Less a band than a brand, the British Soul Survivor organization oversees a number of Christian music festivals for young people, and has grown into a huge global concern with annual events in seven countries, numerous workshops and outreach programs, and a slew of album releases on its own label.
Soul Survivor was born in 1993 from the New Wine Christian family conference held annually in Somerset, England, which had grown to such an extent that its organizers decided to launch a separate event specifically for young people. The initial idea was dreamed up by church leader Mike Pilavachi and Matt Redman, a member of his youth group. Redman led the worship at many of the early events and would go on to become of one of Britain's best-loved CCM artists. The first event, in 1993, was more of a conference, while the festival proper started in 1995. The first was attended by approximately 2,000 people. By the mid-2010s, it was estimated that as many as 35,000 people annually attended Soul Survivor events from as far afield as Australia and the Netherlands. In 2004 a spin-off event, Momentum, was launched for people in their twenties who had outgrown the teen-oriented main festival. Alongside all this, the original family-oriented New Wine event continued.
Survivor Records was launched in 1997. Initially created to release live worship albums recorded at the Soul Survivor events, it went on to release albums by some of the U.K.'s biggest names in CCM, among them Vicky Beeching, One Hundred Hours, Phatfish, YFriday, and the aforementioned Matt Redman. Every year, a "house band" was convened for each festival, with the worship led by the likes of Beth Croft, Tim Hughes, and Rend Collective. Credited as "featured" artists on the recordings, many of them went on to become highly successful in their own right. ~ John D. Buchanan