History

Creation History (“His”tory)

This is a short account of the early beginnings of the Creation Festivals written for the 20th year anniversary at Creation ’98 as told by co-founders Harry Thomas and Tim Landis. read more


Yearly Photo Highlights


Yearly Highlights

79

Creation ’79

June 21, 22 & 23

Memories

  • 1979, what a year to start a festival in Lancaster, PA. The gas crisis was so bad on the weekend of the festival that only 20% of the gas stations in Pennsylvania had gas to sell. Harry recalls seeing a TV anchor person telling drives to “stay home, don’t go anywhere!”
  • A partial nuclear ,letdown had occurred only three months earlier upstream at the Three Mile Island power plant.
  • Would you believe there was a Billy Graham Crusade in Lancaster the same week, featuring Leighton Ford.
  • There were no shower facilities provided that first year. Three to four days without showers was not a good idea.
  • Being a bit disorganized the first year, our last remembrance of Creation ’79 is Harry & Tim, and Tim’s younger sister, Karla, throwing garbage bags over the sides into a truck. We had forgotten to secure a crew to handle this.

80

Creation ’80

June 26, 27 & 28

Memories

  • We got creative and figured out a way to build some temporary shower units. However, cold is too mild a word to describe the water. It felt like tiny little icicles massaging your skin.
  • P.B.S. came and videotaped an excellent sixty minute documentary on the festival. It was really great to see the Word of God preached over the Public Broadcasting System.
  • Possibly the biggest water baptism of all the Creation festivals took place this year. The presence of the Holy Spirit was very sweet as people broke out into spontaneous singing and worship.
  • One vivid memory is Chuck Girard sitting at the grand piano covered with a sheet of plastic in the midst of a driving rain and hail storm. He was singing, “Sometimes Alleluia”; no one left.

81

Creation ’81

June 25, 26 & 27

Memories

  • The Resurrection Band’s style of Heavy Metal was even a bit much for many of those attending Creation ’81. After they were finished, Harry said, over the P.A. system, “You can come out of the woods now.”
  • C. J. Mahaney was preaching with his broken leg in full cast when it started to rain. He admonished the audience, “If I can stand here in pain, you can stand there in the rain.”
  • Another miracle: A tornado swung away from where the festival was being held and totally tore down a barn just on the other side of the lake. It also took the roof off of some nearby buildings. Other than a lot of rain and some capsized tents, there was no one hurt at Creation. Mark Cerbone, our quick thinking staff supervisor, organized a massive blanket and sleeping bag exchange, asking those people who had dry supplies to help those who were soggy. Everyone was taken care of.

82

Creation ’82

June 23, 24 & 25

Memories

  • Argentina was at war with Britain over the Faulkland Islands. The press was interested in hearing what Juan Carlos Ortiz of Argentina and Winkie Pratney of a British colony would have to say on the subject. Both speakers showed that they were Christians by the love they had for one another, despite the hostilities between their two countries.
  • Mylon LeFevre & Brokenheart performed one of their first concerts ever at Creation ’82. His band back-up Harry Thomas and did their own set. At that time, Mylon and his band were working as janitors at their church. Mylon became a regular part of the Creation program for several years.
  • The mystery of the missing golf cart. We could not find that golf cart anywhere. Finally, after hours of hunting, someone spotted the golf cart totally submerged in the lake.

83

Creation ’83

June 21, 22 & 23

Memories

  • The year we outgrew Muddy Run.
  • Things were going smooth until the infamous Friday night Amy Grant Band concert. Just as Amy was about to go on stage, every light in the entire festival site went out because of a blown transformer. Amy was a good sport and she, Gary Chapman and Brown Bannister went on stage in the dark to lead Scripture songs. People aimed their flashlights on stage to provide light and the crowd held hands and worshipped the Lord. Meanwhile, Harry Thomas remembered that we just happened to have 10,000 candles tucked away in the back of a storage trailer on site. The candles were quickly located and distributed to the crowd. All honor and glory went to God as people sang, prayed, cried and hugged each other. Since that evening, each succeeding festival has programmed a candle lighting ceremony on Friday night.
  • On the lighter side: Tim had this bright idea of having a surprise fireworks display to close-out the festival. It was a spectacular display. The only problem that we had not anticipated was that some of the fireworks were not totally burning out before falling back to earth. In hindsight it probably was hilarious to see me and the stage crew running through the brush stomping on these burning bushes.
  • Approximately 50 percent of the people attending Creation ’83 got very sick. Many even had to go to the hospital. Everyone felt fine until a half a day after the event was over. We started getting reports that entire bus loads of people were checking into hospitals complaining of stomach pains. After thousands of dollars of research and dozens of tests by the Department of Environmental Resources, there is no conclusive answer to what happened.

84

Creation ’84

June 21, 22 & 23

  • Creation ’84 was the first Creation Festival to be held at the Agape Campground. After hearing about Creation’s need for a larger location, the Board of Jesus Ministries kindly offered rental of the Agape Farm.
  • Communion was served to the entire crowd for the first time on Saturday night. This has become an important annual celebration.
  • From Canada, The Daniel Band’s drummer got stuck at the border because of some misplaced paperwork.
  • After her surprise in 1983, it was a wonder that Amy Grant would trust us by agreeing to come back. Sure enough in the middle of her set, someone came yelling down the middle aisle asking for the microphone. Amy handed her the microphone to her. This was fortunate because the woman was a nurse and had received a report in the medical center that there was a seizure taking place in the middle of the field. She needed help in locating the patient. Amy, being a trouper, along with the crowd’s help, located this person and verbally directed the medical team to him in the midst of this massive crowd.

Creation ’85

June 27, 28 & 29

Memories

  • David Wilkerson had been originally scheduled to speak but had to cancel shortly before the festival. Harry was sitting at the computer working on the schedule, and praying. Just then Luis Palau called Harry and said the Lord had spoken to him about coming to Creation! What an answer to prayer! Luis is an international evangelist and in great demand. His call was definitely a sign from God.
  • Remember Leon Patillo and his “surprising” all female back-up band?
  • Remember Steve Taylor swinging from the hanging ladder on stage?
  • Remember traffic backed up for five miles to get into the festival? That was because a certain person named Tim Landis decided to try a new way to assign campsites. It didn’t work. We went back to the old way the next year and with a large crowd had very little, if any, backup.

86

Creation ’86

June 26, 27 & 28

Memories

  • This was the first year the brightly colored sails were used to decorate the sides of the stage. A large video screen for projection at night was introduced.
  • During the candle lighting ceremony on Friday night, Harry got a little carried away. As he was leading the crown in worship and sharing scriptures about how we should let our light shine before men, etc., he noticed a very bright star seemingly located directly above the mountain at the rear of the arena. Thinking this was a sign, he pointed this star out to the crowd. As people turned around and looked, then star started to move down the hill. Obviously it was someone with what must be the world’s brightest flashlight!

87

Creation ’87

June 25, 26 & 27

Memories

  • Larry Howard and his band was a last minute replacement for Leslie Phillips. Totally unknown in the north, Larry came the whole way from Macon, Georgia to do this concert. When he first started to play, the arena area was quite empty. By the time he was done, the joint was jumping. A former bluesman, Larry played sanctified blues to the glory of God.
  • Other notable new artist’s introduced to Creation ’89 were “The Innocence Mission” and “Charlie Peacock”.

88

Creation ’88

June 23, 24 & 25

Memories

  • This was our tenth year celebration. It was also the biggest crowd we had had to date!
  • The theme for the year was “A Call To Integrity”. In the midst of many scandals within the Christian community that year, we felt strongly led by the Lord to remind people that there is a higher standard for believers.
  • The final activity of the festival was an incredible fireworks show.

Creation ’89

June 22, 23, & 24

Memories

  • The theme for Creation ’89 was, “Risking, Changing, and Growing.” Perhaps it was prophetic.
  • Spring ’89 was a season of much rain. However, the weather started warming up and drying out, so we proceeded with our preparations. We had no idea what lay ahead! Our campers arrived, and we parked everyone as best we could. But then it happened. Halfway through the festival, another batch of storms hit us, resulting in what has been affectionately dubbed, “The Mud Fest”. Footage of the arena shows a stream of water in front of the stage, carrying lawn chairs with it. Despite the storms and the floods and the mud, we carried on. We had report after report of how the Lord protected and preserved all the campers – truly a miracle
  • Soggy campers whose belongings suffered the brunt of the experience made their way to the pavilion for shelter… and a surprise concert. You see, a young upstart band from Australia made their first appearance at Creation ’89. The Newsboys’ music lasted far into the night.
  • We saw the Body of Christ in action, as word spread of those who had needs due to the floods and mud. Donations of food and clothing began to be collected and shared with fellow campers. Even dry tent space was shared with those in need.

Creation ’90

June 28, 29 & 30

Memories

  • Theme: Preparing for the Nineties.
  • The weather was fine for most of the festival. However, we had one night when the forecast was threatening. Though we had rain, the report that tornados had gone around our site resulted in shouts of praise for God’s protection.
  • During James Robison’s invitation, thousands of people responded. As the rain began, not one person moved. Tears of repentance and joy were mixed with rain drops pouring down the uplifted faces of those seeking God’s hand upon their lives.

Creation ’91

June 26, 27, 28 & 29

Memories

  • No theme was established for this year. Instead, we waited to see how the Lord would lead each individual speaker to address our crowd.
  • Creation ’91 marked the first year of an official Wednesday night program, held on the Main Stage. Here we grow again!
  • Beginning at Creation ’89, we had seen a stronger-then-ever desire for the preaching of the Word. For the first time, we started to wonder if we would run out of room for our teaching sessions. It’s a good “problem” to have.

Creation ’92

June 25, 26, 27 & 28

Memories

  • First year for “The Fringe Stage”
  • Thursday night, as the crowd began to anticipate the appearance of DC Talk on stage, the sound of helicopter blades sliced through the cool night air. From out of nowhere, the chopper appeared and, as spotlights traced its path, landed beside the stage. Out hopped DC Talk. It was definitely one of the most unique openings for any of our musicians, ever. And one we’ll never repeat!

93

Creation ’93

June 23, 24, 25 & 26

Memories

  • Our ever increasing crowd size meant a greater need for camping space. So, we were able to establish a great working relationship with one of the Agape Farm’s neighbors, Farmer Bruce, and have been using his fields for additional camping ever since!
  • Unfortunately, Farmer Bruce’s fields are usually home for cows. As we began to prepare for the festival, we had to institute a new work crew — Tiny’s “Cow Patty Crew”!
  • The morning sessions for the last few years had featured the dynamic duo of James Ward and Duffy Robbins. They helped wake up the crowd with their games, songs and general hilarity. Coining a phrase used by our emcee, Mark Warfel, Creation ’93 was the first year for the official “Morning Cup of Coffee” with James and Duffy.
  • DC Talk came on the stage on Harley’s – through the crowd and on to a ramp…scary!

94

Creation ’94

June 29, 30, July 1 & 2

Memories

  • The theme for Creation ’94 was “Raising the Standard”
  • In conjunction with the Gospel Music Association, we sponsored a seminar especially for those folks interested in pursuing a career in Christian music. Experts from various disciplines shared with the crowd that attended. The tent was packed to capacity.
  • Due to the overwhelming response at the Fringe Stage, we felt it was time to expand the program. This was the first year we ran music from two stages at once.

Creation ’95

June 28, 29, 30 & July 1

Memories

  • Creation ’95 was one of the most challenging experiences. It was the year of the postponement.
  • Despite a rather wet spring, the grounds seemed to be holding up. Our scaffolding crew and the rest of the set up crew worked tirelessly to prepare for the opening day. And then Monday night came. The skies opened up and dumped unbelievable amounts of rain on the already soggy ground. For the safety of our campers, we would have to postpone the event. Bone weary scaffolding crew put on their rain gear and began the hazardous job of dismantling wet, slippery sound towers. And all hands were on deck as we raced to notify as many as we could of the decision.
  • The Waiting didn’t get the word in time and were already on-site. In a soggy tent, the Waiting played some of their regular music, then took time for praise and worship. It was our time to “put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness”. And though there was sadness, there was also peace that we had made the right decision in placing a priority on safety.

96

Creation ’96

June 26, 27, 28 & 29

Memories

  • As time drew closer to the festival, we watched weather forecasts very closely. The same weather patterns that had forced postponement in 1995 were in place. Over in New Jersey, members of Harry’s church, including Margery, were preparing to lead worship for the festival. Margery shared with them that both Harry and I were very concerned and were asking the Lord for guidance. At the same moment, Tim was working in Lancaster, and he contacted Hershey Park. They had one opening and it was for the week of our festival.
  • Talk about going into high gear! It was the week before the festival and all gears shifted. We made arrangements to move all our equipment and supplies to Hershey, worked out camping arrangements, built 180 showers, notified all parties involved and spread the word through Christian radio. It was a massive undertaking, and the way it all worked out was a true tribute to our Creator — and to the marvelous staff He’s given us.

Creation ’97

June 25, 26, 27 & 28

Memories

  • Despite having a great experience at Hersheypark at Creation ’96, campers indicated overwhelmingly on surveys that they wanted to go “home” to Agape. So, it was back to Shirleysburg we went! And we all rejoiced that Creation ’97 proceeded without a hitch.
  • We presented a new feature at this festival. Called the Acoustic Cafe, it has become our “Late Night” offering to night owls…and those waiting to catch a shower when the lines aren’t so long!

Creation ’98

June 24, 25, 26 & 27

Memories

  • Another fantastic year!

Creation ’99

June 23, 24, 25 & 26

Memories

  • Burlap to Cashmere gave an outstanding performance that was captured along with a classic performance by Jesus Music legend, Larry Norman. The VHS Creation video filmed that year…be sure that you have a copy it is a classic!

Creation ’00

June 28, 29, 30 & July 1

Memories

  • The change in the millennium (Y2K) only increased the festival outreach.

Creation ’01

June 20, 21, 22 & 23

Memories

  • Recording of the live worship CD – “Creation Worship”
  • The Newsboys brought a wild motorcyle ramp right in front of the stage with all kinds amazing trick riding.

Creation ’02

June 26, 27, 28 & 29

Memories

  • Reunion of Phil Keaggy with Glass Harp.

Creation ’03

June 25, 26, 27 & 28

Memories

  • Definitely a move for the right reason. Flooding and soaked grounds caused us to move again to Hershey Park. They also had been water- soaked and some of the areas that could be used for camping were not accessible. We found a military installation at Fort Indian Town Gap before the campers would come. Tim and Harry mapped a field they found out at night with car light shining. They had not had a chance ask anyone’s approval at this point. The next morning we found out the base was on high alert and we should have been arrested and thrown in jail! The Garrison Commander met with us and his legal staff. The lawyer’s answer was “no” but the Colonel very kindly said he was in charge and the answer was “yes.” We moved campers in approximately 20 minutes after we heard “yes.” Thank God for that Colonel!

04

Creation ’04

Memories

  • Harry had been in Morocco as part of an official delegation. While there he was invited to bring a festival in Marrakech. With that in mind, he invited Ambassador to the United States, Mr. Aziz Mekouar of Morocco to attend Creation. He introduced him to the crowd along with a young Moroccan. The crowd welcomed both of them and the Friendship Festival was announced for May of 2005 – read the history at www.friendshipfest.org .

95

Creation ’05

June 29, 30, July 1 & 2

Memories

  • A wonderful peaceful year!

 

 


07

Creation ’06

June 23, 24, 25 & 26

Memories

  • Everything was in place, all the tents, the stage, trailers, gates, port-a-pots and more but the a shift in a storm pattern sent severe weather to Agape Farm. Again we had to think of the safety of those attending as our first priority. We made the decision to postpone Creation ’06 until Creation ’07. Those registered held on to their tickets for next year. A lot of crying and disappointment but God knows best. The set-up crew (about 300) now the tear-down crew had their own mini- festival gathering for prayer and praise under the long building. We contacted everyone by phone or email and through radio stations. Several of the church youth groups went and helped other ministries that week and camped in churchyards.

Creation ’07

June 23, 24, 25 & 26

Memories

  • We had a record number of Compassion children sponsored. For the first time we had a live video-feed from Ghana showing the children who needed to be sponsored and the villages. Once the children were sponsored several of them came on the widescreen holding a picture of their sponsor and thanking them (very moving). Dr. John Oduro from Ghana was with us on stage at the time. Leeland sang a blessing over Ghana. Communion was led by Pastor Harry and Third Day sang their communion song – very beautiful night.

08

Creation ’08

June 25, 26, 27 & 28

Memories

  • Creation ’08 was a wonderful year, full of God’s blessing over the event. We had a great program with artists favorites like TobyMac, Chris Tomlin, Switchfoot, Hawk Nelson and powerful speakers such as Bob Lenz, Ron Luce and Duffy Robbins. As it was our 30th Anniversary, we surprised guests as long-time friend, Amy Grant, graced the Creation stage once again. She ended her set with a special co-written song and performance along with Hawk Nelson.
  • As always great crowds, families and youth groups from all over the world as we celebrated 30 year’s of God’s amazing Creation.

09

Creation ’09

June 24, 25, 26 & 27

Memories

  • God provided a way in 2009. This was a amazing year as the Agape Farm grounds received some heavy rains shortly before the event, which made some of the fields difficult to work with and camp. However, God also provide some incredible dry and sunny days during the event and with the help of our tremendous volunteers, Creation 2009 was able to take place. We can not say enough about our staff and volunteers – when you think of Creation, remember it takes over 2,500 volunteers at Creation Northeast and over 1,500 volunteers at Creation Northwest to put on these amazing festivals. Please pray for them as you attend, as they are serving you and sacrificing for the Kingdom.
  • We saw the body of Christ in action and thousands of lives were touched by God’s spirit this year. It was a true miracle.

2010

Creation 2010

June 30, July 1, 2 & 3

Memories

  • Creation 2010 served up some of the best weather in our history. With daily temperatures in the mid 80′s and evening temperatures in the mid 60′s, we enjoyed fellowship, fun and the beauty of God’s Creation at the Agape Farm. Creation 2010 featured a newly redesigned Main Stage with great performance by Switchfoot, Skillet, Newsboys, TobyMac and Chris Tomlin. In addition, we kicked off with some amazing new features for people of all ages through our Kidz Stage, Fringe Stage, Worship Stage and Late Night Stages. The new additions continued as we launched our VIP Tent camping and VIP Electric camping sections at the Farm. Creation Northwest also had a major change, as we moved to our new home at the Enumclaw Expo Center in Enumclaw, WA. The grounds are conveniently located outside of Seattle, in a rural area in the foothills of Mt. Rainier. The community and town government welcomed us with arms wide open and the willingness to make 2010 a success. We rocked the town over those four days, but left the community with a picture and face of God – it was the start of a beautiful relationship in Enumclaw.
  • The Creation Festivals are destinations in and of themselves – beyond the jam packed entertainment options featured at the events, there are great things to see and do in the beautiful areas surround our sites. Creation will be, as it has been for so many generations, “The highlight of your summer… maybe your life!”