In recent years, the Ichthus Festival has become a showcase for Kentucky-based Christian rock talent, be they chart toppers Audio Adrenaline or newcomers, such as the Lee Roessler Band, which won last year's battle of the bands at Ichthus.
This year is no exception.
Topping the local bill will be Northern Kentucky rockers Seabird, who will play the festival main stage at 1 p.m. June 19.
The band, which came out of the Cincinnati music scene, is riding the success of its second album, Rocks Into Rivers, and the hit single Don't You Know You're Beautiful. Seabird, led by keyboardist Aaron Morgan, has enjoyed crossover success: Songs from its first album, 2008's 'Til We See the Shore, were picked for the TV show Grey's Anatomy. Last fall, Seabird played dates at Southland Christian Church, opening for the David Crowder Band, and downtown nightspot Buster's Billiards and Backroom within a few weeks of each other.
This will be Seabird's Ichthus debut.
There are quite a few Bluegrass State acts on independent stages, including that battle of the bands winner, Lee Roessler, who filled the amphitheater at the main stage with his genial, poppy tunes on the final day of last year's Ichthus. He plays Indie Stage 1 at 3:30 June 17.
■ Florence-based Irela delivers a trio of tracks on its MySpace page that showed a tendency for smooth tunes based on gentle guitar riffs, and an ability to deliver some speedy pop. The group is on twice: 10:20 p.m. June 17 on Indie Stage 2 and 11 p.m. June 18 on Indie 1.
■ Wilmore's Rookie, which got a big boost at last year's fest, is back at 3:30 p.m. June 19 on the Edge Stage.
■ Hopkinsville's Hearts of Saints brings an anthemic dance-pop groove to the festival at 9:30 p.m. June 17 on Indie 2.
■ The first track on the MySpace page for Paintsville's 7:13 is Sing to the Lord, an intriguing little hybrid of praise chorus and distorted guitar. 7:13 does lean on the worship side of things, and you can see them at 2 p.m. June 18 on Indie 1.
■ Mightier Than I has only three demos on its MySpace page, but the London band's tracks are fairly fully produced rock offerings. Hear more at 2 p.m. June 19 on Indie 1.
■ If you're in a metal mood, the Cincinnati area's Datum Point delivers the heavy stuff at 3:30 p.m. June 19 on Indie 2.
■ There are three, count-'em, three chances to hear the metal stylings of the Cincinnati area's Set Sights Forward: 8:05 p.m. June 17 on Indie 1, 5:30 p.m. June 18 on Indie 2 and 2 p.m. June 19 on Indie 2.
■ And Somerset favorites Live Fish return to Ichthus at 2 p.m. June 17 on Indie 1.
Look for more Ichthus coverage in coming weeks in the Herald-Leader, including a chat with Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman in the June 13 Life+Arts section, and look for even more at LexGo.com.
Aussie band in Lexington
After Ichthus, there's another big Christian music event coming down Harrodsburg Road. Australian worship trendsetter Hillsong Live will bring its first U.S. tour to Southland Christian Church at 7:30 p.m. July 26. Tickets are $25 and are available at www.itickets.com.