Once a year, on a warm summer weekend in July, sounds of song and laughter can be heard from Memorial Park in Rapid City, South Dakota. If you haven’t yet experienced the energy and community surrounding Hills Alive, then 2022 is the year to go.

The festival, hosted by Rapid City’s 107.1 KSLT, is about spreading and enriching communities all over the country—and ultimately building the body of Christ. For Director Haley Powell, the community consists of many things: the staff, Corporate Sponsors, donors, volunteers, attendees, and returning music artists like Skillet, Jeremy Camp, and We Are Messengers. 

Powell put it this way: “[The festival] is not just for our community, but then the people that come to visit get to take that hope and encouragement home and transform their communities as well.”

36 Years of Free Black Hills Fun

That’s why Hills Alive is a ticket-free event. It gives people the freedom to take part in something amazing, something that invites them to discover the beauty of God’s love—perhaps for the first time. Hills Alive is for everyone, from the person who is strong in their faith who comes to Hills Alive to the passerby witnessing this music festival for the first time. 

The Hills Alive Music Festival first started in 1985 and continues to attract people and families from many states to take part in this weekend of music and worship. Bringing people together is part of the mission of Hills Alive. Powell said, “Our mission is to reach those who are hurting, lost, and need hope. That’s our goal.” 

Putting it All Together

The presence of community is what energizes Hills Alive, the volunteers, the artists, and the attendees. “God’s putting this all in place,” Powell said, “and so we invite people to come together and hear about Christ.”

But one of the most important aspects of this community isn’t something you might immediately notice. It’s the volunteers who deliver that fresh excitement, that love for Christ and for others, to the festival. “They’re the heart and soul of Hills Alive,” Powell said. “We have artists there sharing the gospel, but that wouldn’t happen if we didn’t have our staff and our volunteers that dedicate so many hours [to the festival].”

Generous Volunteers

Each year, approximately 300 volunteers help at Hills Alive, maintaining aspects of the festival from vendor relations to inflatables. The volunteers have a hand in the whole festival.

Powell said, “I think the times that I’ve really felt the most moved at Hills Alive is when I’m working alongside our volunteers and seeing the work that they put into it. Their passion and heart for people help bring meaningful experiences for the attendees at Hills Alive.”

After last year’s festival, one Hills Alive attendee shared, “God’s hand was truly on all the volunteers. To set that stage with so few was truly God’s hand at work. I would like to say thank you to all that donated so much of their time. So much goes into this and it is only through the love of Christ that it is even possible.”

Another attendee said, “I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit move each day. It was as if those at Hills Alive had a new sense of how important it is for us to have times together with brothers and sisters in Christ.”

Hills Alive 2022 is happening July 15th through 17th, featuring artists like Skillet, Jeremy Camp, Mac Powell, Jordan Feliz, We Are Messengers, and others. Check out the full schedule on our website. Want to get involved? If you feel moved to volunteer, submit an application. We’d love to see you!