GREENVILLE – Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes to make Darke County’s Illumination Festival happen every September? Festival attendees get to enjoy the great music offered by some of the best bands in the Contemporary Christian genre. Heading into its 13th year, the Illumination Festival has brought some of the hottest, top-selling artists to the Darke County Fairgrounds on the third weekend in September. Past artists have included Toby Mac, Newsboys, Sanctus Real, Jeremy Camp, Mercy Me, David Crowder, Mandisa and the list goes on and on.
It all started with the vision of Marty McCabe who began contacting a few people about the possibility of bringing a music festival to Greenville. Shortly after a visit to the Darke County Fairgrounds to discuss the cost and possibility of renting the Grandstands, a committee was formed. While the committee has changed a little over the years with members coming and going, there are a few members that have been with the festival since the very first meeting, including McCabe and his wife, Connie.
Some of the committee members from that first meeting recalled not knowing what to expect or how to accomplish the goal; not to mention how much it was going to cost or how to raise the funds.
While it was fun to dream about who the first bands would be, the real work began when the committee began discussing fundraising in order to make the event happen. McCabe and his crew began canvassing local businesses and the outpouring of support was incredible. Christian music fans also seemed excited with the groups that year, which included Everyday Sunday, Big Daddy Weave and Tate.
That first year, the budget was approximately $60,000 to bring in bands and provide production. With the growth of the festival, that budget has soared to approximately $100,000. The cost for bands now reaches and sometimes exceeds the $60,000 mark.
According to McCabe, the need for supporters of the festival continues to be great. He said, “It is a huge undertaking bringing all of this together for another successful year. We at Illumination Ministries are asking for partners to make this endeavor a success.” Although ticket sales are usually outstanding, McCabe stressed it is the partners that help make the Illumination Festival one of the best events in Darke County.
The 501(c)(3) non-profit has a goal to reach out to those in and around the community with the good news of Jesus Christ through Christian music and testimony.
The Illumination Festival committee meets year-round to plan for the next year’s event. As they did from the very beginning, they continue to discuss new events, bands, and fundraising opportunities.
The committee is currently working to secure bands for the 2019 festival and will make an announcement once the contracts are secured. Tickets for the event will go on sale shortly after the announcement.
If you would like to partner with Illumination Ministries and help bring positive music to Darke County, contact McCabe at (937) 459-2515.