Sunday, 22 July 2018

What my first Walsingham Festival was like

By Amy Cooper

Last August, I went to Youth 2000’s summer festival in Walsingham for the first time. I’d been to their event ‘The Return’ at Craig Lodge in Scotland earlier in the year and after having such an uplifting experience, my friends encouraged me to come to the Summer Festival. It’s safe to say that I don’t have any regrets in deciding to go.

As someone who struggles with their mental health, I was a bit concerned that the festival was going to be too overwhelming for me. I ummed and ahhed about going for a few weeks but eventually I bit the bullet and booked my place. I mean, what was there to be worried about? I would be surrounded by some of my best friends and other young Catholics from all over the country (and further afield), completely encompassed by the Lord’s love. I couldn’t turn down an opportunity like that.

I can’t really tell you what I expected, but the festival greatly exceeded any expectations I could’ve had. I honestly enjoyed every moment of it, from serving dinner to hundreds of hungry people to staying up until 2am in the cafĂ©, chatting and making friends. No matter where you turned there was always a friendly face and everyone I had the pleasure of spending time with was so open and welcoming. It was actually at Walsingham that I met my boyfriend, and we’ve been together for almost a year now. The Lord always makes a move when you least expect it!

Aside from the people, one of my other favourite things about the festival is the flexibility of it all. Unlike retreats which are normally a lot more structured, at Walsingham you can really pick and choose what you do. There are the really obviously things to do, such as attending mass (duh) and walking the Holy Mile, but with regards to workshops and talks the choice is up to you. So many different topics are covered by an incredible collection of speakers, so there’s bound to be something that takes your fancy. And hey, even if there’s not, you can always go and hang out in prayer with Jesus in the main tent.

The atmosphere at the festival is really difficult to describe. Everyone is filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit and no matter where you look you can clearly see God at work in the big and small. Being surrounded by so many cheerful, peaceful individuals really affirms, in my mind, what our faith is all about – coming together to thank and praise the Lord for everything He does for us. I’m not going to lie, I did feel a bit awkward and out of place at the start of the festival but by the end I had completely relaxed and given myself over to Jesus. I let go and I let God.

The festival really helped me to see that Jesus is always there for me, regardless as to where I go or what I do. It gave me the confidence to turn to Him no matter what and to trust Him with everything. It’s allowed me to build a true friendship with Jesus and I really felt his love for me, something which was unbelievably powerful. Jesus wants to know each and every one of us as best as He can, and going to Walsingham really enabled me to open my heart and soul to that reality.

If you’ve never been to the festival before, I highly recommend coming along this year. It’s going to be the biggest and best one yet, and I honestly can’t wait for it all to kick off. Even if you think it might be a bit too much for you (as I did last year), definitely give it a shot regardless. There are so many wonderful people you can turn to if you need a quiet chat or reassurance on anything, and you have Jesus, restlessly waiting for you to speak to Him at any hour of the day. If you happen to see me over the weekend don’t hesitate to come over and chat, I love meeting new people and making wonderful friends through our faith!

August 23rd. Be there or be square. Let’s show the world just how amazing life with the Lord really is.

You can book onto the Walsingham Summer Festival right here:


Sunday, 8 July 2018

8 things we love about the festival

By the Festival team

With the summer holidays fast approaching, we're now under seven weeks away from Walsingham 2018! That's right, it's time to get thinking festival again! Here's a quick run through of just a few of our favourite things.

The defining thing about the festival has got to be the people! Over the twenty eight years of the Youth 2000 festival, a deep network of friends has grown, a community of people really willing each other on to their best. Bringing this faith community together over the bank holiday weekend is such a great thing to be a part of. However, each year we see around 50% new comers and it's amazing to see brand new friendships striking up all over the fields of Walsingham #friendshipgoals

It's also great to see so many families! We're developing our family spaces and programme building on last years' to cater to families even more. 

Last year we wanted to really embrace the artsy side of making a festival and were super impressed by the artists that assembled to cover the site in colour and life! From signs to bunting and from flags to paints, our team of young artists really but in the work to make the festival look better than it ever has. If you've got an artistic side, why not get involved with our art squad?

Is there anything better than a really great talk? Like one of those really good ones that gives you a new perspective on something you've always wondered about? Well, we've got a line up for the 2018 festival that could compete with TED. We've already announced Adam Fuselier, Director of Mission & Outreach at 'Dumb Ox Ministries', who's coming over from the states just for us! We'll be dropping the rest of our line up over the next few weeks and we're so excited to share them with you.

A big part of the Youth 2000 community is worship, the communal expression of our thanks to God. We love how the focus of our worship is always God, and that over the five days of our festival we get to go deeper and deeper into prayer and praise together. Over the many years of the festival, we have always been blessed with young worship leaders and with new songs that united us, whether in our morning worship or when we go late into the night in thanks for the day. We love seeing young people entering into silence when the music has ended too, continuing their worship in their own private prayer. The worship always creates the atmosphere of the festival and the Holy Spirit never fails to dwell with us in it. 

Where would we be without our ever expanding team of #FestivalBuilders? We love that our festival is built by young people for young people. These guys are so generous with their time and bold in their vision and for so many it is their way of giving back to the community that brought their faith to life. If you want to find out how you can give to the festival with your skills, why not ping us a message?

That's right - the cafe tent returns! Last year was the premier of the cafe tent and boy was it a hit! With its multitude of sofas and fine furnishings, its incredible barista team and their sweet blends, the cafe tent is the ultimate chill space. With no official closing time, we loved seeing the conversations going deep into the night. The open mic was also a big hit with endless talented individuals stepping up to the mic every night.

Is it even a festival if you're not camping? There's nothing like waking up to the sun shining through your tent and hearing the birds and your fellow campers outside. There's also the whole mud and wellies of the classic Glasto experience to take in to account but we've had some glorious weather over the last few years and this year is looking like its going to continue our streak of blessed bank holiday weekends!

Ultimately, we build our festival, our community and our friendships around the source of it all: Jesus. Everything we build is to create the opportunity for young people to encounter Jesus as a real person that they can journey with for the rest of their lives. Every year we see this happen and we watch young people come alive to this reality for the first time. We would love for you to be there, for your friends to be there and for more and more people to have the opportunity of getting to know him. That's what we're all about, and that's why we're building this festival.

'Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.' 

Pope Benedict XVI

You can book on to the Walsingham 2018 Festival right now, just over  here:

© Youth 2000 Blog | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Crafted by pipdig