John Stott headlines a British rock concert with pop singer Cliff Richard.

When Dr. John R. W. Stott was asked what a respected theologian, whose hobby is bird watching, was doing at a rock concert, he chuckled and replied, “I’m thrilled to be here.”

Stott, well-known British evangelical author and lecturer, was one of the main speakers at Greenbelt ’83, a large-scale Christian arts festival held August 26 to 29 near London.

Over 28,000 people from the United Kingdom, Western Europe, Scandinavia, the United States and Canada streamed into Knebworth Park, the wooded estate of a British lord, for the tenth annual Greenbelt Festival.

When the festival was first held in a farmer’s field in 1974, its 2,000 participants were met by 600 police officers ordered by nervous residents. Since then, Greenbelt has gained a reputation in Britain as a peaceful, trouble-free pop festival. Only four uniformed officers were on duty this year.

John Gooding, chairman of the Greenbelt Executive Committee, said, “Essentially Greenbelt is a post-conversion event. Christians come to celebrate their faith, and learn how to make it relevant. We use an arts festival as a vehicle of communication to produce Christians who think, and who attempt to relate their faith to all areas of life and culture.”

A carnival atmosphere pervaded Knebworth Park. Acres of multi-colored tents covered the camping area. Sellers of Christian books, records and tapes did a booming business. Lines of campers waited patiently for lavatories, telephones and food stands. Crowds gathered around the hair stylists’ tent, where people could have their hair temporarily dyed punk-fashion.

Organized like a multi-ring circus, daily activities ranged from Bible studies and debates, to dance ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.

Tags:
Issue: