While many students hit the clubs downtown this Friday and Saturday night as usual, a more wholesome kind of fun will be taking place at Universal Studios. Billed as Florida’s biggest Christian music festival, Rock the Universe (RTU) is back with a number of returning headliners, including Switchfoot, David Crowder Band, Third Day, Casting Crowns, and Relient K.
Since Relient K has made more appearances at the annual event than any other band, their frontman Matt Thiessen seemed just the person to ask about this year’s festival.
Much like many students may have fond memories of family vacations to Orlando’s theme parks, Thiessen likens this to “a little family trip;” although 14 people on a 12-passenger bus headed to play a major festival is not the typical little family trip by any means.
So what does a rock ‘n’ roll family most look forward to when returning to this vacation destination each year? According to Thiessen, “It’s mostly the familiarity… everyone is a year older, a year wiser. It’s a measuring stick to see how far we’ve come…” The band also looks back on their growth since their first Rock the Universe ten years ago. “I remember being really nervous the first time we played [RTU]. I was really intimidated,” Thiessen shared.
Relient K has won over many a fan since their first shot at rocking Universal, but how? Well, for Theissen it comes down to getting potential fans to realize “these guys aren’t a lame Christian band, [but] it’s hard to make people think you are cool when you are kind of a nerdy kid.” Nerdy or not, Relient K must have done something right. Thiessen says they “just try to be normal and friendly” without being “too preachy or in your face.” He says of the band’s beliefs, “[We] try and let it shine in our eyeballs.
Want to see for yourself? Relient K is playing Saturday night and you can find out more at www.rocktheuniverse.com.