Skillet is headlining the 2018 Winter Jam tour, which stops at CenturyLink Center in Bossier City on March 10.

The Grammy-nominated band Skillet is returning to Bossier City as the headliner on this year’s Winter Jam Tour, which stops March 10 at the CenturyLink Center.

Winter Jam also includes internationally renowned worship leader Kari Jobe, Building 429, hip-hop artist KB, NewSong, Jordan Feliz and author and evangelist Nick Hall.

John Cooper of Skillet said this is the band’s fourth appearance on the tour, and the third as the headliners. He said the variety of musical styles in the lineup is a large part of the tour’s appeal.

“I keep coming back because I love winter Jam,” Cooper said. “It is a really unique tour. One of the things people realize is that Christian music is the genre, rather than rock or pop. So a lot of people listen to all of it, because it’s all within this genre. There’s everything from urban to worship to Skillet.”

As a veteran of Winter Jam tours, Cooper said it’s fun for him to travel and perform with old friends and make new ones as well.

“I’m friends with most everybody on the tour,” he said. “We’ve toured before with Kari Jobe and Building 429. KB is someone I really like and didn’t know before this tour. Winter Jam becomes like family.”

For the first time, Winter Jam will feature a comedian — John Crist.

Comedian John Crist

“We didn’t know how it would be received,” Cooper said. “But the crowds have been unbelievable. It gives the people a break from the music. Otherwise, those bands will hit you back to back for four hours.”

Christ said he has enjoyed being the only comedian in the lineup.

“It’d be harder for me if there were four comedians in front of me,” he said. “And I think the bands appreciate it. It’s been incredible.”

Crist has toured with follow comedians before, including Tim Hawkins, Jeff Foxworthy, and Henry Cho. He also produces comedy sketches on his YouTube channel. Christ said he enjoys both.

“There’s benefits to each one,” he said. “With sketches there is more planning involved. You have a script, hire actors, cameramen and editing. You can really tighten it up. Live standup is a little bit more messy. A joke could fail live. You’re kind of protected in the sketches. There isn’t so much embarrassment. In a live show, when a joke doesn’t work, adrenaline is irreplaceable.”

From the comedy to the music, Cooper said there is a common thread throughout the Winter Jam lineup that appeals to crowds of all ages, races and genders. That thread is hope.

“Christian music has been made fun of and degraded because it just sounds so happy,” Cooper said. “I remember when Skillet was first going to mainstream radio. In the ’90s, you didn’t hear hopeful rock songs. Throughout the years you began seeing that in mainstream music, Now people want to be uplifted. Whether it was purposeful or just who we are, we write about the light at the end of the tunnel. Wanting to find the light is a topic that people really need in their lives.”

Cooper said fans who have seen Skillet before can expect lots of new things from this tour. He said that’s one reason he enjoys returning to Bossier City.

“Truthfully, there are so many cities you can get them confused,” he said. “Bossier City’s an annual stop because it’s a hardcore fan base. I do love coming. It’s great to see the faithful fans, and when you do, you want to come back.”

The doors open at 6 p.m. for a pre-jam party. The show begins at 7 p.m. All seats are general admission and $15 at the door. There are no advanced tickets sales. For more information, visit jamtour.com.

CenturyLink Center guests are advised to arrive early and only bring necessary items to the event to expedite screenings. All patrons, employees, vendors and visitors will be required to enter a security checkpoint for bag check and metal detection prior to entry. Patrons will be limited to small bags maximum 6 inches by 9 inches or smaller. Small Medical bags or diaper bags will be permitted, as well as clear bags larger than 6 by 9. All bags will be searched and no backpacks are allowed. There will also be an entrance that will provide faster entry for patrons with no bags.

Please note that the following items are prohibited from being brought in to this event: video cameras or recording devices, backpacks, laser pointers or noise makers, weapons of any kind, alcoholic Beverages, Illegal Drugs or Paraphernalia, Selfie Sticks, Lap Top Computers or Tablets, Coolers, Luggage of any kind or Camera Bags. Other items may be prohibited.

By Scott Anderson