Friday, July 04, 2008

Wednesday

I took a half day at work so Bob and I could get an early start. We didn't want to miss anything. Got on the road by 1:00 and it was pretty smooth sailing the whole way. Even took a picture of the Wind Farms along the Turnpike.



Where's Don Quixote when we need him?
Anyways, we made it to the festival grounds around 4:00.



It didn't take too long to find the Compassion Campsite. Once we found it we settled in and set-up camp before taking a stroll around the festival grounds to take a look see.



Then headed up to one of the Compassion booths to see what things looked like from up there. There were three others spread around the main stage area and one by the fringe stage. The one I took this picture from was the one I would be spending most of my time at.



I also mananged to find someone very important to my involvement with Compassion as an advocate, Compassion Dave. He was attending to the booth that was located inside the vendor's pavillion. The reason why I say that he's important to my involvement with Compassion is because he stumbled upon my blogpost from when I first sponsored a child and encouraged me to become an advocate. And now here I am.

Thanks Dave, that little nudge has opened a whole new world of faith for me. I've never been so satisfied in my walk with Christ as I have been since I joined.

OK, after a little more exploration Bob and I decided it was time to find a place for the first concert. As we mingled with the crowd Bob decided to make things interesting. He Began randomly introducing himself to the people standing around us. It was kinda funny because he'd just turn to someone in the crowd and say "Hey, I'm Rob Cross. What's your name?" And they would tell him and he'd say "Great to know ya. We're gonna have a great time here." Then he'd turn to someone else and say "Hey, do you know Rob Cross?" and they would usually say "No" so he'd reply with "Well, I'm Rob Cross, you're gonna wanna know that." Eventually, several of these kids would be joining us in the mosh pit at the Fringe Stage. But more on that later.
Of course, since ths is a Christian festival, and "A Tribute to our Creator", the entire festival started with a prayer from one of the founders of the Creation Festival, Pastor Harry Thomas.



I have a great deal of resepct and admiration for this man because of his wholehearted commitment to Christ and using the festival to glorify God. What else needs to be said?
After the prayer, Flyleaf was set to kick things off, and what a way to kick off this festival. They're a great band who've seen substantial mainstream success. And with such a positive message you couldn't ask for a better opening act for Creation. It was especially touching when their vocalist, Lacey spoke about how glad they were to be playing at Creation. She expressed to the crowd that they don't get very many opporunities to play before their brothers and sisters in Christ because of the venues that their popularity has lead them to play in. So they felt exceptionally blessed to be a part of this festival for their first time, and just wanted to rejoice in this chance to fellowship with 70,000+ other believers.
They were followed up by a band called Leeland. I really liked their sound. A bit alternative, a bit rock, and all worship. Very cool. And perfect to set things up for the first speaker of the event.
His name was Justin Lookadoo. He's a comedian with a great message. His message; "If only I'd known.". A reminder that we don't always know what's going to happen next in our lives and we might not get a second chance to do or say something for/to someone we care about. Eventually, Bob would admit to me that this message hit home with him, and I was proud to hear him say so. But I'll share more about that later.
In respect to this being Creation's 30th year, the organizers decided to do something unique. They introduced the crowd to Melody Green, the widow of the late Keith Green - a pioneer of early Christian rock and one of the godfathers of the earliest Christian music festivals. He passed away before I even became a Christian, so I wasn't too familiar with his work on my own terms, but only because of the influence he had on so many of the musicians I loved when I did become a believer. In any event, this was a great opportunity to pay a small tribute to one of the men who made festivals like Creation possible, even if most of the younger audience members had know idea who these people were.
Next up, Skillet. Best live show I have ever seen! Very intense. The crowd absolutely loved them. And what's not to love? Hot chick drummer, hot chick guitarist, need I say more? Actually, Skillet is one of those bands that sounds just as good live as they do on the CD, and with so much energy in their performance, too. I can't wait to see them again.
It was after Skillet's set that Bob and I realized we hadn't eaten since we left the house - just before 1:00. So we headed out to see what kind of food vendors were around. There were plenty to choose from, but we opted for strombolis. Most everything else seemed a bit pricey.
As we ate we realized we were never going to be able to get anywhere near the stage for the next set, which was Switchfoot. So we just wandered around as they played and I didn't get any pics since the lighting was no good and my camera's night setting is only good at close range when everything is standing still. And you can't expect any of these bands to stand still. So even if we had gotten close enough, the pictures probably would've been crap.
The night wrapped up with a fireworks display...











I'd like to say that the fireworks were an excellent end to a great day, but they weren't. You see, Creation has this after-hours thing called The Late Nite Cafe that takes place in the tent which, in the mornings, is dedicated to the children's minsitry. So, after the main stage is shut down for the night, some time after midnight, many of the campers head over to the Late Nite Cafe. It just so happens that the Late Nite Cafe was right next to the site were Bob and I had set-up camp.
Needless to say, we didn't get to sleep until sometime after 2:30. Possibly even later because after the goings on in the Cafe were over plenty of people lingered on to chat. Very loudly. Very annoyingly.
Now don't get me wrong, the guy who was performing in the Late Nite Cafe was hilarious. His name was Paul Aldrich and he's a very talented musician/comedian who had Bob and I laughing the entire time we were trying to fall asleep. But it would've been nice to have less noisey neighbors for the weekend. Perhaps next year things will work out better for us.

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