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Festival road trip: REALFest is July 25 to 27 in Carroll

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REALFest 2014, a Christian Music Festival benefiting adoption and foster care, will take place on July 25 through July 27 on the grounds of the soccer complex at Carroll Community Schools in Carroll, Iowa. The REAL in REALFest stands for Really Embracing Another's Life. The inaugural three-day festival will feature live music, vendors, a bicycle ride, a motorcycle ride, seminars, kid's activities, camping, and more. Tickets for REALFest are $32 for anyone 12 and over, $10 for kids ages 8 to 11, and kids 7 and younger are free. Tent camping is free (register the number of tents when purchasing tickets), and an RV camping package with electric hook-up and 4 event tickets is available for $150. Youth leader and VIP packages are also available. All tickets may be purchased through the REALFest website.

REALFest 2014 is advertising Plumb, Mark Schultz, and For King & Country as headliners for the event (even though they all perform on Day 2.) Plumb, born Tiffany Arbuckle Lee, is a crossover Christian/adult contemporary/alternative/dance artist based out of Nashville. The Dove Award winner has also found mainstream success, placing four songs in the Top 10 of the Dance chart (including the #1 smash "Hang On), and one in the Top 10 of the Adult Contemporary chart. Plumb's latest album, Need You Now, came out last year and peaked at #2 on the Christian Album chart.

Mark Schultz is a 14-time Dove Award nominee and a 2006 winner. Schultz has racked up twelve Top 10 Christian singles, including the #1's "He's My Son", "Back in His Arms Again", "Letters From War", "He Will Carry Me", and "What It Means To Be Loved". He also has three #1 albums to his credit. Schultz released his latest album, simply entitled Hymns, back in March.

For King & Country, composed of Australian-born brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, is a Christian pop duo now based out of Nashville. The brothers' 2012 debut album Crave peaked at #4 on the Christian chart. In 2013, the band was nominated for 6 GMA Dove Awards and won in the category "New Artist of the Year". For King & Country released their third EP, Into the Silent Night: The EP, in 2013, and they have a new full-length studio album due out later this year. The band has two Top 10 Christian singles to their credit, "Busted Heart (Hold On To Me)" and "The Proof of Your Love".

Perhaps the REALFest band with the most interesting back-story is Everfound. According to their band bio, the Denver-based band of Russian-born brothers' parents grew up in Russia listening to Christian broadcasts from radio stations just outside the Russian borders. Their great uncle spent 20 years in a Russian prison for owning a Bible, and their father told them stories of being harassed and chased by police dogs after being discovered hiding in the forest for weekly Bible studies. The band released three EPs and one full-length album independently before signing to a major label and releasing a full-length self-titled album last year. Everfound peaked at #9 on the Christian chart, and the album's lead single “Never Beyond Repair” landed in the Top 20 of the Christian chart. You can check out Everfound in action in the nearby video.

The festival's musical lineup also includes Zachary Freedom (Zach Svoboda), Chris Day, As We Are, Bread of Stone, The Crossing, The Reverend Jimmie Bratcher, Medic, Michael James Band, Piercing the Darkness, Willet, and Becca McCann & The Essies. The festival's hours and activity/music schedules are on the nearby REALFest flyer. To get more information on the inaugural REALFest in Carroll, or to make a donation, go to the festival's website.

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