The sun shone, but the rain came, tents that felt impervious to all that could be thrown at them, at once collapsed in a soggy pile only to rise once more as the sun fought back. With the rain teasing and threatening for the entirety of the festival, the sun fought bravely on and ultimately was around long enough for everyone to leave feeling that maybe, just maybe the sun just nicked that fight on points. Summer Madness has ended for another year, those tents that survived where taken down dry and everyone left tired and happy with memories of a weekend well spent! There where some incredible speakers Miriam Swaffield, Patrick Regan, Barry Forde and Jasper Rutherford graced the main stage to explore what Jesus meant when he gave us the beatitudes. There where seminars covering a range of topics from a beginners guide to Christianity to relationships, money, heaven and hell and many more. There where tents filled with cafes and music and people galore, YFC provided an alternative worship space and some great pool and table tennis tables, CIYD offered respite to damp and harried leaders and the general buzz around the campsite was infectious! Oh yes, and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness dropped by for a chat.
At DDYC we welcomed a team of 14 from Albany Diocese and after a few days of rest and sight seeing, put them to work setting up tents and then over Summer Madness serving (the best) hot chocolate and feeding hundreds at the Bishops BBQ!
We had a great time, the Bishop's 4th of July American Celebration BBQ was a roaring success with over 450 happy customers getting the 'best burgers in Northern Ireland' (quote anyone that has been to Jacksons Butchers), along with pulled pork or chilli topping and a few other little extras, not to mention being served by the Bishop! We served proper hot chocolate to people coming back to the campsite at night, handing out over 150 cups of the stuff each night of summer madness, all done with a hint of American Albany flair! It was brilliant to have over 300 young people from Down and Dromore come to Summer Madness, along with leaders that dedicated the weekend to spending time with them and cooking and caring for them. We where sorry to see the end of the festival but it leaves us excited and eager to see what Summer Madness 2016 might bring!