Thirteen bands to raise money for SIDS research at Kingdom Jam 2016 –

The Rev. Ron Bowell is nearly at his limit, and that’s a good thing.

For this year’s Kingdom Jam Contemporary Christian Music Festival, which Bowell organized seven years ago, 13 bands have been booked to perform. That’s just about the limit of what can be scheduled in 41/2 hours on a Sunday afternoon, he said.

“We want to let the bands play, but we also don’t want it to go past 41/2 hours,” he said. “So things are crunched a bit.”

As it is, each band will be allowed to perform a 15-minute set. That doesn’t include the time it takes to get on and off stage, Bowell said.

The festival kicks off at 1 p.m. Sunday at CrossRoads Church, 1125 W. South.

First up is the CrossRoads Band, the house rock band at CrossRoads Church, where Bowell not only is pastor but the group’s guitarist. Bowell is a Kansas Music Hall of Fame inductee with his former band, Friar Tuck and the Monks.

New bands in the line-up this year include an acoustic guitar set by Tony Bowell, Ron Bowell’s son; New Trail Fellowship, a western band from a cowboy church in Abilene; Aliento De Vida, a band from a Hispanic-based Salina church that performs songs in English and Spanish; Sagebrush, a country band that has performed frequently in retirement homes in and around Salina; Freedom 724, a contemporary Christian band from Herington; and Jeffro and the Heroes, whose music Bowell confessed he hadn’t yet heard.

“It’s Jeff Wells’ band, who goes to church at CrossRoads,” Bowell said. “It’s kind of a mystery band. I know they’ll be good, but I don’t know what they’ll play.”

A fundraiser for SIDS

Since the festival’s second year, it has served as a fundraiser for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), an unexplained condition that takes the lives of babies less than a year old who otherwise appear to be in perfect health.

In January 2010, SIDS claimed the life of Bowell’s 2-month-old grandson, Zane.

Last year, about 400 people attended Kingdom Jam, Bowell said. Although admission is free, donations are accepted, and money is raised through concessions, T-shirts, tickets for prize drawings and a silent auction.

“Last year we raised pretty close to $3,000,” he said. “If the weather is good to us this year, we should have 400 to 500 people attend.”

A silent auction

During the performances, attendees can bid for items in the silent auction until about 4:30 or 5 p.m., Bowell said. Items available for bidding will include a private concert by Tony Bowell; homemade crocheted and knitted items; handmade fine silver jewelry; original drawings, paintings and photographic pieces; hair care products; and products by Mary Kay, Vanderbilt’s and Scentsy.

A “date night” basket will include a night stay at Country Inn & Suites, a $50 meal at Red Lobster and a movie.

All proceeds from Kingdom Jam 2016 will go to the Wichita-based SIDS Network of Kansas, and the C.J. Foundation of SIDS.

“It’s a good way to start the year, and everyone feels good about doing this,” Bowell said. “It’s not only good music, but it’s for a good cause.”

More information about this year’s festival can be found on the Kingdom Jam page on Facebook.