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Ichthus Music Festival

Ichthus Music Festival
Genre Christian music
Dates July 8–11, 2015

Ichthus Farm
Wilmore, Kentucky (1970-2012)

Kentucky Horse Park
Lexington, Kentucky (2015 onward)
Years active


Founded by Bob Lyon

The Ichthus Music Festival is an annual Christian music festival originally held in Wilmore, Kentucky but later moved to Lexington, Kentucky.[1] Begun in 1970, Ichthus was the oldest Christian music festival in the United States.[2] The festival began as the brainchild of Dr. Bob Lyon and a group of seminary students at Asbury Theological Seminary in response to Woodstock Festival and similar music festivals of that era.[3] The first events were held on the grounds of the Wilmore Campmeeting.[4] In December 2012, the Ichthus Festival Board announced the end of the long-running festival.[5] Creation Festivals took over managing the event in 2013 with plans to resume the festival in 2014.[6] The festival was later postponed to 2015.[7]

Originally an outdoor spring event, the festival was often hampered by poor weather. Beginning in 2006, the festival was moved to mid-June when local weather was more favorable. The festival consisted of six stages: The Main Stage, The Deep End, The Edge, two Indie Stages, and The Galleria Stage. It was a weekend long event, officially starting on Wednesday afternoon and ending on Saturday night. Most Ichthus attendees camped on the festival grounds.


  • Origin of the festival's name 1
  • Worship 2
  • Ichthus in Recent Years 3
  • Main Stage 4
  • Deep End Stage 5
  • The Edge 6
  • Galleria Stage 7
  • Past Ichthus Artists 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10

Origin of the festival's name

The Ichthus symbol

The name of the festival was taken from the word Ichthus (Ichthys), an anagram in Biblical Greek used since the second century by Christians as a symbol of their religion. The word is composed of the letters ἸΧΘΥΣ, meaning fish. The individual letters make up a confessional statement of Christians, "Jesus Christ Son of God, Savior":[8]

ησοῦς: Jesus
Χριστός: Christ
Θεοῦ: God
Υἱός: Son
Σωτήρ: Savior


Every day of the Ichthus festival a worship service was held at the main stage amphitheater. These services consisted of a worship session with music followed by a keynote speaker. A tent near the back of the worship area was staffed by alter ministers who were available to pray with people after the services.[9]

On the last day of the festival (Saturday) all stages, merchandise tents, and food vendors closed in the afternoon for a massive communion service. Around 20,000 people gathered at the main stage amphitheater for the massive communion service. This service consisted of praise and worship music followed by a keynote speaker and communion.[9]

Ichthus in Recent Years

In recent years Ichthus was held at the 111-acre (0.45 km2) Ichthus Farm, which has features such as shower houses, a playground, basketball courts, soccer fields, a pavilion, and a permanent main stage with a maximum capacity of approximately 25,000 people.[10]

Ichthus Ministries has held satellite festivals in addition to the main Ichthus festival. One was a one-day, four-stage festival in Fort Wayne, Indiana which was held on September 25, 2010.[11] Ichthus Fort Wayne featured top names such as Switchfoot, Relient K, Red, Thousand Foot Krutch, BarlowGirl, The Almost, KJ-52, Disciple, Family Force 5, and Sanctus Real.[12] Ichthus Ministries held another festival in Pikeville, Kentucky on October 23, 2010.[13]

Main Stage

Ichthus Main Stage

The Ichthus Main Stage had a reputation for being loaded with top name artists from all genres. From the worship of Casting Crowns to the heavier sound of Skillet.[14] The stage has a legendary history due to its past artists and it's amazing special effects. The artists which have played include Skillet, Casting Crowns, Switchfoot, Tobymac, Newsboys, Phil Keaggy, Red, and David Crowder Band.[15] The stage was also known for the large communion service that was held each year at the festival.

Deep End Stage

Deep End Stage

The Ichthus Deep End Stage was dedicated primarily to Christian metal, heavy metal, and punk rock bands. Deep End was the first secondary stage added to the festival and it grew to include its ministry tent and sales area. Though it was a secondary stage, it featured some well known names in Christian music, such as The Devil Wears Prada, Anberlin, Pillar, Haste the Day, Day of Fire, Sleeping Giant, and Disciple.[16]

The Deep End stage area included tents for band merchandise sales and Christian gothic ministries, such as Hope for the Rejected and The Grave Robbers.[17]

The Edge

The Edge at Ichthus Festival was an area dedicated to mostly punk rock, metal, Hip-Hop and Indie music. It featured The Edge Stage, a skate park, and a merchandise area. The skate park features a 24-foot (7.3 m) mini ramp, quarter pipe, manual box, launch ramp, and a rail.[18] Though the Edge Stage was a secondary stage, it also featured some big name acts such as The Showdown, Day of Fire and Creating Constellations.[16]

Galleria Stage

The Galleria Stage was located at the food court and was dedicated primarily to acoustic music. The stage area includes tables and chairs and a coffee shop. Artists that have played this stage include Phil Keaggy, and Glenn Kaiser Band.[16]

Past Ichthus Artists


  1. ^ See,
  2. ^ See, Robison, Greg, Christian Rock Festivals,(New York: The Rosen Publishing Co., 2009), p.7
  3. ^ Starting with Christian folk artists, the festival predated Contemporary Christian Music. See, Copley, Rich, At 40, Ichthus Isn't Looking Back, (Lexington Herald Leader)
  4. ^ See, Ichthus official website at:
  5. ^ See, Ichthus official website at:
  6. ^ Ichthus music festival to return in 2014 at Kentucky Horse Park
  7. ^ Ward, Karla (2014-04-12). "Planned renewal of Ichthus Festival is called off until 2015". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved 2014-06-28. 
  8. ^ See, Robison, Greg, Christian Rock Festivals,(New York: The Rosen Publishing Co., 2009), p.7
  9. ^ a b Copious Notes: Ichthus Festival
  10. ^ Archived July 26, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ See the Ichthus Fort Wayne website
  12. ^ See the Ichthus Fort Wayne website
  13. ^ See the Ichthus Fort Wayne Website
  14. ^ Copious Notes » Ichthus Festival
  15. ^ Ichthus Festival | Wilmore Kentucky |
  16. ^ a b c d e f Archived July 26, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ No One Underground | Christian Speaker & Artist Eric Samuel Timm | Art Ministry, Christian Art, Christian Clothing, Christian Books with Purpose
  18. ^ Copious Notes » 2010 » June » 14
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Archived July 26, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ a b c d e f Archived July 26, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ a b c d e f Archived July 26, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Archived July 26, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^"
  24. ^ a b Archived July 26, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ a b c Archived July 26, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  26. ^ Ichthus Fest- Kentucky [Archive] -
  27. ^ Archived July 26, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ "twenty one pilots: Ichthus Part 01 (Episode 02 - Regional at Best: The Web Series)". YouTube. 

External links

  • Official website of the Ichthus Music Festival

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