Rock the Coast Returns

Written by Terry DeBoer on . Posted in Local

rockAfter a three-year hiatus, the inspirational Rock the Coast event has re-emerged in West Michigan at a new location and with a new outlook.

Set for May 19-20, the Christian music mini-festival has moved south from Muskegon to Holland at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds. "Reaching out to a new audience in the Holland area should give us the ability to see the event grow," said festival director Kevin Newton, spokesman for Alive On The Lakeshore, the non-profit group behind the event.

The organization already produces the Unity Christian Music Festival in Muskegon, which has drawn more than 50,000 persons over its four day schedule each August.

Headlining the music on Rock The Coast's main stage Sat. May 20 is David Crowder, whose latest "American Prodigal" album garnered a Grammy nomination.

Newer songs such as "Run Devil, Run" reveal a twist of Southern rock and gospel sounds. His trademark worship song "How He Loves" offers a quieting contrast.
Meanwhile, on Fri. May 19 the headliner is Hillsong Young & Free, a collection of young artists out of the huge Hillsong Church in Australia which has spawned numerous worship songs and groups.

Josh Wilson, Plumb and several other artists also perform (see lineup and other details below).


Rock the Coast began in May of 2004 at its former site, Michigan's Adventure amusement park north of Muskegon. For a string of years, Christian music favorites such as TobyMac, Kutless and Audio Adrenaline performed, drawing between two and four thousand youthful fans who also took advantage of the park rides and other attractions.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required
The event took a year off in 2012, coming back the next year with a Memorial Day weekend schedule and a wider variety. But that was the end of the run, although organizers held out the possibility it could come back in some form. And now it has.

"We've been talking to partners in the Holland area for many years about having an event in that market, and this past fall it all came together," Newton said.
Indeed, Parkway Electric and Request Foods are two Holland businesses which have stepped forward and become major sponsors.

Like its Unity Festival cousin, Rock the Coast helps to raise awareness and funds for local ministries. Already on board in that regard are the Holland Rescue Mission, Harvest Stand Ministries and the Lakeshore Pregnancy Center.


Newton said that a Unity Festival volunteer from Holland familiar with the fairgrounds suggested the site for a possible event. The grounds have plenty of space for parking, and also provide 160 on-site camping sites which will be available for Fri. and Sat. nights.

"We feel those who camp will have a deeper experience," Newton said, noting opportunities such as a late night acoustic set in a coffee-house setting featuring singer-songwriter Josh Wilson.

The large main stage will not be in the traditional location in front of the fair grandstands. Rock the Coast is erecting a staging platform on the east end of the track infield. "We're bringing in some larger 'clear span' tents that will help create our own mini-venue in what is a very large field area," the director added of the rain or shine event.

Vendors and food concessions will also be available.


It takes upwards of 700 volunteers to successfully produce the summertime Unity Festival. Newton estimates they'll need at least 125 for the two-day Rock the Coast.

"Another plus of being in Holland is access to a new volunteer base," he said. "We've already recruited several (Holland area) people to be part of the leadership team and they will help to coordinate volunteers (sign up at

"We're excited to get started (at the new location) and the support of the Holland-Zeeland community is key to having this become a strong, successful and annual event."


Rock The Coast West Michigan, Friday & Saturday May 19-20, 2017

Ottawa County Fairgrounds, 1286 Ottawa Beach Rd. Holland.

The music lineups (several slots still be to filled, times approximate):

*Fri. 4 p.m. V-Rose, 6:30 p.m. Josh Wilson; 8:15p.m. Compassion International; 8:30 p.m. Hillsong Young & Free

*Sat. 3 p.m. George Moss; 4 p.m. Holly Starr; 7 p.m. Plumb; 8:05 p.m. Compassion International; 8:45 p.m. Crowder
Gates open at 1 p.m. each day.

Tickets: $15 for one-day, $25 for both days.

Tickets on line at

Parking $5; bringing your own seating is suggested. For camping details and other information:

Author Information
Terry DeBoer
Terry is journalist who writes for newspapers, magazines, newsletters and websites. His most frequented “beat” is arts and entertainment. He is married with two children and lives in Grand Rapids.

Related Articles

No Related Articles Found

home app07 envelope
Submit News
RSS Feed
home app09 playVideos
faith-buttonPlease consider helping us by contributing to our publication. 

Donate directly or advertize your business on this site or in our newsletter.  It reaches thousands across West Michigan.