The entire concept of a Christian music industry is pretty silly. It’s the only “genre” of music based on the musician’s religious leanings instead of the sound. That means that if several friends who happen to be Christians form a metal band and release a cd it will be categorized with your grandma’s favorite hymns cd. Unfortunately most of us Christians don’t grasp the absurdity of it.
Back when the Christian music industry was just starting to develope, two guys, Harry Thomas and Tim Landis, came up with a vision. A music festival based in Lancaster, PA at Muddy Run Recreation Park. They got together some of the biggest names in the young Christian music scene along with some of the biggest preachers and people started to come. It was the late 70′s so everyone had that hippie look and they didn’t care what people thought of them.
Fastforward 25 years and Creation festival has exploded. It soon outgrew small Muddy Run Recreation Park, so they moved it to a place out in the middle of nowhere, Mt. Hope, PA. In Mt. Hope is a large piece of land called Agape Farm. Here is where Creation is traditionally held. There is enough space for the 100+ thousands of people to camp, plus the two stages, in addition to various other tents and booths. (A few years ago the also added a 2nd festival, Creation West, so that people don’t have to travel all the way across the country to attend.)
Sadly, a tarp cannot be placed over the entire area of Agape Farm, so if there is a lot of rain before the festival the grounds quickly become unusable. That happened this year. The rain storms which assulted most of the north east did not fail to hit Agape Farm, either. Two weeks before the start of the festival, the decision was made to rent out several of the facilities at Hershey Park, in addition to acres of ground for camping.
The outdoor stadium became the mainstage and the Giant Center was the Fringe stage. They are both neighbors to Hershey Park and Chocolate World, the major attractions to the area. Unfortunately there was still about a 15 minute walk between the mainstage and the Giant Center. The Giant Center is air conditioned and has more comfortable seats than the bleachers that the mainstage featured. It became a refuge for people seeking escape from the sun and heat.
The festival officially started Wednesday evening, the 25th and continued through Saturday evening, the 28th. There were quite a few bands of several different genres and speakers who ranged from comedians to preachers. The music was mostly contemporary pop, however, there were a few rap/r&b groups and a number of “rock” groups. The rock groups mostly fell into the categories of “Creed-rip-off”, “POD-rip-off”, or “MxPx-rip-off”.
Thankfully, there were several musical gems who put on great concerts. Sixpence None the Richer, Steve Taylor, Randy Stonehill & Phil Keaggy, Bleach, and The Mint were all enthralling (and there will be individual articles on each of those concert later).
All in all, if you enjoy the simple pleasures of Christian music, the Creation Festival would be enjoyed. People who don’t follow the Christian faith wouldn’t find much of interest, however, any guitar player can appriciate Phil Keaggy, and most pop fans would enjoy Sixpence. Hopefully future years will feature a wider variety of styles and talent.