, Corbin, KY

December 16, 2013

Date, location set for Ichthus 2014, Corbin, KY

CORBIN — With the busy work week I’ve had here at the Times-Tribune, I had not had much of a chance to pray or even think about what I wanted to write this week in my column.

But luckily, one text from my wife, Carmen, changed all of that in an instant.

All it said was, “Ichthus is June 4-7 at horse park.”

The first thing I thought was, “Well, I know what I’ll be writing about this week!”

To bring you up to speed, Ichthus had been the longest-running Christian music festival with the inaugural event taking place in 1970. It was started by some seminary students at Asbury College, and had been held in Wilmore ever since.

Each year, festival-goers would camp out on the grounds of the Wilmore Campmeeting, all the while experiencing extraordinary Christian music and guest speakers.

Following the 2012 Ichthus, it was announced the festival would be shutting down due to financial reasons. Christian music fans nationwide were devastated as they had already marked their calendars for the 2013 event.

However, with the help of Creation Festivals, which produces three other Christian festivals, Ichthus is going to be brought back and could be the premiere music event again like it once was.

It was announced earlier this year that Ichthus was going to be brought back for 2014, but until Wednesday, there had been no definite announcement of a date or venue.

The rumors going around were that it would likely be moved to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, and would be a September event instead of a June event.

Part of the rumor turned out to be true.

The Kentucky Horse Park will be the new host but the event will remain in June.

But I will be honest, I have never attended an Ichthus Music Festival in my life. Carmen and her mother, Linda, had made the annual trip to Wilmore for nine straight years though.

Carmen begged me to tag along in 2012, but I chose the cool climate of our air-conditioned home over the muggy four-day summertime festival.

Despite never experiencing Ichthus first-hand, when I heard the news about it shutting down, I was still pretty bummed.

On a personal level, the festival had been something that my wife and mother-in-law looked forward to every year. So I was sad they might not get the opportunity again to experience all the fun. I was also sad that I might not get to experience Ichthus at all, and ashamed of myself for not going when I had the chance.

On a broader level, it saddened me because a wonderful Christian tradition spanning over 40 years could no longer financially support itself.

I was planning on tagging along for this year’s edition before we got the bad news. So I am very excited I will get another chance to attend my first Ichthus, and I am more excited for Carmen and Linda who will get to continue their family tradition.

Moving forward, the Ichthus festival sounds like it is going to be a blast for years to come.

The Kentucky Horse Park will give the festival a beautiful backdrop for attendees.

It will have paved walkways, an RV park, restaurants on location, indoor and outdoor concert facilities, groomed camping fields, ponds and fountains, shops and a museum.

And for the Ichthus-faithfuls who might be afraid of all the change, the same directors will be returning along with the Creation Festivals team to keep the many great traditions alive.

And the biggest tradition of past Ichthus festivals is, of course, the great Christian music. Previous festivals have included top names like TobyMac, Third Day, Switchfoot, Skillet, Jeremy Camp, Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns and my personal favorite, Thousand Foot Krutch.

I have no doubt many of these top acts plus many, many more will be making their way back to Ichthus to put on some fantastic shows.

For those of you who were sad when Ichthus closed its doors, get excited because it is back and could be better than ever.

And for those of you like me who have never experienced Ichthus, mark your calendars for June 4-7, 2014, and plan to have an awesome time in fun and fellowship praising our God.

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Brad Hall is the nighttime editor for the Times-Tribune. He can be reached at You can also visit his blog at