Creation Festival

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Creation Festivals
Creation Festival from Lookout.JPG
Aerial view of the Creation Northeast festival.
GenreContemporary Christian music
Location(s)Creation Northeast:
Agape Farm
Mount Union, Pennsylvania

Creation Northwest:
Benton-Franklin Fairgrounds
Kennewick, Washington
Years activeNortheast: 1979 to present
Northwest: 1998 to present
Founded byHarry Thomas, Jr. and Timothy Landis
Organized byCome Alive International

Creation Festival (officially "Creation Festivals") consists of two annual, four-day Christian music festivals held in the United States, called Creation Northeast and Creation Northwest.[1] According to its organizers, the festivals have become the "Nation's Largest Christian Music Festival." [2] Average attendance is between 50,000 and 100,000 annually.[3]

Both four-day festivals host more than sixty Christian rock, contemporary, and worship bands. Also featured are Christian speakers and authors, a fringe stage (hosting mostly up-and-coming and/or harder Christian rock bands), children's stage (kids' entertainers geared towards smaller children), Late Nite Cafe, camping, petting zoo, baptisms, communion, fireworks, extreme sports, volleyball, giveaways, candlelight service, prayer tent, youth pastor VIP tent, and other experience-based activities. The festival is a member of the Christian Festival Association.[2] The Creation Festivals are conducted on the basis of purpose, vision, and belief. The festival's main purpose is "To present the Gospel through music, teaching and any other creative means so that those attending will be drawn to salvation and discipleship in Christ."[citation needed] Their vision is for the festival to be a time of prayerful reflection and a time for all attendees, on an individual level, to let Christ into their lives through music, teaching and the spoken word. The overall belief of the Creation Festival is that the lord and savior, Jesus Christ, son of God, died on the cross to take away all of mankind's sin, but then was raised from the dead and given eternal life. Therefore, from the love and mercy given by God, Christians as a people must share the message of Christ.[1]

The festival's slogans are "A Tribute to Our Creator", and "the highlight of your summer... maybe your life".[2]

Creation Northeast history[edit]

Peter Furler, former lead singer of the Newsboys, performing in 2007

Rev. Dr. Harry Thomas, Jr. and Timothy Landis founded Creation East in 1979 in Muddy Run Park in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.[4] After just five years, the festival outgrew Muddy Run Park and had to change venues. In 1984, the Creation Festival was moved to the Agape Campground in Mount Union, Pennsylvania when the board of Jesus Ministries offered to rent out the area for the festival. This year was also the first year for a festival-wide Communion, which has since become a yearly tradition.

Creation '88 marked the festival's tenth year celebration with the largest crowd ever to participate in the festival. The 1988 festival concluded with a large fireworks display, which continues to be a memorable part of all Creation Festivals. The first fireworks display at the Creation Festival was in 1983.

In 1992, the festival opened a second stage, "The Fringe Stage". Due to the festival's positive response to the concept of multiple stages, by 1994 both stages were operating continually and in tandem to provide more variety and availability of bands and speakers.[1]

Due to thunderstorms and severe flooding, the festival was canceled in 1995 and 2006. In 1996 and 2003, the festival was held in Hershey, Pennsylvania, with the concerts taking place in the Hersheypark complex arenas. Fans attending the four-day festival were offered a reduced price ticket to Hersheypark and camped alongside a large hill.

In 2008, the festival started an annual tour, passing through more than 30 cities across the U.S.[5]

In 2010, Creation Northeast was held at Agape Farm in Mount Union, Pennsylvania, from June 30 – July 3, 2010.[6]

After Tim Landis stepped out of his original role, Rev. Dr. Harry Thomas, Jr. continued to be involved, focusing mainly on expanding the ministry of the festival, and passed on the majority of the production and booking to Bill Darpino.[7] Thomas preached a short message at Creation every year.

In December 2017, Thomas was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting minors in Medford Township, New Jersey over a 16-year period.[8][9] In February 2018, Thomas pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual assault; he awaits a June 2018 hearing, and sentencing of up to 20 years in prison with no eligibility for parole.[10]

Creation Northwest history[edit]

In 1998, the festival expanded to the west with the addition of "Creation Northwest" (aka Creation West) at the Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington. In 2010, Creation Festival Northwest moved to the Enumclaw Expo Center in Enumclaw, Washington.[6] Following the 2013 festival, Creation pulled out of Enumclaw after negotiating a contract for a new venue at the Benton-Franklin Fairgrounds in Kennewick, Washington starting in 2014.[11] In January 2018, Creation Festivals announced postponement of the Northwest festival until 2019, with multiple options for those who had already purchased 2018 tickets.[12]

Other festivals[edit]

In 2013, Creation took over production of the Ichthus Music Festival, which was started in 1970.[13] After several years of postponement, Creation announced in 2016 that it would not hold an Ichthus festival,[14][15] and Asbury University acquired rights to the Ichthus name.[16] Creation has also run the Sonshine Festival since 2014.[17][18] Citing financial reasons, Sonshine 2017 was paused, with "hope and desire to see [it] return in 2018", according to the festival's webpage.[19]


  1. ^ a b c "Creation 2012 Northeast | Creation Festivals". Retrieved September 24, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c "Creation Festivals". Retrieved March 1, 2010.
  3. ^ "sonicbids". Retrieved July 24, 2010.
  4. ^ Gvozdas, Susan (July 4, 2003). "Nonprofit hopes Creation breaks even". Central Penn Business Journal. Retrieved January 1, 2010.
  5. ^ Leichman, Aaron (November 25, 2008). "Creation Festival Concludes First-Ever Tour". The Christian Post. Retrieved January 1, 2010.
  6. ^ a b Hanson, Kevin (November 9, 2009). "Concert to bring crowds to town". Enumclaw Courier Herald. Archived from the original on November 29, 2009. Retrieved January 1, 2010.
  7. ^ "Industry Update: Bill Darpino, Executive Director of Creation Festivals, On the Need for Focused Experimentation". Gospel Music Association. February 12, 2015. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  8. ^ "Prosecutor: NJ pastor sexually assaulted kids for 16 years". WABC-TV. December 8, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  9. ^ Walsh, Jim (December 7, 2017). "Pastor at Come Alive Church accused of juvenile sex crimes". Courier-Post. USA Today Network. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  10. ^ "Medford Township Pastor Pleaded Guilty To Sexually Assaulting 5 Juveniles". CBS Philly. February 16, 2018. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  11. ^ Richardson, Terry (October 24, 2013). "Haters Win! Creation Fest Picking Up Its Ball and Going Elsewhere". Enumclaw Patch. Patch. Retrieved November 14, 2013.
  12. ^ "Creation Northwest Postponed Until 2019". NewReleaseToday. January 9, 2018. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  13. ^ "Ichthus music festival to return in 2014 at Kentucky Horse Park". The Jessamine Journal. May 8, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
  14. ^ Ward, Karla (April 12, 2014). "Planned renewal of Ichthus Festival is called off until 2015". Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  15. ^ Copley, Rich (February 9, 2016). "Ichthus Festival canceled, again". Copious Notes. Lexington Herald-Leader. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  16. ^ "Asbury Obtains Rights to Ichthus Name and Legacy". Asbury University. May 6, 2016. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  17. ^ "NEWS: Creation Festivals Goes Worldwide with Live Streaming". Gospel Music Association. June 26, 2015. Retrieved October 3, 2016. Creation Festivals currently produces ... Sonshine Festival
  18. ^ "Breaking: Sonshine Music Festival Relocating to Wisconsin". Willmar Radio. November 14, 2014. Retrieved October 3, 2016. Sonshine is now part of the Creation family of festivals
  19. ^ "Sonshine Festival". Archived from the original on October 9, 2017. Retrieved February 18, 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°17′07″N 77°54′58″W / 40.28516°N 77.91624°W / 40.28516; -77.91624