Kingdom Bound Festival's COO Matt Gould Shares the Vision Behind this Year's Festival

Kingdom Bound

The annual Kingdom Bound Festival is one of the largest and longest running Christian Music festivals in the United States. This year, they are celebrating our 30th anniversary. As one of the longest running festivals in the country, the festival team has a unique perspective on Christian music, both its past, where it stands today, and where it (and the idea of Christian music festivals) are headed for the future. 

We are honored to be able to catch up with the festival's COO, Matt Gould for this exclusive interview. 

Q:  Matt, thank you so much for your time.  Firstly, tell us about your involvement and role in Kingdom Bound Ministries and its upcoming festival.

I have had the role of Chief Operating Officer of Kingdom Bound Ministries for the past 3 years (we are a year-round faith-based Arts Non-Profit organization).  Prior to that, I served as a volunteer on the Board of Directors as well as acting as the Producer of the mainstage.  I attended the Festival as a teenager in the late 80's/early 90's.

Q:  What's the Kindgom Bound Festival about?  What are some of the goals of this festival?  

The Kingdom Bound Festival is celebrating 30 years of presenting the Gospel Through the Arts via a 4-day Music and Arts Festival at Darien Lake Amusement Park in Darien Center, NY.  Darien Lake is a full-experience park complete with thrill rides (6 great Roller Coasters) and a very large water park.  We also "take over" all of Darien Lake's accommodations, which includes a 160-room hotel, dozens of cabins and rentable RV's and a campsite that features over 400 water & electric sites.  It's a HUGE undertaking that features over 60 bands and speakers at mutliple stages across the park, including a 25,000 capacity Live Nation venue.  Over 40 thousand tickets are sold to this event over the 4 days.

Q:  Who are you trying to reach through this festival?  

EVERYONE!  We think of this festival as a full-family experience.  Anyone/everyone infancy to senior adulthood enjoys these 4 jam-packed days at Kingdom Bound.  We celebrate, create and connect with each other with experiential events throughout each day.  We have large youth groups from churches and charity organizations with us each day (and overnight) as well as families that chose Kingdom Bound as their event/vacation of the summer.

Q:  What is (are) the theme(s) of this year's festival?  

This is our 30th Anniversary.  That said, we are treating our 30th Festival as "Day One" (to steal a line from our Friday night Headliner, Matthew West).  As our Festival Director, Donna Russo, so effectively states: "It's time to return to our first love, our passion for Jesus. We need to get back to the basics. How will I practice my faith - what will I speak to others? The message of salvation has always been the front and center mission of Kingdom Bound."

Q:  Who will be performing the music and giving the messages?  

Over 60 Bands and Speakers, highlighted by Skillet, for King and Country, Matthew West, Rend Collective, Colton Dixon, Matt Maher, Sidewalk Prophets, Laura Story, RED, KB, Peter Furler, Reggie Dabbs, Nick Vujicic and SO many more.  There are three primary stages, our Performing Arts Center featuring nightly headliners, the Worship Tent (seats 1k) where you can experience intimate worship from morning to night and the Houghton College Park Stage that is located INSIDE the park itself featuring primarily Rock and Hip Hop acts.  Each day also features dozens of seminars throughout the park.

Q:  Besides ministering to adults, you also have an excellent program for kids and youths, tell us more about this?  

I mentioned family above...and we truly believe the next generation is a primary focus.  We have a Kids Tent each day for kids 4-8, our AMPED TENT for tweeners 9-13...and this year a NEW experience for high school and college aged young adults called AWAKEN.  It features breakfast in the morning for those staying overnight on site with exclusive worship and speakers for these age groups, including Reggie Dabbs, Wes Aarum and many more.  Plus games, seminars...and oh yeah...and entire amusement park for them to enjoy :)

Q:  What motivates you to serve our Lord through this ministry?  

People.  Pure and simple.  The great music...the flashing lights...the killer rides...all great.  Super important, even.  But it's with the intent of reaching PEOPLE.  Helping people translate what can be (and is) a very confusing and frustrating world into terms that edify, build up and cast hope for an eternal future based on the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  So, yeah...people.  

You can find out more, go to  



Tags : kingdom bound festival matt gould matt gould news matt gould latest matt gould interview Skillet for country and king Colton Dixon Laura Story Sidewalk Prophets Matt Maher Matthew West kb peter furler Nick Vujicic reggie dabbs

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