drawcard. He said the CityFest concept was designed as a way to talk about God to a young generation that has increasingly moved away from organised religion.

‘‘What we’re trying to show is that life isn’t just a party all the time, but that generally it can be a joyful experience,’’ Mr Palau said.

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