Every year in Wilmore, the Ichthus music festival brings 15-20,000 kids to town. This has been going on since 1970. I’ve been in town since 1989, and have never been to one.

One year, I rode my bike through the campgrounds, using my wrist band from a recent hospital visit as a pass. But it was just while they were setting up, and hardly anybody was there yet, so that doesn’t really count.

Lisa gave me a pass to the festival, so that I could go out there to talk with Jason about getting the photos up on the website.

I went out around lunchtime just to look around, and then a little later to take Jason the detailed instructions for getting the photos up there when the festival is over. I’m reasonably sure I was the only person on the campground wearing a tie.

Towards the end of the work day, I went back out to see how things were going, and to look around a little more. This time I changed so that I wasn’t so conspicuous, and got some interesting pictures.

I went to hear some strange band on the third stage, whose music consisted primarily of the lead “singer” screaming at the top of his lungs. When he took a break in the middle of the song to play the trumpet, it turned out that he was rather talented. Unfortunately, then he went back to screaming.

As evening wore on, I listened to a band called “Kids in the way”, and they made up my mind to call it a day and go home. They had a lot of energy, but very little talent. This would have been a mistake, because I would have missed the real experience. As I was about to leave, I saw Paul, who was taking pictures with his fancy camera. He offered to meet me by the backstage entrance and show me around. Woah!

So I stuck around a little bit, and a little later, we went backstage, and then went across in front of the stage, close enough to feel the sweat, to listen to Relient K. They were really good. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. And, despite the earplugs, they were really really loud. Paul’s pictures are better than mine, because he has a real camera, but I had a lot of fun.

At the end of their set, the MC announced that there was a tornado coming in, and that we should take shelter. After a few minutes, he came back on and said, I really mean it. Take shelter. Now.

Then the wind started. People started taking it seriously. We went backstage. A bunch of people were under the stage. I was a little more out in the open, but still behind a lot of concrete. It rained for about an hour, harder than I’ve seen rain here for some time. The lightning was very impressive. Ichthus is known for being muddy – we used to call it Mudthus, in college. And the rain made up for the two sunny days.

So, I’ve experienced Ichthus, at least a little bit. Sarah wants ot go out there today, but I don’t know for sure if we’ll actually get to go. We’ll have to see. We’re doing the “Reforest the Bluegrass” project today, if I can find where they are doing it.