RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — A summer tradition nearly 40 years strong in Rapid City is now in new hands.

LifeLight is taking over the management of the Hills Alive Christian music festival. What the merger means for both organizations in tonight’s Your Money Matters.

“Hills Alive has been a festival much like LifeLight on the other side of the state that happens in Rapid City, its been happening since 1985, they have an incredible legacy all on their own,” LifeLight CEO and Evangelist Josh Brewer said.

But this year 107.1 KSLT, the radio station managing Hills Alive, went in search of someone who could take over the event. 

“The discussion started within a couple of days after the Sioux Falls festival finished, we were all taking some time off and then we started getting these phone calls from people on the other side of the state asking if we’d take over Hills Alive,” Brewer said.

Wednesday they made it official, joining community leaders for the announcement at Rapid City’s Memorial Park.

“We are excited here in Rapid City to welcome LifeLight to our community and make sure the hills continue to be alive for many generations to come,” Rapid City Mayor Jason Salamun said.

Rapid City’s mayor says the event is a huge draw to the city on the third weekend of July every summer and is thrilled this Black Hills tradition will continue.

“To have people who know how that works come alongside and say, we’re not going to interrupt this at all, in fact 2024, we will continue to have hills alive right here in Rapid City, and that’s the great news today,” Salamun said.

“We don’t want to change much, but we want to add in a little bit of what LifeLight does and how LifeLight does things to the already incredible team that they have, so its just a great partnership.

LIfeLight says this doesn’t change anything about the Sioux Falls festival–that will still happen every Labor Day weekend on the east side of the state. Now they’ll just take over management of this west side music festival with a similar goal.

“For many years LifeLight and Hills Alive has reached hundreds of thousands of people across the state, now to be combining we only see great things in the future and many more lives changed,” Brewer said. “We want them to be free, and  we keep them free because we want no one to have a reason to not come to the events and hear the Gospel, that’s what we’re all about, that’s what our mission is.”

While these music festivals are free for the public to attend, it does take a lot of donations, volunteers and more to put on these festivals every year. An effort many say is well worth it for the impact it makes on all those who attend.