Disney has cancelled popular music festival “Night of Joy” after 35 years due to the fact that it is “too Christian” for modern audiences.
“Last year was our last event,” a spokeswoman for the event said Thursday.
Orlandosentinel.com reports: The event began in 1983 at Magic Kingdom, where it remained for most of its 35-year run. There was a two-year span at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and for the past two years, it had been held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. The second night of the 2017 event was called off because of the threat of Hurricane Irma.
Among the final performers last year were TobyMac and MercyMe. No lineup had been announced for a possible 2018 event.
Through the years, the festival — almost exclusively held in early September — has attracted big names of the Christian-music genre, including Steven Curtis Chapman, Amy Grant, Jars of Clay, Newsboys, Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, Kirk Franklin, Michael W. Smith, CeCe Winans, Stryper and Debby Boone.
It may have inspired a competitor. In 1998, Universal Studios started holding a two-night, extra-ticket event called Rock the Universe, featuring Christian artists. It will be held Sept. 7-8 this year. Among its 12 acts wil be Jesus Culture, TobyMac and Casting Crowns.
The elimination of the Night of Joy event was part of the resort’s philosophy of “continually changing our offerings,” the Disney World spokeswoman said.
Christian artists MercyMe and Tauren Wells will be in the Eat to the Beat concerts series, part of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival this year. Both artists will appear in six concerts over two nights in early September.