Sodom and Gomorrah on the Water.
Updated: Mar 7
By: Randy Grathen
For decades one of the most popular places to go by boat at the Lake of the Ozarks MO was a place called Party Cove, more commonly referred to as “Sodom and Gomorrah on the Water.” College students and families descended on the lake area in record numbers every summer, especially on weekends. It was gaining a reputation that attracted people from around the country who “checked their brains” at the city limits and did things they would never do back home. Little kids, teens and young adults were getting an education in debauchery as drunkenness and nudity was the order of the day.
Many of our community leaders and business owners were becoming concerned about the reputation this was creating for the lake, and decided to come up with an alternative reason for people to come here. Some safe, sane, and wholesome activity the whole family could enjoy. Thus, Crossover Christian Music Festival was born in 1999. It has become the biggest 3-day Christian music event in the lake area.
One of the most memorable shows, and there were many, was a typical hot muggy Saturday evening in August. The attendees at this 10,000-seat outdoor amphitheater sit facing west so the stage blocks the setting sun and provides some much-needed shade towards the end of the day.
On this sultry night, a large thunderstorm was brewing off to the west unseen by the attendees. We were keeping a close eye on the storm, tracking it as it moved towards us. In the case of severe weather at an event like this, we would have to announce to the crowd that they have the option to go to their vehicles and wait out the storm, then come back for the continuation of the performance, or they could choose to go home.
Internet and cell-phone coverage in “the bowl” at that time was spotty at best, so we were unable to watch the radar. Jim McDermott, the station manager at the local Christian radio station (Spirit FM) was a big supporter of Crossover, and the station was just a few blocks from the venue. Jim went back to the station, watched the radar, and called in weather updates to the production office back at the amphitheater.
As the sky faded to twilight, the band took the stage to resounding applause to close out the event. While they performed, the storm continued on its course headed directly for the amphitheater, and spreading wider and wider across the horizon. We were quickly reaching the point where we would have to interrupt the show in order to give people time to decide what they wanted to do. We now had about 15 minutes left. Do we interrupt the concert?
Suddenly, we receive a frantic call from Jim. Expecting the worse, Misti, the production manager, answered her cellphone. Jim said, “it’s breaking up. It's splitting in half!”
The storm never reached the amphitheater that night. We went out onto the loading dock at the back of the building and watched the lightning began to move farther and farther to the north and south opening up to a perfectly clear starry sky above. It split in two, went around us by a wide margin, and regrouped behind us. The band finished the show singing their latest hit single under a perfectly clear sky.
It was a was an unforgettable evening…
The storm regrouped and hit Osage Beach to the east of us. It was one of the worse hailstorms to hit the lake area in memory. It dimpled the hood, roof and trunks of countless vehicles and broke car windows. It broke the windows of houses and completely shredded the vinyl siding on the west side of homes and buildings. It stripped the leaves off trees and flattened plants and shrubbery. No one at the concert knew what had happened all around them that night. God put a bubble over the amphitheater and protected us all as the band and the crowd sang praises to God.
P.S. Crossover Christian Musical Festival started the movement to once again make the lake area a family-friendly destination. Party Cove attendance as dropped significantly over the last few years. Many lake-side restaurants have created sandy beach areas, installed volleyball courts, swing-sets, wading areas for the kids, games, and much, much more. We even have ocean-going off-Shore boat races. There is so much to see and do at the lake.
Fulfilling spiritual and physical needs with music, worship and outreach
In 2018 we believed God was asking us to do more than a “one and done” annual music festival.
We were called to support our new mission of promoting unity among our churches with worship and outreach. That year, Crossover hosted the first-ever, all-community worship service at the Ozarks Amphitheater, with nearly 2000 people in attendance on Sunday morning, September 16, 2018. We had 27 different churches represented that first year. The Sunday Worship team was comprised of musicians and vocalists from churches all over our local area, providing a unified sense of togetherness. Rather than focusing on our differences, we focus on our common bond through the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
To honor our local pastors, we host an annual dinner free of charge for pastors and their spouses. It is amazing to see these godly men and women fellowshipping, laughing, and enjoying meeting each other's company. We believe this is a positive step in building unity in the body of Christ (Ephesians 4).
Finally, the Lord has opened our eyes to the growing population of homeless teenagers in our area. Officials tell us that over 300 of our teens are considered homeless and often have to resort to nightly “couch surfing” for survival. We believe we have been called to be a vehicle of community awareness as well as a funding source for “Teen Harbor”, a safe place for our homeless teenagers.
Transforming lives by serving the community with love and nope.
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