Yesterday we wrapped up a great week at Ichthus Music Festival in Kentucky. We raised over $3,500 and sold over 800 bracelets there, despite all the weather troubles!
We arrived to find the tent we were going to be in had collapsed! We waited with the other vendors as they repaired it, but had to wait until the next morning to open up shop. However, we were able to enjoy a few shows as a result and came across some great talent in The City Harmonic (who I still claim has a strong resemblance to Seabird stylistically, a compliment on both their behalf).
The next day, we had several of our supporting bands play and were able to catch up with Write This Down and The Wedding.
I was also delighted to finally meet Taylor and Karen Spurlock as well as David and his sweet wife with The Turn Around.
The second night, we shot some promos with The Wedding and were packing up the table after they headed out when we discovered that they’d left their cash box behind. I knew most of their phones were dead so I texted a few people to try and get ahold of them. Luckily, Matt from Wavorly came through and we were able to reach Trevor. I could hear Jake in the background saying “The cash box? what?… ohhhh!” ha ha and he came back to get it. I’m pretty sure Kelcie and I panicked more than they did over it, thinking they were on the road driving farther and farther away, but it turned out that they were still on the festival grounds.
Ivoryline played the third day and I handed off some more bracelets to them after, I believe they said they were heading to Sweden soon, which is pretty cool. Wes let me know that they’re really interested in doing a Red Thread tour, so hopefully we can get one organized with them in the near future!
I also stopped by to say hi to some old friends in Mikeschair and ended up talking to Jesse’s wife, Sarah, for a while about their interest in doing something to benefit sex trafficking. We’ll talk more about it later but there could be some great things that come out of that. I know that they do some amazing outreaches through their fan base and she seemed to have some really well put-together ideas for what they would like to accomplish through it. I’m excited to talk with her more about it!
That night, I was coming back to our booth from the City Harmonic table and I ran into Shane, Aaron Gillespie’s keyboarder. He was still sporting his bracelet and he said Aaron and everyone else still wears theirs as well. He also said that the benefit show they played for us was one of their favorite shows on the tour! They ended up shutting down the merch tent to the public early so Kelc and I were able to pack up and watch the end of The Almost’s show with Shane.
We had 2 new bands join on the spot that week, Black Diamond Fiasco out of Indiana, and Above the Abyss out of Michigan. The Cafe on the Square in Columbia, KY is also going to be selling bracelets now. However, a lot more applications were handed out so we will be adding even more new members soon!
Also, I did a phone interview for a radio station out of Austin, 106.7 The Source. And the host, Clutch, has a show called the Metal Meltdown. His listeners call themselves the Metalocracy and he did a segment called “The Metalocracy Gives Back” and featured us alongside RYFO and HAMM. It was my first live radio interview but it was incredibly fun. I was sitting in my car, trying to block out the booming music coming from the stages surrounding us, and a very surreal feeling hit me. I was sitting there talking about Red Thread, my car was shaking from the base from Le Crae, I looked out my window towards the main stage and saw fireworks lighting up the sky from Red’s set, and I realized that I was exactly where I wanted to be, doing what I loved and that is an incredible blessing. God has been so good to me in all that He has done in my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I used to pray that He would keep my life from ever being boring and that He would use me to do crazy things that required great faith and He has definitely pulled through. It’s a lot to take in, but it’s fantastic! Anyway, Clutch said that, when we meet at Cornerstone, he wants me to personally tie a bracelet on his wrist lol and I would be honored to.
We had the stinkin sweetest booth neighbors in the world. The couple that ran a jewelry store to our right gave us cold water and let us charge our phones with their electricity. And the band to our right, This Fires Embrace, were truly living out Christ’s example of living in humble servitude. Before we’d even met them, we were savoring this wonderful breeze that we had coming thorugh our area and we realized that they had turned one of their extra fans to face us. They would check in with us every now and then to chat and we would find cold bottles of water on the edge of our table that Aaron had brought us from backstage. One of our side banners kept blowing over with the storm winds and we were adjusting it once and found one of their CD boxes had been placed behind it to hold it down. They didn’t make a show about helping others, they just did it, not for attention but because they cared. I wish that my life looked more like that, filled with random acts of kindness that didn’t draw attention or recognition, but were done out of humility.
Our final day, we had a lot of people stop by the table and ask some really good questions! It was fantastic! Some people even would pull up a chair and sit with us as we explained more about trafficking and slavery to them. I was even surprised to find that a lot of younger kids were asking a lot of questions and wanting to get involved. It was great to see that people actually wanted to know where the money was going, instead of just buying a bracelet to fit in with their friends. They wanted to know that they were making a difference and they were hungry to give. We even had two girls come up with a wad of money that they had found in the Port-A-Pottys that they wanted to donate to us (which we found comical). Once, we had to close the table to run an errand and we came back to find that someone had tucked a bill into our table cover. The kids (and adults) we met were incredibly caring and they were excited to have the opportunity to get involved in something outside of themselves.
One girl told us that “You and TWLOHA are my two favorite causes.” I love that kids can come to festivals like these and learn so much about the world. The vendors and non-profits represented are so eclectic and it’s a great opportunity for them to educate themselves. The Love Alliance and Morning After Ministries were two other outreaches that correlated with us rather well.
The final night, we returned to a flooded tent and settled into our soaked sleeping bags, grateful that it wasn’t cold. In the morning, we hoped to sleep in until at least 9, since we had been running on about 4 hours of sleep each night after closing, loading up, and doing inventory, but we awoke at 7 to the loud speakers announcing that we had 15 minutes until we got hit by a huge storm. We were able to pack up fast and had just hopped in the car when the downpour came. We went ahead and made an early departure for Ohio, hoping it would clear up enough for us to reorganize my chaotically stuffed Rav-4, but the rain followed us all the way to Akron. Today, we were enjoying a wacky sub at Mr. Zub’s when a guy nearby informed us that we’d be under a huge thunderstorm until Wednesday night. We’ll enjoy the security of our host’s house while we can! We have a fantastic host who gave us a guide to Downtown Akron, it’s a delightfully quirky place with incredibly friendly people.
Alive starts up later this week and then we’re off to Cornerstone! Can’t wait!