By Gerard Flanagan, news writer/photographer/social media, Office of University Communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky.— A music festival known for celebrating the love and hope found in Jesus Christ is nearing its return to the big stage following a six-year hiatus.
The Ichthus Music Festival is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 18, with a full slate of talent to take the stage on Servant Heart Farm, 9517 Harrodsburg Road, Wilmore, Ky.
This year’s Ichthus Music Festival is being billed as the Ichthus Music Festival: The Re-Launch Event. The Ichthus Music Festival last took place in 2015, and to mark its much-anticipated return, the festival returns to Servant Heart Farm, which hosted the festival from 1999 to 2012. Joe and Cheryl Lycan are the owners of Servant Heart Farms.
“A great deal of planning and prayer has gone into the return of Ichthus,” Dr. H. Keith Spears, interim president of Campbellsville University, said. “I know the leaders of this phenomenon, Joe and Cheryl Lycan, who have poured their hearts into the music and the mission to bring this back to the hallowed grounds in Wilmore.”
The Ichthus Music Festival was first held in 1970.
“We are excited about Ichthus Festival’s return,” Spears said. “The impact that it has on the lives of those who experience this remarkable event will last for decades. People have been yearning for the return of Ichthus and we are pleased to be able to help make this possible.”
This year’s Ichthus Festival will have a different feel. As the festival this year is a relaunch event, it will only be a one-day event with two stages. Ichthus had previously been a three-day festival with several stages.
“The impact Ichthus has made in the past is beyond measure,” Matthew Sposato of Fusion Ministries and Rising Force Ministries said. “With its low cost, choice of music styles, choice of artists and choice of speakers, Ichthus made political, social and spiritual statements. Most important of all the things Ichthus did was help lead literally thousands to Christ. It is our prayer that God will allow Ichthus to be all those things once again.”
Fusion Ministries is putting on this year’s Ichthus Music Festival. Rising Force Ministries will help with ministry outreach efforts during the festival.
“Our goal is to help new believers stay connected and not simply wander off the grounds saved and wondering what to do next,” Sposato said. “This includes helping them sort through all the questions they are going to have soon, helping them find a church, Bible studies, peer groups, etc.”
Campbellsville University is the only platinum sponsor of this year’s Ichthus Festival. Platinum level is the highest-level sponsor for the festival.
The day’s events will get underway at noon. Bands and artists who will take the stage include Kutless, Rhett Walker, Sanctus Real, Soeakers, Dr. Wesley Paul, Brian Hiel and Luis Palau’s Next Generation Alliance.
According to Sposato, the COVID-19 pandemic has given the festival heightened importance.
“Honestly, holding the event in and of itself is a special thing,” Sposato said. “Especially in the times we are in. It is so much more than a music festival this year. It is a movement to heal the spiritual damage done by the pandemic.”
Sposato said Ichthus’ purpose is to “breathe new life into a time-honored vision of using music to build community, while reaching the lost and uniting Christians to encourage the sharing of the gospel, through specific and intentional mentoring strategies.”
Event organizers do encourage attendees to wear masks when they are not able to physically distance themselves from others. However, masks are not mandatory.
Attendance will also be limited to 25 percent of the festival ground’s capacity to ensure attendees have plenty of space to social distance. Hand sanitizer will also be provided on site.
Though event organizers do not anticipate the event will have to be canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, in the event it is, all ticketholders will have the option to roll their ticket over for the 2022 event or receive a refund.
For more information on the festival, visit https://www.fuseconcerts.org/ichthus. You can also purchase tickets for the festival at that link. Tickets may also be bought at the gate, but they will be a higher price than tickets purchased online.
“It is a tough time, but we need to gather and unite,” Sposato said.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 12,500 students offering over 100 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.