Major League Players at the Showgrounds

BALLYMENA Showgrounds will once again to host world-class players during the weekend of June 11-13. But don't worry, you're not reading the Sports pages - the players this time are of the musical variety!

Fuel 2010, Ireland’s largest Christian Music and Arts Festival is building on the success of last year with the very top names in Contemporary Christian Music set to play at the event.

While standards were set high at Fuel 09 with names such as Third Day, Jeremy Camp and Starfield, this year will see an even bigger line-up.

International artists Switchfoot, Leeland, Brenton Brown, Phil Wickham, New World Son and Planetshakers will all bring their own brand of music to the Northern Ireland audience, with Downhere being such a hit last summer that they have been asked to return.


We all know how variable the weather can be here, so all the venues are in large tents and marquees again – the largest having a capacity of 3500 people! Exhibitors will be in their own marquee, with several charities and the popular Wesley Owen bookshop (Coleraine) being represented, and various food vendors will be on site. The fashionable “Ground Acoustic Caf” is back, offering quality coffee, food and live music. Enjoy a cup of fair-trade coffee and a delicious muffin n a relaxing atmosphere while listening to some of Northern Ireland’s most gifted musicians and singers.

Local artists making their way to the Showgrounds include Rend Collective Experiment, Brian Houston, The Good Fight, Gentry Morris, Crave and Nathan Jess.

Ballymena’s own “Goodbye Pluto”, who won the Northern Bank’s Freedom Live competition and supported Pixie Lott in November, will also entertain the crowds.

A new feature this year is an “Open Mic” tent – a small venue where those who “want the world to hear my music” can get their chance to entertain the public as they stand and listen….or rush past.

Music is not the only activity going on at Fuel. Speakers include Mark Ritchie, a passionate Scotsman who has spoken at events all over the world mixing a unique blend of humour with the Gospel message, and “Mitch”, already well known in the Ballymena area through his work with Crown Jesus Ministries. Steve Stockman will also be taking some seminars.

This year, the Fuel team would like the festival to appeal to a much wider audience - so, as well as having the various seminars and workshops which are mostly geared to 16–30 year olds, there will be many more activities for families, including football tournaments, laser quest, juggling, and a children’s play area during the afternoon:

“We’ve even been fortunate enough to get Ballymena Silver Band to play hymn tunes on the Sunday afternoon”, said a Fuel representative. “While all the music will not suit everyone, we feel that there is enough”.

Most people attending Fuel will travel to and from the Showgrounds each day, but for those who come from further afield, a limited amount of camping is available, at an additional cost of 5 per night. You can bring your own tent or rent one from Fuel organisers, but you must book all camping in advance.

To find out more about Fuel 10 or to buy tickets, visit the Fuel website at, or contact the Fuel office on 02825 639 467.

You can also obtain tickets from all the Ground espresso bars in Northern Ireland. (There is a Ground outlet in Ballymoney Street in Ballymena), but with only eight weeks to go, time is running out!

As the theme for this year’s Fuel says, “Be challenged. Be encouraged. Be inspired. FUEL 10 - Don’t run on empty.”