CoolyRocksOn rock'n'roll and vintage car festival – this red Ford was one of many such cars on display
The 2017 CoolyRocksOn open air church service was 'awash' as the heavens opened Saturday afternoon and into the evening and the open air Thrifty Stage electrics exploding - causing officials to cancel every 'event' 'til 12noon on Sunday 11 June.
This decision included the open air church service scheduled for the first time in the 'open air' at the Thrifty Stage adjacent to the Coolangatta Surf Club – there are usually 150,000 visitors to Australia's largest nostalgia rock'n'roll and vintage car display.
Word got around very quickly to those attending CoolyRocksOn that everything had been shut down 'til 12noon the following day, officials let the key people know from the church service and they in turn did their best to let locals know.
On Sunday I went down to the Thrifty Stage in case people did come – and they did – it was obvious with the continual downpours it was an inevitable decision.
Thrifty Stage at CoolyRocksOn where the Church Service was to be held – the electrics were soaked
CoolyRocksOn Church Service
The annual CoolyRocksOn Church Service has been part of this June long weekend festivities for years with the service originally held in the local Coolangatta St Peter's Anglican Church. It closed a few years ago and a CoolyRocksOn board member, a taxi driver asked me (driving home from the airport after another mission trip) to reignite the church service.
Then CoolyRocksOn Event CEO Bob Newman jumped at it and it was scheduled in the big marquee four years ago and its gone from strength to strength with remarkable joyous attendances. At the 2016 CoolyRocksOn Church Service, after three very stressful years at the helm, I indicated I'd be getting a new young preacher for 2017.
Meanwhile the CoolyRocksOn organisation was incorporated into Southern Gold Coast Tourism. A whole lot of changes came about for 2017. The CoolyRocksOn festival was reduced from 9 days back to 5, only Wednesday to Monday 7-12 June. The marquee was dispensed with where the church service was held, and all such events were assigned outdoor stages. The person who was the Events Coordinator for four years moved on and a new team came in.
I met with the new Events Coordinator on Thursday 8 June and there were no concrete wet weather plans. I asked could the CoolyRocksOn Church Service be held inside the Coolangatta Surf Club if wet, but nothing came of that suggestion. A huge wet weather pattern was moving up the NSW coast and hit Coolangatta Saturday afternoon.
A regular local support group of the CoolyRocksOn Church Service met for coffee at Thrifty Stage.
A regular local support group of the CoolyRocksOn Church Service met for coffee adjacent to Thrifty Stage on Sunday morning at 8.15am as the service would have commenced at 8.30am. The rain came down 'on and off' in bucket loads. There were nonetheless numerous people milling about or walking past looking for, it seemed the church service.
Those who met were – from the left
Ken Harris (band leader), Gavin and Jan Lawrie, Vanessa Sprague and Phil Black, behind is Corinne Panney of the Gold Coast Christian Newspaper 'Informed' and me (Dr Mark Tronson) the service leader. Rev Dave from the local Living Temple Christian Church (Baptist) was to have been the preacher.
Vanessa Sprague bought this group up to date on her son Lachie Smart, successful solo flight around the world last year July and August – which she spoke of at last year's CoolyRoclsOn Church Service.
All this raises the issue of requesting the new team at Southern Gold Coast Tourism for the resurrection of the big marquee for the astonishing and remarkable CoolyRocksOn Church Service.
Sunshine Coast Vanessa Sprague is a regular at the CoolyRocksOn Church Service
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at