I drove to Wilmore, Kentucky Thursday afternoon to meet the youth group (and my wife) at Ichthus. Ichthus is a Christian music festival that has been hosted by Asbury College since 1970. There are about 20,000 people attending the event this year. Like many other large music festivals, you sleep in tent city at night and reside in the venue all day listening to music and speakers. There are four stages at this year’s show. We had 34 in our group (26 youth and 8 adults).
I arrived at 10:00pm, so I missed all of the acts on Thursday. The youth said that Skillet put on a good show.
Justin Lookadoo – Amanda wanted me to listen to Justin Lookadoo with her. This is the first time I have heard him speak. There is an edge to his message that most youth and young adults need to hear –
- Girls like guys that actually do something, so guys need to quit playing video games and start getting a life.
- You are going to get treated like you are dressed. Girls can not be selective at who they want to “notice” them when they wear clothes that accentuate their goods. You will have guys from age 8 to 88 staring and maybe creeping you out. Guys can’t go into a job interview bustin slack in their pants with a hat on backwards. You will get treated like a punk kid if you dress like one.
Matthew Sleeth – Dr. Sleeth lives in Wilmore, KY and is a visible part of this festival. His daughter, Emma, goes to Asbury college. Dr. Sleeth’s book Serve God, Save the Planet is the best book that I have read on creation care and why Christians have to lead this cause. His book presents Biblical evidence of our mandate to care for the Earth. He breaks the current creation care problems down into many different areas (water pollution, energy efficiency, technology, air quality, toxins, …) and describes the situation without being preachy or political. Anyway, he was a breakout session speaker. His message was content taken from his book, good but nothing special. The Q&A afterwards was really good. I also spent about two hours Friday and another two on Saturday volunteering with the recycling group that was sorting plastic bottles and cans from the trash. Its amazing how much bottled liquid we waste. I would say on average, a plastic bottled had 20% of the liquid still in the bottle in the trash (water, soda, etc).
Philmont – Great band I saw at one of the smaller stages. They sound like a mix of Jimmy Eat World, Blink 182, and the Get Up Kids. Pretty energetic sound that doesn’t sound manufactured in a garage. I bought their EP and listen to it while driving home.
I wondered around the venue quite a Saturday morning and afternoon. Some of the shows that kept my attention include
Family Force 5 – Wow! First time I had seen these guys. Pretty heavy music (picture Linkin Park, White Stripes, Beastie Boys), and the crowd was into it. I in the middle of the crowd bouncing like a fool.
David Crowder Band – I really enjoy David Crowder. They performed for almost 1.5 hours. Great mix of music from the latest cd and their older stuff. It was cool singing lyrics with 20,000 others in the crowd.
Casting Crowns – Good show. I only know a couple of their popular songs. They closed on Saturday night.
I have to admit I was pretty surprised by some of the bands. I typically do not listen to Christian radio stations, the radio music sounds too fabricated. Some of the bands at the festival were really talented. The lyrics were a little more sophisticated than just trying say “Jesus” more than 12 times a minute. I will probably download some of the music I heard over the weekend.
Other notes of interest:
- The seven year locusts hatched during the festival, the bugs were everywhere. Three of our youth ate one on a dare. Scanning the crowd, it looked like people were breaking into a new spastic dance trying to swat them off their bodies It was a pretty funny site. One lead singer for one of the bands kept screaming like a girl in the middle of his songs every time one landed on him. Funny!
- Family Force 5 had a roadie that danced during every song. Not, bouncing like we were, but a strange kind of interpretive dance – to really heavy music. He was very strange. Even funnier was the young lady that was “signing” the lyrics for the hearing impaired. The energy of the band had here bouncing all around, while trying to sign the lyrics. I still don’t know how you sign screaming.
- A very bad storm blew in Friday night. Rain, wind, lightning, thunder for a solid 4 hours. We left the festival and ate dinner at a Pizza Hut. It was still raining when we finished so we went and hung out at Wal-Mart. After the rain stopped, we went back to the camp site and found out all of our tents leaked soaking all our sleeping bags and clothes. It was almost midnight and some of the youth started breaking down (sleep deprived after spending the week performing missions work in North Carolina). The youth leader told us all to get a dry pair of clothes and get in the van. We drove to Lexington and slept in a hotel for the evening. Excellent decision.
- For anyone going on a mission trip in the near future, remember to pack rope and duct tape. Two utility items that you will use at some point.
- We really have a great youth group! The kids know how to have a good time, but also know where the limits are. I really enjoy spending time with them. The leadership is also very special. Tony Akers and Amanda (ok, so I’m biased here) really care for these kids and do an incredible job leading them.