One hundred and seventy Angels will be attending Leeds Festival later this month.
Leeds Festival is one of the UK's major music festivals with headlining acts including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foals and Fall Out Boy. The event, at Bramham Park on the outskirts of Leeds, attracts around 85,000 people over August Bank Holiday weekend.
Festival Angels was launched in 2011 as a prayer cafe by churches local to the Leeds Festival site. Since then the concept has grown and now the Festival Angel team of volunteers run a prayer cafe, detached teams and lost property and have become a valued part of the Leeds Festival organisation.
The prayer cafe aims to provide a safe place at the festival site and includes a mug deal for £5 with unlimited refills of tea and coffee throughout the weekend alongside areas for people to pray and discover more about the Christian faith through specially printed "Jesus Loves Festivals" editions of Mark's Gospel.
Lost property went viral in 2015 when an image on social media showing the numbers of passports, driving licenses, mobile phones, wallets/purses, car keys and bank cards helped reunite the majority of items with owners.
The detached teams, based on the Street Angels model, wander around the massive festival site interacting with the festival-goers offering help and assistance including help putting up tents, giving out sun tan lotion, and helping people navigate the site. The team also offers hot drinks and biscuits to the security teams who are positioned around the festival site.
Reverend Andy Nicholson, coordinator of Festival Angels and vicar in Thorner, the nearest village to the festival site, comments,
"Festival Angels is now into its sixth year and each year our team of volunteers and the services we offer has increased. As Christians from across the North of England we are hoping to show that Jesus Loves Festivals and through joining in the fun and life of the festival we aim to help break down some of the misconceptions people, especially young people, have of the church and Christian faith. It is a privilege to be able to serve some of the 85,000 people who become part of our neighbourhood for that weekend."
More information is at www.leedsfestivalangels.org.uk with updates and pictures throughout the weekend posted at www.facebook.com/festivalangels and www.twitter.com/festivalangels. Leeds Festival 2016 website.
Top photo and home page banner courtesy of Magdalena Szymanska.