The Ichthus Music Festival is an annual Christian music festival in Wilmore, KY. The most recent one was held June 14-16, 2007. It featured top name bands such as David Crowder Band, Third Day, Switchfoot, tobyMac, Phil Keaggy, Chris Tomlin, Newsboys, and Relient K.
During the time at the Ichthus Farm, severe weather events have dominated the last four years. In 2002, severe storms brought heavy rain and strong winds in the early morning hours on Sunday morning. Thankfully, the storms were well forecast, and many individuals were evacuated following the final concert the night before to area churches and schools. In 2003, strong storms again seemed to threaten the festival, resulting in Friday night concerts being cancelled. Interestingly enough, radar images from that night seem to show a sudden area of clearing directly above the festival as the storms moved in, shielding participants from the heavy rain, dangerous lightning, and strong winds. This is now referred to as the Ichthus Rainy Day Miracle. In 2004, heavy rains on the opening day of the festival effectively shut down the road system on the Ichthus Farm and in the surrounding Wilmore area. The rain resulted in several inches of mud across the entire Farm. In response, Ichthus personnel installed several miles of paved and gravel roads within the Farm to avoid the same situation. Finally, in 2005, a line of severe storms moved in on Friday night ahead of a very strong cold front. The storms packed winds in excess of 60 mph, sending tents and shelters flying. The associated cold front brought sustained winds of 40 mph, and temperatures dipping into the mid thirties on Saturday evening, along with light snow showers. These recent spring-time weather events warranted a change from the original late April date to a later one in mid-June, beginning in 2006.
It is noteworthy that since the date change from late-April to mid-June, the festival dates coincide with the famed Atlanta Fest- another popular Christian music festival in Atlanta, Georgia. While some have criticized this move as sketchy and tacked it as a cause for lower attendance, the festival executives maintain that more artists are willing to come to both festivals while only having to take one weekend off from tour or vacation.
In 2006, the number of attendees to Ichthus reportedly dropped off to an estimated 14,000- an almost 35% decrease. While the statistics were slightly disheartening, the low numbers were attributed to the rather late moving of the date to summer which conflicted with previously existing plans of youth groups that make up the bulk of the Ichthus attendees.
Even though Ichthus Ministries claimed that the low attendance was expected to be only temporary, in 2007, the number of pre-registered Ichthusers remained the same as the 2006 festival despite the widespread knowledge of the date change. Many people began to wonder if Ichthus would ever be the large festival it had grown to become. But, as of an early Saturday count (the last night of the festival) the number of attendees had grown to 19,000+ campers. Many expect the 2008 festival to add slightly to that number as the movement towards making the festival date change permanent continues.
According to local news sources the date for the 2010 Festival may be moved to correspond with the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which will be held from September 25 to October 10, 2010 in nearby Lexington.
The name of the festival is taken from the word Ichthus, 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":