Illumination Festival coming to Greenville Sept 16


GREENVILLE — Illumination Christian Music Festival will hold their 11th annual event at the Great Darke County Fairgrounds September 16.

The festival will feature both local and national performers, as well as food, vendors, and a host of activities, including inflatables, laser tag, a rock climbing wall, and a zipline ride. All activities will take place between the Ohio Center, where a coffee house will be set up as a venue for local bands, and the grandstand, where the main concert will take place. Rides and games are accessible via a $5 wristband purchased at the front gate.

Artists at this year’s event include Christian folk musician and headliner Crowder, former lead singer of the David Crowder Band, whose first solo album, released in 2014, reached as high as #9 on the Billboard 200 chart; Citizen Way, whose most recent single, “Bulletproof,” was released earlier this year; Chris August, a Texas-based Christian singer who was nominated for five Dove Awards by the Gospel Music Association in 2011; and Family Force 5, a Christian rock band from Atlanta, Georgia.

Marty McCabe, president and co-founder of the festival, first approached administrators at the county fairgrounds 11 years ago, and credits the response of former fair manager Daryl Riffle, among others, with the success of the long-running Darke County event.

“When I went in to share my vision for a Christian music festival, Daryl said he was all for it, and that he would love to help me with it,” McCabe said. “I went in and talked to him and he just lit up. He’s been very supportive, and it’s been nice having his help with all the logistics at the fairgrounds over the years.”

McCabe also spoke about the contributions of his wife, Connie, to the event.

“Connie sort of has three jobs,” McCabe said. “She records the minutes at our board meetings and sends them to each of our members, as well as informing them about future meetings. She communicates with the artists’ agencies about availability and cost and things like that, which is a job that takes a lot of time and patience and diligence. So she’s got those two jobs, as well as keeping me straight.”

McCabe also wants the festival to help give back to the community.

“We’re asking people to bring in canned goods for Fish Choice Food Pantry,” McCabe said. Fish Choice Pantry provides perishable and non-perishable foods to Darke County residents.

Tickets to the Illumination Festival can be purchased online at, in person at the fairgrounds office, or at participating bookstores in the area, including Bread of Life in downtown Greenville, Trinity Gifts and Books in Richmond, Indiana and The Christian Bookstore in Union City. Gates open at 4 p.m. September 16, and the concert begins at 5.

“I’d like to invite everyone to come out and try it, if they haven’t yet,” McCabe said. “Invite friends and family, make a day of it, come out and enjoy yourselves.”

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2017 Illumination headliner Crowder. Illumination headliner Crowder. Courtesy photo

By Tony Baker

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