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Volunteers play big role in revived Ichthus Music Festival

By Gerard Flanagan

Campbellsville, KY - Denise Gilliland remembers her first time attending the Ichthus Music Festival in 1996, when she took a youth group from Carlisle Christian Church to the concert in Wilmore, Ky.

That night, Gilliland said she felt the presence of God in a profound and impactful way.

"Sitting on the hillside, feasting on fair food while sitting on a tarp enjoying the sunshine, fellowship with friends and listening to great music and anointed speakers. Who could ask for anything more?" Gilliland said.

"The Holy Spirit filled that hillside. God was in that place. That is what brings me back every time. I feel renewed and closer to Him each time I attend," she said.

More than 25 years later, Gilliland is one of approximately 60 volunteers helping to bring back the second edition of the revived Ichthus Music Festival to Servant Heart Farm in Wilmore on Saturday, September 10, 2022.

"The ministry of this festival can draw in all types of people," Gilliland said. "It is my prayer that each and every one feels the love of God while spending time on these grounds."

Cheryl Lycan, Ichthus Music Festival director, said the volunteers are the heart and soul of Ichthus.

"In retrospect, the heart and soul of the success of the Ichthus Festival has always been on the shoulders of its dedicated, faithful Christian volunteers," Lycan said. "Beginning in 1970 through the late 1990s, the festival was completely planned and executed by volunteers who loved the Lord and wanted to be a part of sharing the Gospel of Jesus.

"That is the Christ-centered model we want to revive and build upon," he said.

Her husband, Joe Lycan, said the volunteers are the backbone of Ichthus.

"We are honored to have the dedicated new Ichthus team of volunteers who share this vision with us making the festival emphasis on the message of Christ, salvations, and providing avenues of inclusiveness into the body of Christ and bringing new artists opportunities to share the Gospel alongside industry professionals," he said.

Joe and Cheryl Lycan are owners of Servant Heart Farm and operate The Beacon Foundation, the 501c3 organization that is producing Ichthus.

Jamie Lawrence, executive director of church and ministry outreach at Campbellsville University, said the Ichthus volunteers are dedicated to seeing God's work done through Ichthus.

"Having helped with Ichthus last year and even more this year, I have discovered one great truth: The volunteers for this music festival are second to none," he said. "They work with all of their heart to see God's will done on that amazing field in Wilmore."

Lawrence said, "Denise Gilliland has been a volunteer going back many years and she still has the same passion for it as she did back then. It is an honor to work alongside someone with this much heart for ministry."

The festival will feature a full lineup of contemporary Christian artists and bands. Gates will open at 11amET. Music will begin at NoonET, and the final concert will end at approximately 10:30pmET.

Tickets are available at More information on Ichthus 2022 can be found at

Ichthus 2022 is a production of The Beacon Foundation in cooperation with Campbellsville University. The Sept. 10 event will be on Servant Heart Farm (the former Ichthus Farm) in Wilmore, Ky., the traditional home of Ichthus.

This story was posted on 2022-08-21 10:46:03
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