Icthus. Four days. Six stages. One Hundred and Twenty Artists. Whether you are a forty-year veteran of the festival or coming this year for the first time, the sheer size and spectacle of this festival is something to behold. And if you’re anything like me, you probably need to read up on who’s going to be there so you can plan your schedule accordingly each day.
Some of the names on the line-up will be obvious choices for you to see. You will probably know if you want to hear Toby Mac, Chris Tomlin, Switchfoot, or Kutless. But what about the rest of these bands? Some you may have heard of, others maybe not. How do you decide?
I’ve spent the past few days listening to a number of the bands on this list, and I’d like to recommend eight artists I wouldn’t miss at Icthus if I were you:
For the Rock-and-Rollers:
Lybecker. A self-description from their web-site claims that “their music sounds like Third eye Blind hit Switchfoot with a guitar and went to jail where they were cell mates with Shane and Shane and played basketball with David Crowder band.” And that’s not too far from the truth.
The Almost. Former Underoath drummer Aaron Gillespie fronts The Almost, a band with southern roots and an emo flair. Gillespie himself will also be performing a solo set at Icthus, and both sets will be well worth attending.
For the Non-Stop Worshippers:
The City Harmonic. This band has blown up on the music scene since their EP released in 2011. Their writing is not conventional, but there is something singable about every tune I’ve heard of there.
Audrey Assad. I first heard Audrey on her latest tour with Matt Maher, and I was absolutely floored by the purity of her voice. Piano driven songs, many with a deep intimacy and yearning for the presence of God.
For the Pop-Junkies:
Family Force 5. The five brothers of this Georgia-based band bring every bit of energy you might want to the stage. Their shows are high-octane marathons of dance and rock; this is not for the faint of heart. If you’re chaperoning youth to this show, bring some Red Bull.
Tedashii. I’m glad to see more rap artists on the Ichthus bill this year, and Tedashii will prove to you why they should continue this direction. Tedashii writes with incredible passion for the Gospel and for the culture he’s trying to reach; you’ll hear his heart and the heart of God as he performs.
And for the daring:
Brian Head Welsh. This show might be worth seeing just to say you’ve actually witnessed it. Welsh, the former member of Korn, shared his music and his story of redemption from all that this world holds dear. This show will be raucous, but will offer an amazing testimony to the power of Christ.
White Collar Sideshow. Honestly, I may go see this one out of sheer curiosity. A bold statement about the trappings of the status quo, WCSS seem like an experiment in music, performance art, and gospel preaching rolled up into one.
Who are you most excited about seeing?