This weekend, Christian music will again ring out from the former Ichthus Farm off U.S. 68 in Jessamine County.
The last Ichthus Festival was held on the property in 2012. The next year, the farm was sold to Joe and Cheryl Lycan and was renamed Servant Heart Farm.
The Lycans put on a one-day concert event there in 2014, but attendance was only a couple hundred people.
Now, three years later, the Lycans hope for better results. Newsboys and Jeremy Camp, each winners of GMA Dove Awards, will headline River Rock, a two-day event that starts Friday.
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Other scheduled performers include Danny Gokey and Jasmine Murray, singers who appeared on the eighth season of “American Idol;” Zach Williams, whose single “Chain Breaker” was a hit on the Christian charts; and Cloverton, a Kansas band whose album “We Sing Joy” appeared on three Billboard charts.
Local and regional artists, including Iron Bell of Louisville and Rory Comtois of Bethel Harvest Church in Nicholasville, will appear.
“We believe that this lineup will be enough to draw people back in,” Joe Lycan said. “We’re doing everything we can to get the word out.”
The Lycans live in Williamson, W.Va., where a revival in April 2016 saw hundreds pack a sports complex over several nights. The couple siad a similar revival could happen in Wilmore.
“This is a new day and a fresh new thing,” Cheryl Lycan said. “God’s going to do something on this property. When people come here, they’re going to be touched, and they’re going to leave differently. Believers are going to be encouraged. People will get saved here and find the Lord.”
“To us, it’s not about the hype and the glitter of a festival,” Joe said. “It’s about the gathering in of God’s people to love them and let him be exalted. If we can keep that pure thought in people’s thoughts, then this thing will flourish.”
The couple have had local help, including former Ichthus volunteers, to prepare for this weekend.
The Lycans were in Wilmore in late August to mow some of the grounds, and they continue to make repairs and improvements to the property.
A ramp was added “so that the little bands who don’t have a semi to back up” to the stage can unload and more easily set up bulky equipment without climbing steps.
The event has backing from Lighthouse Events, a company run by Jeff and Gail Wall that puts on Christian music events in New England.
The Ark Encounter in Grant County is getting word out about the festival, too. If someone buys a two-day youth or adult pass to River Rock, they can add a one-day pass to visit the Ark Encounter for $10. (People who take advantage of that offer must present their River Rock pass and the Ark Encounter voucher for entry to the Grant County attraction.)
Beyond this weekend, the Lycans hope to host smaller events and gatherings on the property so that, in Joe’s words, “it builds the momentum of real ministry in Central Kentucky.”
“Our mission is to see worship return to these grounds,” Joe Lycan said. “But not only that a big festival returns, but that it would be just the catalyst for a reawakening in this region, where God’s people come back together and honor him.”
If you go
What: Two day Christian pop music festival.
When: Sept. 15, 16
Where: Servant Heart Farm, 9517 Harrodsburg Rd., Wilmore
Tickets: $55 single-day admission; $79 two-day adult pass, $65 two-day pass ages 5-12; additional costs for on-site camping