It all started on a dark and stormy night....oops, wrong story. Actually it all started on Tuesday July 26th at about 10:00 AM on the side of the road. We had gotten info that vendors were going to get in early...actually it was 3:00PM when we finally got in. Fortunately that was the only snag, pretty cool!
Things started off well for the press corp. After laying out the rules we were treated with a mini-concert and a free lunch (who says there's no free lunches?) from a new artist Sarah Brendel. She played a few songs for us and then chatted with us a bit. She is from Germany and shared with us about coming to the U.S. She also spoke about her musical influences and one mentioned was Larry Norman. Another point made was how in Germany her music is played in the mainstream as that is all there is, there's not really a Christian music genre. The songs she shared were great and she should do well as her name gets out and about. She's with Inpop records. The album is self-titled, "Self Titled" but really, it's "Sarah Brendel". The amazing thing was Sarah was there just to meet the press as she was not listed to play on any of the stages at Creationfest West.
At this point we must say, the press support was fantastic! Anita, Josh, Debbie, and Sarah and their volunteers took such great care of us all. From small stations to industry giants, no matter, they took care of us all. With temperatures hanging a little over the 100 degree mark, they had all the water we needed along with snacks and pop.
Along with Sarah Brendel, another newer artist (to me anyway) that we got to hear was Jason Morant. His album "Abandon" is out. We had heard his album and was looking forward to seeing him, and we weren't disappointed. His keyboard player was Matt Gilder. Listening to Jason made me think of another Jason and we had the opportunity to ask him if Jason Upton was an influence and he said he was. Jason also shared about how we should change ourselves before trying to change the world. A line from one of his songs, "change me as you desire" goes with that thought. He said if we change ourselves, that, the world will see and it will change. Another point Jason brought up was that, "American Christians avoid suffering but in the "day", Christianity spread because of suffering". He quoted Jesus saying, "when troubles come". Jason had time in the worship tent and on the main stage leading worship. A blessing and encouraging. Check out the album "Abandon" when you get the chance. Jason went to to tell a bit about himself, being married four years ago (which drew a groan from a number of young gals in the crowd). Jason had an incredible message for folks, and just a side note, his songs have those same messages. Another one of those was about how we can be fear driven which is actually from "self-preservation". When in fact it's not about self-preservation, it's about being like Him as much as possible and letting Him love thorough us.
The picture page is forth coming. It will "evolve" as we progress. I only took 160 digitals and 9 rolls of film so check back as we sort through all of the pictures.
As we have for a number of years, we were wearing two hats, we also assisted Dave Lula in the Music Revolution booth. You might drop him a line if you are looking for an old CD or some interesting shirts. The web site is lightningshirts.com
Another challenging artist was Todd Agnew. He had a lot to say about today's worship music. He said, "today's worship music is pretty shallow theologically." He went on to explain, and this writer thinks he was including himself but Todd said that today's worship songs are penned by 20 something worship leaders when the hymns were written by 60 something pastors. I had asked him about the including of hymns into his music. He has a lot of respect for the hymns.
Maybe this should be titled, "Things I heard and learned at Creationfest 2005". Instead of trying to go through day by day or interview by interview, we'll just hit the highlights...go ahead, get the second cup of coffee...
Peter Furler of the Newsboys gave the press a lot of great comments. He shared about how at first they were not going to jump on the "worship" bandwagon. He prayed about it and it seemed God was asking Him why He didn't want to praise Him, since he wasn't going to do "worship" music. But Peter humbled himself and God seemed to respond by giving him songs to sing. In fact, the song, "It Is You" Peter said it only took 15 minutes to write. He wrote it one night as he thought of how he would lead worship right now, this instance and the song came from the phrase that was in his head. Peter shared about the Friendship Festival and how awesome it was to see 15000 Muslims watching them as 600 Christians worshipped with them. He said the arena was surrounded with armed guards. He went on to say that there is power in worship, worship is a witness to the world. Peter also mentioned that he did not think worship was a fad since it's been around longer than rock and roll.
As I said, Peter had a lot to share as he went on about missions trips they had been and were involved in. He said next week (August 2005) they were headed for Baja to build 25 houses. He said, "It was important to be "generational changing" not just the moment. Generational changing is actually the Gospel in its entirety." Then Peter was off to meet the local Newsboys fans club. A great interview, it was hard not to wonder if Peter was a preacher or musician or maybe both.
Michael W, as supposedly reported, President Bush said he (Michael) was the real "dubya". But Michael was Michael, such amazement and humility at his own circumstances. I have seen him in concert a number of times and he continues to lead others in worship, share his heart, and encourage listeners. He spoke about how we lose perspective when we believe the lie. He went on to encourage the crowd to stay focused and he quoted a bit from Psalm 139. The concert overall was more about worship than performance. And lastly he said that we will start being the church God wants us to be when the church is about service and obedience. Some great stuff to say the least.
We thought security was going to have to be called during the Skillet interview, when John Cooper, lead singer for Skillet had a few comments about and to Jeremy Camp. The Skillet interview was going a little over when Jeremy Camp stuck his face against the outside of the door window. John looked over and said, Camp Schmamp, he's nobody or something like that. He went on to say a few other things about Jeremy when Jeremy ran into the press tent (building) and jumped John. They forgave each other and made up and there was no need for security. Check out the Skillet pictures and in a few is Jeremy. A good time for all.
This saga could go on and on but the bottom line here is that artists shared their hearts and thoughts to the press and to the crowd. On a final note, back to Todd Agnew for a moment, Todd said, "Everything we do is either ministry or sin, and it's sin if we do it without Him". He grew up in church, and he said, "Any way we can divide the body, be it generational, racial, or denominations is wrong and it must stop."
Seeing I don't type we'll continue later as its a work in progress. Thanks!
Write to Keith @ firstname.lastname@example.org