By Cassi Haggard / For the Times-Tribune
Last year’s Ichthus theme, “Let it rain,” tempted fate, daring the wind and rain to come.
It rained. It poured. There was a tornado warning. It even snowed.
Something needed to change.
The Ichthus staff decided to move to the warmer, dryer summer months. This year the festival changed the dates to June 15-18.
This weekend local youth groups will travel to the annual festival. Some youth groups that normally attend won’t be able to because of the date change.
Greg Nunly, the youth minister at First Christian Church in Corbin, welcomes the change. Last year many of the youth he took didn’t even bring jackets and weren’t prepared for the snow.
“I’m very excited about the time change. It was so cold last year, our kids tried to stick it out but we came home early,” Nunley said.
Around 10 students from First Baptist Church in London are going to Ichthus. Youth minister Zack Caldwell’s only complaint is that the summer is already too busy.
“Yes it’s good for the weather but four days in summer is too much,” Caldwell said.
Ichthus has four stages featuring more than 100 artists and 14 speakers. Weekend tickets cost $89 at the gate. Tickets for one day will cost $46 and tickets for Thursday or one evening cost $34.
“There are all kinds of styles of music. You’ve got your main stage, your radio music, indie music, everything. There is praise and worship to punk. Just find the right tent and enjoy your style,” Nunley said.
The festival will close with Audio Adrenaline’s last Ichthus performance. The band plans to retire later this summer. A Kentucky original, the members of Audio Adrenaline formed their Grammy-winning band at Kentucky Christian College.
Some other bands that will play are Relient K, Casting Crowns, Hawk Nelson, Jeremy Camp, Toby Mac, and the David Crowder Band.
“It’s kind of like a mecca for Christian artists and people who love that style. It brings everyone together,” Caldwell said.
The Ichthus festival began in 1970 as a Christian response to Woodstock and is the longest running contemporary Christian music festival.
Started by professors and students at Asbury Seminary, the festival is located in the small town of Wilmore.
“It’s in Kentucky, that’s something to be proud of,” Caldwell said.
The problem with rain started in 1983, a year that became known as the “rain year” or “Mudthus”. However, it rained even harder at the 2002 festival. Last year set the record for coldest temperatures.
Eddie Jones took the youth group from Corbin Parkway Church of God in 2004. That year mud from rainstorms on Thursday stopped traffic from coming into festival ground and created a massive traffic jam.
“The crazy weather was just too much,” Jones said. He is not taking his youth group this year because of weather and the busy of summer schedule.
The 10-day forecast predicts potential thunderstorms on Saturday, but otherwise predicts a sunny weekend.
“Rain shine or otherwise, we’re going to have a good time,” Caldwell said.
By Cassi Haggard / For the Times-Tribune
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