Since 2004, folks in Williamson have gathered for a night of music and community at Pneumafest, a free Christian music festival. Pneumafest gets its name from the ancient Greek word “Pneuma”, which can mean both “breath” and “soul”. In this case, the creators use it to mean “Breath of God”. “Pneumafest was started 16 years ago...it started as an outdoor event in August of every year,” explains Randy Workman, the President of Pneumafest’s Board of Directors. “It’s a free admission concert to hear national acts that normally would cost a family $150 - $250 for one evening of entertainment.”
As president, Randy helps to plan the event, negotiate contracts with performers, and fundraise the event, but in his opinion, it’s a group effort. “To be honest, I really do nothing different from any other board member of Pneumafest, I just carry the title. Everyone involved is a blessing and brings their special skills to the table.” Members of Pneumafest’s board stay in touch with local churches and businesses early in the year to gather donations. “For every tour that comes to this event, you can figure that there are at least $20,000 - $25,000 that has been donated by local businesses and churches,” Randy says. Members also organize transport, lodging, food, and security for the musicians at the event.
Through the years, Pneumafest has seen some changes. The festival was originally an outdoor concert and has since moved indoors. It’s also seen some businesses and churches become regular contributors to fundraising efforts.
Not Just a Concert
For Randy, what makes this event special is seeing the Christian community in Williamson gather despite their differences. “Seeing the community and churches coming together for a night of worship no matter the name over the church doors,” is a favorite part of the festival for him. In his opinion, the night of music and worship is a way to bring hope to a community that has struggled. “So many in our community have struggled through difficult economic times, and almost every family has been affected in some way by the drug problems in our area.” Says Randy. “Pneumafest is not just a night of concerts with amazing musical talent, it is an opportunity to encourage people to have hope.”