The popular Canadian Christian rock band Hawk Nelson will headline Adventist Health Bakersfield’s GospelFest on Sunday, Oct. 1, in the Spectrum Amphitheatre in The Park at River Walk on Stockdale Highway.

The band has won numerous awards, including two Canadian Gospel Music Association awards, multiple GMA Dove Award nominations and a prestigious JUNO nomination by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Hawk Nelson has released seven studio albums, with some climbing to the top of iTunes’ “Christian & Gospel” chart, as well as being listed in the top 100 overall albums.

Hawk Nelson will be joined at GospelFest by local groups Grace Upon Grace, RCC Worship Team, Dylan Dunlap and Discovery Worship. Gates to this free concert will open at 2:30 p.m. with performances beginning at 3 p.m. and continuing into the evening.

The free annual event gives the community a chance to hear top-quality Christian music and gives local artists a chance to share their talents and gain exposure for their work.

The event also will include food trucks, shopping opportunities and family fun, such as face painting for the kids. The first 1,000 people to enter will receive a pair of neon-colored Adventist Health sunglasses.

Adventist Health is organizing and funding GospelFest. Other sponsors include TBC Media. Spectrum Amphitheatre management company AEG is providing logistic support.

“The mission of Adventist Health Bakersfield is to live God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope,” explained Jimmy Phillips, Adventist Health Bakersfield’s executive director of marketing and communications.

“As a health care organization, we do this every day inside the walls of our hospital and clinics. But to live up to this high calling in an authentic way, we have to get outside of our facilities and into the community. GospelFest is a way for us to extend the mission of the hospital to the entire community, regardless of their health care needs,” Phillips said, noting that the event’s purpose is to provide a family day that is completely free and faith-driven. “We’ve been doing this for almost a decade and it never fails to inspire me as I see people of various backgrounds and denominations worshipping together. It’s easily one of my favorite days of the year.”

Each year, the amphitheater, which can accommodate 5,000 people, fills to capacity with GospelFest fans. Phillips said Adventist Health is expecting a capacity turnout for this year’s event.