SIGNS SPOTTED AT CREATION:
Creation East 2007
by Tracy & C.J. Darlington
Agape Farm in Mt. Union, Pennsylvania
people strong, the Creation East music festival is the nation’s largest,
and every June the fields of Agape Farm in Mt. Union, PA are packed to
the gills with excited music lovers from across the country and Canada.
During the four days of the festival a community is born. Christian fellowship
is experienced in ways unmatched in a church. Bands you might not normally
have seen become #1 on your iPod. Speakers challenge you with messages
to reach your friends for Christ and to become on fire for God. (In the
lineup this year were Ron Luce, Justin Lookadoo, Jose Zayas, Bob Lenz,
New this year, every night festival co-founder Harry Thomas spoke with Eli (perhaps best known for his stint in Christian music and the songs “Things I Prayed For” and “Life on the Edge”) live from Ghana about the poverty of that country and how we can help. Click here for more info about Come Alive Ministries’ involvement there.
So come along and join us for the fun as we re-live our Creation experience day-by-day. Be sure to scroll all the way down for our slidshow and click on "view all images" to see larger versions of the pictures.
Special thanks to Anita Crawford of Springboard Entertainment for helping
making our experience a great one.
Let the festivities begin! Infamous for its long lines, we spoke with someone who had to wait 2 ½ hours to enter the main gates . . . and he arrived at nine thirty in the morning (later we hear people were waiting up to five hours!). Cars, vans, buses, and RVs piled in all day and evening. Spirits were high as folks set up their camps (like the gentleman grilling at left), and soon the green hills of Agape Farm were dotted with tents the color of the rainbow. We were camped in section “G” alongside three guys from Connecticut who made their own cardboard table out of boxes rather than buying a $30 table at Walmart.
Giving us our official warm welcome, Harry Thomas took the stage and lamented last year’s cancellation (‘06 had to be postponed due to weather) but showed his excitement at what God will do this year. And then Skillet rocked the house as the first band with some of their familiar numbers. The crowd responded with the most screams to “Rebirthing” which has become a rock anthem of sorts. (Watch the video for “Rebirthing” in music videos section here). Taking the stage after Skillet was eighteen-year-old Bethany Dillon, acoustic guitar in hand. Backed by a band of bass, electric guitar and drums, her fresh, straight-from-the heart message (and a fun sense of humor) brought her and the crowd together, almost as if there was no stage separating us.
person who was supposed to lead us in worship got stuck in traffic in Baltimore,
Bethany brought her guitar back to the stage and led us through
three worship songs including the Chris Tomlin penned “How Great is
At this point gray, omimous storm clouds hovered above us. We found ourselves looking to the sky a little more than to the stage. Then Pastor Harry took the mike again and told everyone to leave the arena and go back to their campsites as a line of severe thunderstorms were about to hit us. And hit they did. One giant bolt of lightning looked as if it struck one of the mountains dead on. A camping enclosure beside us was swept up by the wind and flew over several campsites, hitting and breaking an antenna on a truck. Wind, rain, and the lightning kept Switchfoot from taking the stage for a bit, but a couple hours later all was well and songs like “Stars”, “Oh, Gravity!”, “Gone”, and “Dare You to Move” rocked from the stage as Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman, Chad Butler, Jerome Fontamillas, and Drew Shirley rocked the house. (Pictured below.)
Reliant K finished things off with their familiar fun and quirky songs. (FYI: Switchfoot and Relient K will be touring together this fall). Their set included favorites like “High of Seventy Five” and “Chapstick, Chapped Lips and Things Like Chemistry”. The closer “Sadie Hawkins Dance” set the stage for the brilliant fireworks display that ended the night on a high note (literally).
We met independent artist Rebekah Hahn (pictured at right) tonight. Check out her MySpace page and website. Her biggest influences are Bethany Dillon and Jennifer Knapp.
Main stage happenings began this morning with newcomers Aaron Shust & Britt Nicole. Later in the afternoon KJ-52 (pictured at left) hit the stage performing songs off his newest album The Yearbook plus some hip-hop oldies but goodies. This guy knows how to work the crowd! (Read our interview with KJ here, and our review of The Yearbookhere). Hard rock band Disciple had a two o’clock appearance.
Today the Fringe Stage opened. For those unfamiliar with the festival, the Fringe features acts that might not be as well known to parents of many of the teens and twenty-somethings, but young people flock here every day from 12-6. In many ways, the stage could be called the “energy” stage as most of the bands fall into the harder rock or high energy category.
Family Force 5 was the perfect opening band, their “crunk” music blasting from the speakers. Everyone’s favorite, “Luv Addict”, was the highlight for sure. During one song, they encouraged the crowd to make a circle and whoever knew how to break dance gave the crowd their best. Several guys wowed us with their moves. At another point in the show several people came out on stage in helmets dancing to the groove. (Watch videos for “Love Addict” and “Kountry Gentleman” in our music videos section here).Fireflight & Day of Fire soon followed, with Fireflight (read our interview with the band here and click here to see more pictures from their set) performing songs from their debut The Healing of Harms (read our review of the album here) including a duet between lead singer Dawn Richardson (pictured at left) & Day of Fire’s Josh Brown (pictured below). Later on in the afternoon Seventh Day Slumber, Project 86, and Pillar also hit the Fringe Stage. Several guys we met earlier in the day were camped out in the front row just to see Pillar (one of them said they’d been there since six in the morning!).
We had another downpour today during Ayiesha Woods’ set on the main stage, but she was a trooper and kept singing, including her songs “Happy” and “Big Enough”. (Read our review of her debut album here.) On her cd, Tobymac helps with this song, but alas he didn’t put in an appearance at Creation today. Unfortunately, we were informed of some bad news about the band Relient K by Harry Thomas. While on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Wednesday night their bus caught on fire and everything was destroyed. Luckily all the band members walked away unharmed.
Salvador got us moving again with their Latin influenced numbers (they even sang one totally in Spanish). David Crowder Band and Third Day closed out the night, much to the crowd’s pleasure, followed by communion.
Cooler weather met us today, though the humidity was still omnipresent. Tons more bands hit both stages. The Parachute Band led worship this morning on the main stage, followed by Storyside:B, who’s new album on Gotee Records We Are Not Alone just recently hit stores. Their most familiar hit is “More to This Life” but they also performed “Miracle”, among others.
In the afternoon The Afters appropriately had a set, and so did Grits. The Fringe Stage was busy as well, featuring Voice, Mainstay, MOC, Hawk Nelson, Emery & Superchick (Tricia with her 2-year-old Boston Terrier Sophie, and Matt Daly are pictured above).
Evening found Thousand Foot Krutch (or TFK to their fans) rockin’ the house with songs like “Rawkfist”, “Phenomenon”, plus the title track off their upcoming fall release The Flame in All of Us. Trevor McNevan and the other guys in the band certainly know how to rock. The buzz about Leeland continued as they took the stage to a packed house, and Tobymac & Casting Crowns finished off the music aspect of the night. If you’ve never had the chance to see Tobymac live, definitely find the time. He and his Diverse City Band put on an awesome show while glorifying the Lord in everything. (View our slideshow of a recent stop of the Portable Sounds tour here.)
But the highlight
for many tonight was the candlelighting service which came right after
Casting Crowns, and they performed some worship songs during
it. (Watch their video for “Does Anybody Hear Her?” in our music
videos section here.) According to our guide and friend Adrian Martinez,
the candlelighting service began one year at Creation during Amy Grant’s
set. The power went out and she wasn’t able to continue, but she came
back on the stage with her acoustic guitar, someone lit some candles, and
a tradition was born. Truly, it was an amazing experience watching 80+ thousand
people share their lights with others until the entire field was dotted with
flickering flames. The Scripture, “Let your light shine before men,” came
to mind, and it struck home how one person who comes to know the Lord through
a friend sharing God’s love can affect the entire world. Amazing.
Today you can see the wear and tear of the heat and late nights on everyone’s faces. As you pass someone on the dusty road, they might take a second longer to smile, but they still smile. There’s nothing like Creation!
The main stage today featured Phil Wickham and Mandisa, who’s best known for being a finalist on American Idol. There’s a lot of excitement over her upcoming release “True Beauty”, and her current single, “Only the World” is already hitting stations across the country. Stellar Kart & House of Heroes also took the stage in the afternoon.
On the Fringe today listeners were treated to Cool Hand Luke, Edison Glass & John Reuben as well as speaker/author Justin Lookadoo. (Check out our interview with him here, and our review of his book 97 here.) Sanctus Real (pictured below) came after this, treating us to songs off their three national releases Say it Loud, Fight the Tide, and Face of Love (they had a few independent records as well). Their first single “Say It Loud” was definitely a crowd favorite, and closed out their set.
Unfortunately the band Falling Up had to cancel, disappointing many fans. But Flyleaf more than made up for their absence. The people packed in like sardines to hear this band who even though they have only one full length national record released (self-titled) have garnered a huge following in both the Christian and secular markets.
If the leaping and jumping antics of bass player Pat Seals (pictured at left) weren't enough to keep our eyes trained to the stage, then Lacey Mosley’s powerful vocals were. Belting out hits like “I’m So Sick”, “Red Sam”, “Perfect”, “Justice and Mercy”, and “Cassie”, Flyleaf had our attention from the first guitar riffs and kept it right up to the worshipful ending notes.
Evening activities on the main stage began with Starfield and continued with hugely popular Barlowgirl who treated us to songs off their July 24th album How Can We Be Silent, including the rock anthem “Million Voices”. (Read our interview with Barlowgirlhere.) Justin Lookadoo (pictured below on the Jumbotron screen) spoke again here with a message titled “Commitment vs. Experience”. This guy has a real knack for humorously tackling serious subjects in ways everyone can relate to.
Kutless & Newsboys closed out the festival (interestingly, they had been on the Go tour together). Newsboys (read our interview with guitarist Paul Colman here) are known for their amazing live shows, and they brought things out in full force, including the hugely popular spinning drum set which had been retired a few years back. Peter and Duncan had a fun drumming duel with Peter on his own spinning pedestal! (Read our review of Go here, and Go Remixed here.)
There is definitely a “wow” factor to the Newsboys, and yet they somehow balance the fun with the spiritual in a way that makes Christianity exciting. And that’s what the Creation festival is all about.
Click on thumbnail to enlarge
Day of Fire:
Family Force 5:
Thousand Foot Krutch:
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