To the Editor:
Mountain Fest II on Aug. 6 in Bonners Ferry was sponsored by Mountain Springs Church. Kudos to them and their many volunteers for a wonderful event!
The big draw for me was Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers. When Larry and the boys did eventually appear at the end of the evening, they did a couple of gospel numbers followed by a 10-minute sermon by the pastor of Mountain Springs. Upon taking the stage again, Larry Gatlin was tense and got into a verbal sparring match with an audience member who was perhaps a little too exuberant for Larry’s liking. A short time later, Larry took on the whole audience, saying, “C’mon, folks. Don’t act like you haven’t heard these songs before. They were all big hits.” The Gatlins then settled in and took us on a journey through 57 years of their storied careers on stage. Great vocal harmonies and very talented musicians.
At times I wanted to jump up and move my body to the tunes but I felt I would have been the only one. The one thing that did get the audience out of their seats was a song dedicated to the veterans of America’s armed forces. Larry Gatlin prompted us to rise.
At the very end of the evening, it felt like the ice was about to break when a small number of younger concert goers found their courage and moved right in front of the stage in order to move to the music. Larry shut them down, immediately sending them to their seats. Just like that, the concert ended and it left me wondering if “from the top down, we’ll tell you what to think” brands of religion like the one Larry and the Gatlins represent is going to cut it for the next generation of Americans.
Larry Gatlin appears to take his religion way too seriously and last night it made him uptight and out of touch with an important part of his audience.