No doubt the last few weeks of March were filled with Christian music "activities" (the sold-out Third Day concert, pre-Billy Graham Crusade events featuring Avalon, Salvador and many others, plus smaller gigs like Andrew Peterson's). April looks to be another big month for concerts. Louisville has been one of the busiest places in the nation lately for Christian music events!
"Celebration 2001" happens April 7 and 8 at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. On Saturday the 7th, Out of Eden, Tammy Trent, Aurora and Whisper Loud will perform. On Sunday the 8th, Caedmon's Call and Luna Halo take the stage. Out of Eden was just here on March 24 as part of the "Xtreme Xplosion" event that also featured Salvador and Earthsuit. They are replacing Raze, who cancelled due to lead singer Ja'Marc Davis's legal woes. If you are unfamiliar with their music, `Eden' (Lisa, Andrea, and Joy Danielle) have an urban-pop sound similar to Destiny's Child and T.L.C. They've been around for several years and were one of the first groups signed to Toby McKeehan's Gotee Records label. Tammy Trent, who is celebrating her biggest-selling album ever, Set You Free, returns for her first Louisville appearance in over two years. Trent changed record labels in 2000, and that seemed to revitalize her career. Set You Free has produced two hits so far, including a #1 song, "My Irreplaceable." Aurora is a trio made up of three sisters: twins Rachel and Raquel Smith, plus older sibling Lauren. All in their lower twenties, the ladies have a sound that has been compared to Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears.
Whisper Loud opens the show on the 7th. They are yet another female trio, this time made up of even younger members: Tessa Gaskill, Alana Carris and Keri Blumer. All are under eighteen years old. They also have a sound similar to Spears and Aguilera. "Celebration" will mark both Aurora's and Whisper Loud's first Louisville concert appearances. So if you like the style of pop music that is selling millions in mainstream music right now, you'll probably enjoy the music of Celebration's first day.
Sunday the 8th, the music leaves "pop" for "rock". Caedmon's Call brings its folk-infused rock to the Kingdom in their first Louisville appearance since 1997's Joy Jam. The group is on tour in support of their critically acclaimed third release, Long Line of Leavers. Luna Halo, who toured last fall with Jars of Clay and Jennifer Knapp opens the show. There is no additional charge for the concerts once you pay to get in the park. Check out www.sixflags.com for more details.
Ichthus 2001 is April 26-29 in Wilmore, Kentucky. The theme this year is "Arms Wide Open." I'm sure that sounded like a good idea at the time, but if I hear that song again any time soon-somebody's gonna get hurt. Just kidding (I think). Anyway, Newsboys headline the event. The "Boys" - Peter Furler, lead vocals; Phil Joel, bass and vocals; Jody Davis, guitars and vocals; Duncan Phillips, drums and percussion and Jeff Frankenstein keys and programming - recently released Shine: The Hits (featuring "Joy," which just reached #1 on the Christian singles chart). No doubt they'll be playing many of the songs on Shine.
Jennifer Knapp will also grace the stage this year. Truly a road-warrior, she was just here February 26 at Valley View Baptist Church and will return June 23 for the Greater Louisville Billy Graham Crusade at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. When Jennifer played at Valley View, she included a few new songs that will likely appear on her next album, due out later this year. I wouldn't be surprised if a few of those are heard in Wilmore as well. Ichthus 2001 definitely has variety: everything thing from the soulful sounds of Nicole C. Mullen (who had 2000's #1 song with "Redeemer") to the heavy rock of Project 86 (who kick off a tour with Living Sacrifice May 1st). Also on hand: Delirious; Salvador; Ginny Owens; Phil Joel; Lincoln Brewster; Pete Stewart; Tree 63; Aurora and many others.
Speakers include Tony Campolo, Reggie Dabbs and others. Campolo is professor emeritus of Sociology at Eastern College in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He's authored over 25 books including Revolution and Renewal: How Churches Are Saving Our Cites and Let Me Tell You a Story: Life Lessons From Unexpected Places and Unlikely People. I think he was even a "spiritual advisor" to President Clinton. Wonder if he'll talk about that? I have never seen him speak live, but I hear he's amazing in person. Dabbs is a motivational speaker from Fort Worth, Texas. He speaks to teens about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as other issues. Other speakers include Dez Dickerson; Hule Goddard; Tim Guenther; Dennis "Tiger" McLuen; Duffy Robbins; Tom Tufts and yes, Kirk Cameron. The former "Growing Pains" and current "Left Behind" star will be on hand as well. I think it's great to see Kirk proclaiming his faith today. It's weird, as just last night I saw actress Heather Graham on TV talking about the crush she used to have on him. Pretty cool! If there's a Q&A time, be sure to ask him how it feels to know Austin Powers' girlfriend had a crush on him.
Oh, yeah, another important fact, if you are thinking about going to Ichthus: there will be showers this year. According to Ichthus Ministries:
"Buildings will feature block construction for quick and easy cleaning, a total of 44 shower heads between the two buildings, timed water control for quick showers reducing time spent waiting in line, and hot water. Though the buildings may not be 100% completed, they will be useable."
There you go! Everybody take a shower, OK? Or you may not want to greet your fellow concert-goers "With Arms Wide Open". For more information check out Ichthus.org.