Left Wednesday morning about 9:30 and got there at 11:00, not a bad drive, remembering the 4 to 5 hour drive to Vancouver to Jesus Northwest. Pulling into the vendor camping area I see a sign that says, "Spaced reserved for KTWY-WAYFM Campers", pretty cool, it was all set up.
Weather was perfect, clear sky and not to hot but that was to change, weíll get to that.
Off to the press area and finding out what their plan was and to get the press and photo credentials. They had set up times for interviews and photo plans for the festival.
First concert we get to was Glenn Kaiser Band, use to be Rez Band, AKA Resurrection Band from a few years back, like 20 years back but they still could rock, blues rock was their specialty. We then went over to the Vertical Worship tent for a time of worship with Rita Springer and Jami Smith. Caught part of the Earthsuit concert and had one good time.
Vertical Worship time was a blessing. Rita Springer and Jami Smith led worship this day and it was a blessing. Rita shared that all the songs that she had written came from "where God has touched or healed my life". Jami Smith, an artist we were not all that familiar with was next and we were impressed. She talked about worship music basically was "we sing His words back to Him honoring Him". She went on to say that, "I would sing whatever to help you seek Him". At her concerts (we saw her a few times on stage) she gave 110% of herself and voice. She reminded me a little of Margaret Becker, a low range voice with a lot of emotion. She struck me as a "facilitator". As the Lord deals and ministers to her, she then ministers to the people and then leads them back to the Lord. I had a chance to sit and talk with her. She had a lot to say about worship (note I didnít say worship music). She did say, "we need to educate the church and people to worship with or without music. And that it would be a travesty to sing these songs just because we know them. Worship is not a style of music." She went on to say, "Worship is a posture of the heart and that loving God is number one in worship". She mentioned Charlie Hall being her favorite worship leader. Two other points she made was that corporate worship comes from times of private worship and that we worship God, the music comes as a result of that. Worship is not the experience, the music, nor the artists but between people and God. Some background on Jami, she graduated from OBU and after that served at a number of facilities (camps, churches, and events) and then in 1999 she had hooked up with Vertical Worship label making albums. Her first, self-titled and her second, to be released Aug 14th, called "Home". She was gracious to give me a prerelease and some of these songs will end up on compilation CDs in the future, the album is very good, highly recommended. Praise Worship leaders' pictures on Picture Page Two.
Camping went well, Melissa and her sister Becca joined us at our little encampment. I always love camping, meeting new folks and chatting with other vendors and media people. Reconnected with a couple of guys we had met at the first Creationfest, Jerome Olds (wrote music for Mylon LeFevre) and Dave Lula from Music Revolution (small business selling old, new, and hard to find CD and cassettes). I have met up with these guys almost every year and its always a blessing and fun to catch up with them. Camping is always half the fun and as weíll touch on later, can be a little adventurous.
After dinner we headed to the amphitheater and caught all of Audio Adrenaline and Third Day. This was one of the highlights for us for Creationfest. Almost lost our voice singing along and doing a little yelling. Audio A as always has a great show and gets the crowd involved. Third Day was great and their praise and worship session at their concerts was a blessing. It was like a giant choir assembled as they led the crowd in singing and as happened many times at Creationfest, artists would step back from the mics to hear the crowd. Another highlight of the evening was when they introed the band, they announced the keyboardistís name and found it was Geoff Barkley from Geoff Moore and the Distance, it was good to see him back on stage and fit so well with the band.
One of my daughters showed up unplanned so we gave up our tent and slept in the back of our pickup. The weather was nice enough to sleep under the stars.
Friday morning, Nicole C. Mullen didnít make it so Tree63 started early. Melissa made the concert and said it rocked. I had spent some time cruising the area and checking out some of the crazy campers in the general camping area. Weíll post some pics. Saw lots of cars with "Creation Or Bust" on their windows. And even saw some couches that people had hauled in with them.
Over at the fringe stage we saw Sammy Ward on stage. We play a lot from his album, "My Passion" on Sunday Praze and on stage it was he and another guitarist, it was a good time. Later on we would catch Sammy in a press conference. He too spoke about private worship and its importance. He is not from the Vertical Worship label, I thought it was interesting he would mention it as well as the other artists. He said it was very important to him to be the same Sammy Ward on stage and on the street in his relations with people. His next album he said would be more of his own music and probably would be next spring. He talked about how worship crosses all kinds of borders, be them culture, country, denominations, all borders. He talked how "preaching will cease, teaching will cease, but worship will go on forever". He wants to be a light and voice for God to our culture. He said the life he has is by the grace of God. His ability to stay free from sex, drugs, or alcohol or any of that life was purely by the grace of God and not his own doing. In the press time he said that he got right with God in the eighth grade and actually started out doing rap music in church.
After lunch was Retro Friday with Bryan Duncan and Sweet Comfort Band, Caught some of Daniel Amos and Randy Stonehill. Lots of fun seeing the guys rocking, only thing was it was pretty short for each artist. I spoke with a fan that was a little disappointed as he had came all the way from L.A. to see Daniel Amos and they were only on stage about 40 minutes. But it was a good show. Then ran back over to the Vertical Worship tent for Paul Balocheís worship time. He spoke about how worship songs can be as simple as a scale and words from your heart. Very personable "concert" (more like worship service), he even talked about using oneís heart instead of oneís head in writing a worship songs. During the session he was strumming his guitar and mentioned he could not find the key and chord to start a song he wanted to do, it was "God Of Wonders" from City On A Hill Album. He finally found it with some help with his keyboard player. It was awesome to hear such a crowd singing along. Later on I had a chance to chat with Paul about todayís praise and worship music. He talked about using music to take the heart of God to the people and then taking them back to Him. Paul said that his home church was still his top priority and that he turns down more events then he takes during the year. He started out working with YWAM and then in his church, heís been there 12 years. He went on to say that most praise and worship (P&W) songs are really prayer songs. It was a blessing talking with him and hearing his heart about P&W.
Friday evening was interesting to say the least but ended great. We were in a press conference with Toby from DC Talk, he had a lot to share about DC Talk NOT breaking up and their solo projects were just individual projects allowing the guys to express themselves. Toby talked a lot about hip hop. Towards the end of the interview I had to leave. I missed Michael and Kevinís parts of the new conference. Why did I have to leave? My wife and daughter had shown up at the festival early (nice surprise) and I had their tickets in my wallet. I know my leaving during the interview was a no-no but we all have priorities. After getting them to the encampment and settled we headed off to see DC Talk concert. They had each artist, Toby, Michael, and Kevin doing solos for about 3-4 songs each and then after a short break all three came out and the crowd went nuts. Toby did his usual scaffolding climbing routine, he climbed quite a ways up but not to the top. It was a great show! The three individual sets were good, Michaelís was pretty much rock and Kevinís artsy rock but Tobyís rockedÖhip hop. To use one of his phrases, he could make me a "hip hop head", it was great! After the DC Talk time candles were passed out, the wind died down just in time for the candle lighting service. It was awesome to say the least. Itís hard to describe if you have never seen the amphitheater, there were thousands of candles and the hillside was covered with the candles, beautiful!
Compassion Intíl was there with their booth and lots of children were sponsored. I didnít hear any final numbers but had heard that they were on track to be close to last year, over 1000 sponsored at Creation West. It was cool to see lots of people signing up. We sponsor a young man, Safari, heís from the Congo and we started sponsoring at a Creationfest event. To those who read this, if you donít, you should.
Saturday, it was the day for "All Creation Sings" celebration on main stage with Paul Baloche, Rita Springer, Lincoln Brewster, and Jami Smith. They recorded the concert for a CD to be released around Oct 31st. I am not sure how they can filter the wind noise out as the wind had started blowing very hard earlier. But it didnít take away from the time of worship. I saw Lincoln Brewster by the side of the road and chatted with him for just a moment about whats going in the industry and when asked, "todayís worship music frenzy, are people hungry or media hype?" He responded, "a little of both but that which is real will last and the fad will fade sooner or later". We headed back to our encampment to find some of our neighborís tents blowing down. Ours was headed that was but we took the tent down. We had a giant canopy (10X24) for shade and one side was tied down to our truck and the other staked down with steel pegs about 8 inches into the ground. A gust of wind came and the pegs started popping out of the ground. With the help of our neighbors we wrestled the canopy down and packed it up. We heard that Creationfest had shut down some of the vendor tents and Vertical Worship tent (canceling the afternoon P&W session there) so no one could get hit in case the wind knocked them down. Two years ago a gust of wind had caused a pole to fall hitting someone slightly injuring them. After wrestling the canopy and seeing what was happening we decided to call it a day, missing the Creationfest wrap up with the Newsboys. Dianna from WAYFM sales came up to catch Saturday and interviewed Stacy a nd Jaci V, her report to follow.
Despite the winds, each year Creationfest gets better and better and Lord willing, weíre looking forward to next year! One thing that really stuck out to me was the fact that the Vertical Worship tent area was packed during their sessions and some sessions were during main stage events. There were lots of people there for different reasons.
Not going to be just entertained I had a prayer to be changed, to be challenged. We didnít get a chance to hear to many of the speakers but we did hear a lot from the artists about their desire to impact our culture, to impact the church. The issue or idea of private worship really struck me. People talk about "quiet times" and personal Bible Study and these can be part of worship, I understand that but times of private worship, something to work on or better yet, let God work on in me.