Where were you 14 years ago? Chances are, you were holding your tickets and anticipating the first Creation Northwest Festival at the Gorge Amphitheater in Quincy, WA. For those unfamiliar with Creation Northwest (CN), it is an annual, multi-day, Christian, music festival that features some of the biggest names in Christian music. Back then; the daily attendance was about 14,000. Last year, the festival saw approximately 30,000 each day. Last year was also the first festival in their new location, the Enumclaw Expo Center in Enumclaw, WA. This year’s festival will be held in the same location from July 20-23.
The very first Creation Fest (now known as Creation Northeast) was held in a little hidden place called Muddy Run Park in Holtwood, PA in 1979. The purpose then is the same it is now, “To present the Gospel through music, teaching and any other creative means so that those attending will be drawn to salvation and discipleship in Christ,” says Pastor Harry Thomas. “We come together by the thousands to ‘Give Tribute to Our Creator’ and to allow His Spirit to birth many as ‘new Creations’ in Jesus Christ who will love and serve Him.”
After several years of successful ministry on the East Coast, the folks at Creation Fest set up a second camp at the opposite end of the states. Fortunate for us, they picked Washington. It had somewhat of a controversial beginning. For 21 years prior, Washington had been the home to another music festival called Jesus Northwest. However, the fall of 1987, it was announced that the popular summertime music festival would come to an end. There were no apparent financial problems and the crowds were at record level, but success isn’t always measured in numbers.
In an open letter, Executive Director, Randy Campbell said, “For three years we have had a growing unrest with the focus of ministry at Jesus Northwest. In the fall of 1996 the Lord began to call our church to a deeper walk of faith and holiness. As He continued to reveal more of His presence and character to us, much of the ministry and direction of our church began to change. Because Jesus Northwest is such a large ministry of Peoples Church, it was obviously affected by these changes. Initially we questioned Jesus Northwest’s validity because of our growing concern over the worldliness and idolatry we had watched, allowed and even facilitated.” Fans of the event were devastated.
“When Jesus Northwest decided to no longer do their event, people in the Northwest began to ask if we would come,” says Thomas “After much prayer and investigation we felt led to proceed and the Gorge Amphitheater opened to us.” And there it stayed until last year when CN made the move to the Enumclaw Expo Center. When asked why they made the change, Thomas said that it was a business decision for the Gorge, which is now owned by Live Nation. “We did not choose to move but the Lord amazingly provided a better situation for us at the Enumclaw Expo Center. It’s just a great place and people feel at home.”
Highlights of this summer include great artists like Chris Tomlin, The Newsboys, Skillet, TobyMac and more. “We are especially excited to have some great speakers as well. One guy we are really excited about is, Nick Vujicic (“Life Without Limbs”). He was born with no limbs but has turned his disability into an opportunity to spread the message of hope.”
To help keep the focus on Jesus and not on each other, CN takes special care to provide other events as well. This is year they will raise up a special tent called “The Project Experience.” “This will be an interactive experience for the fans to really reach a deeper appreciation for all that we have and allow opportunities for some great worship.” Communion, candle lighting, kids ministry, seminars, specials sessions for youth leaders and even fireworks will be featured.
I asked Mr. Thomas what the biggest “praise report” was of last year’s event. He said, “Amazing altar calls for salvation. Also that we survived a venue move and a change of date all in one year! God is good!”
What are you hoping for this year? “More lives touched and convicted by God’s Spirit to rise up and be world changers for God.”
More information about this year’s line up to come. However, you will not want to wait much longer to snag your tickets. For ticket prices and more, visit the festival website.