After making music for more than 40 years near Wilmore, Ichthus, a once nationally renowned Christian music festival made its debut last week at the Kentucky Horse Park. Bands with a sibling theme made up part of the inaugural lineup this year.
'Bread of Stone' closed out the first night of the Christian music festival a week ago. The Sioux City band includes two brothers, Ben and Bill Kristijanto who are of Indonesian descent. After playing on Wednesday, the band did an acoustic set Saturday afternoon which included an Indonesian ditty.
Ben says their father came to them as teenagers more than a decade ago and suggested the two should become musicians as a way of professing their faith. He says it took some preparation before a band was formed. "I had to take piano lessons, vocal lessons, my brother took guitar lessons because we were not capable. So, that's how we came up with the name 'Bread of Stone' because we felt inadequate like stones, useless, and it's through Christ that he's able to transform us to become bread, to become a blessing for other people," said Kristijanto.
The Kristijanto brothers weren't the only family members making music at Creation-Ichthus. Two brothers, Taylor and Bruno Jones, along with sisters Callie and Phoebe Cryar make up the Vespers.
The Jones brothers and Cryar sisters grew up in musical families. Phoebe and Callie are the daughters of Christian singer-songwriter Morgan Cryar. Phoebe says the band's last song 'Got to Take Care of Each Other' takes aim at Christians criticizing each other for various things. "Insulting each other and calling each other, you know, you can't be a Christian if you believe this or that, but one, we can't definitively say that somebody is or isn't a Christian. Only the Lord knows the heart. But, it's counter-productive to be fighting like that over things like that," said Cryar.
Ichthus has always been about music and message, but not only onstage. Out on the campgrounds, it's not uncommon to hear music, including that of Conner McDaniel and his friends from Tennessee. "We kind of, for the most part, just goof around. But, I'd like to take it serious and I'd like to do something with it one day. But, we do it, mostly to glorify God, that's what my music is about or all of our music is about," said McDaniel.
The sounds of the Ichthus festival had been silent since 2012, when financial problems led to its hiatus. New Jersey based Creation came along to take on the festival, one of five for Creation. Founder Pastor Harry Thomas says financing a four day festival does take commitment. "You can only do it so long without the funds coming in. So, we're trusting God for those funds to come in. If people, and I think people do really want the festival here, I believe people are gonna respond," said Thomas.
Attendance at the first Creatian-Ichthus was way below previous April events when crowds close to 20 thousand would come to Wilmore for the event. Despite low turnout, plans are being made to return to the horse park July 13th through the 16th of 2016 for the next Creation-Ichthus festival.