CROWN OF THORNS FEST: Preps For Fourth Year

Crown Of Thorns Fest” gears up for their 4th annual rock festival

Story and photography: Roger W. Riveland

If you are looking for some great Christian music and want to attend a festival that will not break your budget, you need look no further than Billings, Montana’s “Crown Of Thorns” fest which is being held this year on July 13, 2024 in the 32 acre Pioneer Park. The festival is a one day event and is ‘FREE & OPEN’ to the public. No solicitation of money to fund the event is done at the event, but rather done throughout the year prior to the festival date, more on that a little later.

Attendees at Crown Of Thorns Fest 2024 will have a chance to hear legendary Christian guitarist, Rex Carroll, of the band “Whitecross” perform. This photo of Rex was taken in 2022 at another festival.

This writer attended last year’s Crown Of Thorns fest and was impressed by the professional stage set up and the way the event was put together. There were food and drink vendors on site and also a nicely set up area for the bands to merchandise their wares and do photos and autographs with attendees.

This summer’s fest features some hard hitting co-headliners, those being Whitecross and Zahna. Whitecross has recently released a new album entitled “Fear No Evil” and will no doubt be playing tunes off that as well as some of the old standbys. Zahna also has a new album out by the title “Stronger The Death”  There will be other bands as well doing sets though out the afternoon into early evening.

To give you a little history on how the Crown Of Thorns Fest was birthed we talk with Mark Solie. According to Solie, one of three friends and brothers in Christ (Mark, Ron and Dana) in 2020 they saw a need for a way to get the ‘good news’ of Jesus Christ out to the next generation. Their vision of using multiple ‘Christian Rock’ artists as a platform to bring the gospel in a fun, attractive way in the open atmosphere of a popular city park on a midsummer Saturday came alive.

“Even though great music is essential, the good news of Jesus Christ is paramount and the center of the event.” said Crown Of Thorns founding member Mark Solie.

“Every band brings with it their own style of music, communicating the gospel through testimonies, as well as the ‘full gospel’ presentation with invitations for others to join us (other Christians) on the journey in a relationship with Christ.” continued Solie.

There is still time for anyone anywhere who feels inclined to donate funding or sponsorship to help out with this year’s event.

They have some cool new merch for those who do donate. Check out their website click on the “Sponsorship” link. Choose a level from Bronze at $100 to Diamond to get your merch. Sponsorship’s and donations are critical for them to continue this ministry.

“Crown Of Thorns Fest” is sponsored by a Christian 501 (c) 3 non-profit named ‘PROJECT 22:9’ relating to the verse in Matthew 22:9 where Jesus instructs his followers to – “Go into the highways and byways inviting anyone and everyone to the banquet of the King” which we desire to exemplify” Solie said.

“We have a great crew of volunteers who keep us going from supporting the event with help in, catering, load in – load out, merch sales, security, as well as donors and marketing and promotion.” commented Solie. “We couldn’t do it without them and we appreciate all of the countless hours and effort they give sacrificially. We are also grateful to the several local churches who support our efforts and join us in putting shoes on the gospel feet.”

2021 was the first year of the Crown Of Thorns Fest and they are looking forward to their 4th annual excursion this July 13, 2024. Will you be in attendance?  They hope you will and that you will bring a friend for some amazing music, fellowship, food and memories. Pioneer Park, Billings is located at 301 Parkhill Drive.

Crown Of Thorns may be contacted through their facebook page: or their website:

Mark Solie can be contacted at: or by calling (406) 671-3216

Sarah Anthony, lead vocalist of the Christian band “The Letter Black” sings at the Crown Of Thorns Fest in July of 2023

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