Reflecting On Chains Unchained 2021: Where Metal Meets Ministry

Chains Unchained Festival Banner Image

Chains Unchained 2021 is in the books, with the proceeds from this year going to charities like His Table Ministries. The festival featured a lineup with headliners Chaotic Resemblance and The Protest, along with Zahna and Bred 4 War, and introduced a fiery fan favorite metalcore band, Brotality.

Stonewall Static thrilled the crowd with their dazzling display of lights and high energy show

Rock On Purpose, one of the sponsors for the 2021 event, was represented at Chains Unchained by contributors Matt Durlin, Jessica Walker and Matt Sassano, along with photographer Chad Fenner.

Our team took some time to reflect on the highlights of the festival, and below you will also see some of the shots Chad captured throughout the 2 day event in Springfield, Missouri.

Bred 4 War vocalist rocks the crowd at Chains Unchained

Matt: This was my first time attending Chains Unchained, so I was not sure what to expect, other than that I knew I’d get an opportunity to finally see a live rock show again for the first time since 2019. 

I really enjoyed the festival and the way everything is set up for bands and attendees to interact and hang out, and how laid back yet well organized and well-run the entire thing feels. It’s really a unique experience that I haven’t been a part of before.

Chaotic Resemblance plays to a packed house on Friday night of Chains Unchained 2021

Jessica: This was my first year attending the festival as well! I was encouraged to attend Chains Unchained Festival after meeting Wayne Nale at an event in May; he was so friendly and warm, and I could tell that he was very passionate about the mission of the festival.  

Chains Unchained founder, Pastor Wayne Nale

Matt: Wayne’s passion for the rock community and the ministry is infectious. I was impressed by the enthusiasm of the attendees and the way fans engaged with one another as well as with the artists. Everyone really demonstrated that they cared for each other, and it felt like the epitome of what church is supposed to be like. 

What stood out to you about Chains Unchained?

Jessica: What I really liked about this festival was how it was really about quality— quality music, of course, but also quality opportunities to fellowship with other concert attendees and band members. The festival is held in a small space and draws a small crowd, but by the end of the festival it feels like a family, with a comfortability and familiarity.

Although most of the bands are heavy rock or metal, there were a surprising number of families with young children there. It was a really unique atmosphere, because it was both safe enough for parents and children to enjoy themselves, and wild enough for areas of moshing and circle pits to ensue.

Chad: And speaking about quality, Helium Productions (basically, the guys from Stonewall Static and their dad and siblings), did the light and sound, and the lighting was phenomenal. That made my job so much easier!

10-Divided Me-49.jpg
Divided Me performs with lighting and production provided by Helium Productions

Matt: My oldest son, Toby, really enjoyed the circle pits and moshing! My favorite part of the festival was seeing Zahna and The Protest live again, and also getting to hear and meet some bands I hadn’t heard of before.

The circle pit was open for moshing, stage diving and crowd surfing
Zahna performs on Friday night

Matt: Brotality, in particular, was such a great band to watch perform live, and I think they became a fast crowd favorite with their high-energy performance. I hadn’t seen Grave Robber before, and they put on a surprisingly solid show and really own the brand and zombie identity well on stage.

Grave Robber has a distinct image and brand while speaking truth from the stage
Scranton, Pennsylvania band Brotality made the trek to Missouri and became crowd favorites

What was a highlight of the festival for you?

Jessica: I did a stage dive with Josh Bramlett from The Protest at the end of their set! I’d never done anything like that before, but saw other people doing it throughout the festival and thought it could be fun to try once. I talked about it with Josh earlier that day, and he agreed to do it with me— that was really special. 

The Protest capped off the festival with a high octane performance
Rock On Purpose contributor Jessica Walker took a stage dive with The Protest vocalist Josh Bramlett during “Legacy”

Matt: Your stage dive with Josh was an epic way to end the festival! I am already looking forward to 2022!

Keep up with Chains Unchained to make sure you don’t miss year 5 in 2022 by following them on Facebook or by visiting their website.

All photos provided by Concert Fotos by Chad Fenner. To see more 2021 Chains Unchained photos from Concert Fotos, visit the highlight gallery.

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