The Ichthus Music Festival is Back!
Creation Festivals Helps Keep the Ichthus Festival Legacy Alive!
The longest-running Christian music festival in the nation will return in 2014 as a part of the Creation family of festivals.
Creation Festivals, which produces three other Christian music festivals in the U.S., is keeping the Ichthus Festival legacy alive.
“We really wanted to help continue the Ichthus ministry tradition,” said Creation’s Co-Founder and Director, Pastor Harry Thomas. “Ichthus is the original Christian music festival, and in some ways, every Christian festival owes a debt of gratitude to the innovators who started it in 1970.
“It’s also a festival that’s known nationally for its high-impact ministry. We wanted to pay tribute to the festival by helping continue its ministry legacy.”
The Ichthus Festival will continue in 2014 with the same core values and some of the same traditions that have made it such a beloved event over the past 43 years. But Ichthus fans will also find some exciting, innovative changes at the festival as well.
“We want to build on Ichthus’ incredible history while also adapting to some of the things that have changed in our culture in recent years,” said Creation festivals producer, Bill Darpino. “We’re going to do some innovative things that will complement and add to the Ichthus legacy.”
One of the biggest changes for the festival is that it will now be held in the fall rather than the summer. The date is set for September 26-28 in 2014, making Ichthus one of only a few multi-day fall Christian music festivals.
“Summer has become an increasingly busy time for youth groups, families, and attendees of all kinds,” Darpino said. “It’s also the hottest time of year, which makes festivals less enjoyable. We’re offering a summer-like event in the fall when the weather is not as hot.”
Darpino also said the 2014 festival may take place at the Kentucky Horse Park, just north of Lexington, Kentucky, near the intersection of I-75 (to Cincinnati and Knoxville) and I-64 (to Louisville and parts of West Virginia).
“The Kentucky Horse Park is a world-class venue and it would be one of the premiere festival destinations in the nation,” Darpino said.
The Kentucky Horse Park will accommodate families and church groups alike with paved walkways, a beautiful RV park, on-site restaurants, indoor and outdoor concert venues, groomed camping fields, beautiful walkways with ponds and fountains, shops and a museum, and easy access from cities in all direction from Lexington.
“It would provide a wonderful backdrop for the festival while representing Kentucky as the horse capital of the world,” Darpino said.
While the new festival promises innovative changes, Darpino is quick to add that some things won’t be changing. For one thing, Ichthus’ former director, Mark Vermilion, will continue to lead the festival and be a part of Creation’s leadership team.
Darpino said Vermilion was the driving force behind keeping the festival alive and has been a great asset to the Creation team.
“We really wanted to make sure we had a strong leader in place for the festival,” Darpino said. “We especially wanted a leader who understands the Ichthus legacy and the local community. Mark brings that understanding along with a ministry heart and a passion for innovation and excellence. He’s been a great addition to the Creation festivals team.”
Vermilion will not be the only familiar face working with the festival. Most of Ichthus’ volunteer leadership staff will continue leading the festival and other Ichthus events.
“That was really important to me,” Vermilion said. “It was important to the Creation team as well. Ichthus has had one of the best volunteer operational teams that I know of. Our volunteer leaders are competent, committed and have a great chemistry together. We’re like a family, and we’re excited that we get to continue serving together under the Creation umbrella.”
Vermilion said he was amazed at how Creation’s organizational values and Ichthus’ long-standing festival values were in harmony. He specifically pointed to their shared values of ministry focus, operational excellence, and futuristic vision.
Vermilion also noted that Creation brings a lot of festival experience and financial strength to Ichthus.
“We’re bringing two of the most well-known and successful festival brands together under one banner, and we’re combining our festival experience! That’s pretty exciting!” Vermilion said.
Both Ichthus and Creation have long and fruitful histories. Ichthus was started in 1970 by Asbury Seminary professor Paul Lyons and some of his students who wanted to create an alternative to Woodstock. It was the first event of its kind.
Pastor Thomas co-founded Creation Northeast in Central Pennsylvania less than a decade later in 1979. Creation Northeast is now the largest Christian festival in the nation. Creation produces several other festivals—including Creation Northwest and Sonshine—in the U.S. and abroad.
In addition to re-launching the Ichthus Festival in 2014, Vermilion said the Creation-Ichthus team is also working on fall concert events. They’re tentatively calling it the “Road to Ichthus Tour” with stops in different cities within a four-hour radius of the Ichthus Festival in Central Kentucky.
According to Vermilion: “We’re not just thinking about this year or next year; we’re thinking about our long-term future as well. We want to make sure that we take the proper time to plan and regroup in 2013 with an eye toward 2014 and beyond.”
Vermilion said it’s important that Ichthus fans support the new festival.
“We’ve learned the hard way that there are no guarantees that this festival or any other will be around for the next year,” Vermilion said. “It’s absolutely critical that Ichthus fans—old and new—come out and support the new festival.”
“Mark your calendar for Ichthus on September 26-28, 2014 and plan to bring others out to hear great teaching and great music! The Ichthus Festival has always been a great outreach for churches and youth groups, as well as a great place for families and adults of all ages. That won’t change!”
For more information and continued updates, keep checking the Ichthus website at www.ichthusfestival.org.
And to learn more about Creation Festivals, go to www.creationfest.com.