• January 19, 2020

Ministry looks to prayer after Rock the Desert - Odessa American: Religion

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Ministry looks to prayer after Rock the Desert

Founders, board members look at future after two decades of concerts

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  • Rock The Desert

    Demon Hunter's bassist Jon Dunn performs at Rock The Desert music festival Thursday, Aug. 3, 2018, in Midland.

Posted: Sunday, July 21, 2019 5:00 am

Allison Tull sees Rock the Desert as an official member of her family.

The 30-year-old director of development and ministry operations with Rock the Desert Ministries has seen the annual Christian music festival blossom its inaugural one-day event in the parking lot of Holy Trinity Episcopal, to a multiday event that draws thousands of visitors to celebrate and spread the word of Jesus Christ.

With her parents founding the event, Tull, the oldest of four siblings, said Rock the Desert has been a part of her life since she was in the fourth grade, and has been helping plan the event in some form or another.

“We’ve always known as kids that summer time, when we’re out of school … it was also the time my parents started revving up for the festival,” Tull said.

This year, Rock the Desert will celebrate its 20th year, scheduled to start Aug. 1 and run through Aug. 3. Tull said the event, on average, brings in thousands of people from around the country. General admission tickets are currently on sale starting at $25.

But while the festival has been a staple in West Texas for two decades, Tull, along with her mother, Marcy Tull, said this may be the event’s last year for the foreseeable future.

Marcy Tull, who said she books the bands for Rock the Desert, said the idea of taking a break was brought in during a board retreat two years ago. The group was discussing the growth of the Midland and Odessa communities, Marcy Tull said, and what the annual concert has done for the area.

Then in February, Marcy Tull said the board voted to not hold the festival in 2020, and instead wanted to focus and pray on the future of the ministry.

“It could be the festival comes back in a different form … but we wanted to focus more on our missions and outreach,” March Tull said, adding the ministry has also built an orphanage in Sudan and a home for a family in Mission, Texas.

Outside of the outreach programs and missions, Marcy and Allison Tull said there are currently no other large-scale events planned through Rock the Desert Ministries. The organization opened a skate park in 2014, which Marcy Tull said also hosts an annual summer camp. This year’s camp, Marcy Tull added, had about 25 children register.

While the organization does not have any future events planned, Allison Tull said the organization is always looking for volunteers. She added anyone interested in volunteering in the future can submit a request on the Rock the Desert website.

The Tulls said the future of the event is still up in the air, adding everyone is praying on the next decisions and what the future holds for the ministry.

“We feel like it’s time to re-evaluate and take a rest … and see what the Lord has planned for the ministry,” Marcy Tull said.

For Allison Tull, she said she has been “emotional” about the upcoming event and what the future holds. She said Rock the Desert has been a big part of her life, and is used to having people come up to her and telling them their stories and experiences while attending the event.

With this possibly being the last Rock the Desert, Tull said their goal is to try to make this event their best one yet.

“We’ve been praying so much that this year is going to be the best year … and I think there’s been so much buzz that it can be the last one,” she said. “ … I think it’s going to bring a lot of old fans to the ministry.”

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