NASHVILLE, TNóMay 26, 2009óFor the second consecutive year, "The Winter Jam Tour Spectacular,"-- Christian musicís largest annual tour--ranked in the Top 5 largest tours in the world according to Pollstar's First Quarter Attendance Chart. Defying todayís challenging economy by notching yet another record-breaking year, Winter Jam 2009ís combined attendance increased by more than 7 percent over last yearís previous high, while the tour's average nightly attendance increased by more than 4 percent above 2008's record pace.
Highlighted by the Greensboro, NC stop which boasted an unprecedented Winter Jam turnout of more than 20,000 fans, the tour's total paid attendance this year surpassed 335,000 people with an average nightly turnout of more than 9,500 fans. Comparatively, last year's record combined turnout was more than 311,000 people with average nightly attendance of more than 9,100 fans.
Winter Jam came in at No. 5 on Pollstarís 2009 First Quarter Attendance Chart. Despite escalating prices due to the current economic climate, Winter Jam continued itís commitment to the unique "no tickets" policy, which allowed fans to pay $10 at the door for admission. Hosted for the 14th consecutive year by Grammy-nominated and Dove Award-winning artist NewSong, Winter Jam 2009ís headliner was then-reigning "GMA Artist of the Year" tobyMac. The Spectacular also welcomed special guests Hawk Nelson, current "GMA Male Vocalist of the Year" Brandon Heath, Francesca Battistelli, pureNRG, Stephanie Smith and featured speaker Tony Nolan. The Afters, BarlowGirl and Family Force 5 also performed at select Winter Jam dates. The 35-city tour, which launched in early January, concluded in Nashville, TN in March.
Winter Jam's long-term success resulted in the Spectacular being named the recipient of this year's GMA Impact Award. According to the Gospel Music Association, this award is presented to "the non-artist individual or organization that has made the most significant impact on the gospel music industry over the last two or three years." Fans weighed in as well as "Winter Jam 2009" was voted both this year's "Concert of the Year" by Gospel Music Channel viewers and "Best Tour" in the CCMmagazine.com Readers' Choice Awards.
During last yearís tour, more than 53,000 Winter Jam attendees made either a first-time commitment to follow Christ or rededicated their lives to Him. This year, the tour welcomed 69,700 estimated first-time decisions and rededications. Winter Jam 2009 also resulted in the sponsorship of more than 4,600 orphaned children through Holt International, compared to about 4,300 sponsorships last year. As a world-leader in adoption and child welfare around the globe, Holt International has been a Winter Jam sponsor since 2006. To date, more than 17,000 Winter Jam attendees have volunteered monthly support for orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children. Each of the child sponsorships provides food, shelter, clothing, medical treatment and personal care.
In addition to Holt International, corporate sponsors for Winter Jam 2009 included Tangle.com, Precious Girls Club, HearItFirst.com, Stuph Clothing, Creation Fest, Xtreme Conferences, MegaVoice, Wayne E. Bailey Produce Company, Camp Electric and Premier Christian Cruises. HearItFirst.com hosts the official Winter Jam site, which can be visited at JamTour.com.
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