One of ccm's hottest groups, dc Talk is coming to Canal Fulton, Ohio. About an hours drive south of Cleveland, Canal Fulton is a quaint historic town known for it's canoe livery, canal boat rides and small town feel. Once each year over 40,000 people converge on this same village, equipped with sleeping bags, tents and lawn chairs to participate in one of the largest Christian music festivals in the country. From over 38 states and Canada, they come ready to swim in the spring fed lake, play some beach volleyball, and hear concerts, four days of concerts, June 20-23. Now in it's 14th year, the Alive Festival in Canal Fulton includes camping, swimming, waterslides, beach volleyball and basketball, as well as 25 seminars, praise and worship time, and 3 stages featuring over 70 concerts from the best in contemporary Christian music. This year's line up includes dc Talk, the Supertones, Third Day, Audio Adrenaline, Jennifer Knapp, Plus One, PFR, plus over 60 other artists.
The festival is predicting record attendance this year, since dc Talk will also be making their first and only area appearance in over two years. The ever-evolving, chameleon-like hip-hop/rock/pop trio is one of Christian music's most influential acts. In 1996, general market mega-label, Virgin Records, co-signed the group and offered its members an avenue to the mainstream. With all three members currently producing solo albums, it is hard to predict if this tour could be their last as a three-some. Although dc Talk has appeared numerous times at the Alive Festival over the past decade, this evening will be set apart from their past performances since each of the band members will be debuting their solo material. Avid dc Talk fans are counting the days to this highly anticipated evening, knowing it will be their first opportunity to see Toby McKeehan, Mike Tait and Kevin Max showcase their individual music. They will each take the stage separately with their own bands, before coming together to satisfy the audience with a solid set of their best selling hits.
Michael Tait has joined forces with guitarist Pete Stewart (formerly of Grammatrain), former Petra bass player Lonnie Chapin, and his brother, drummer Chad Chapin to form a solid rock band called Tait. Currently scheduled to release July 3, their album "Empty" is also receiving consideration from general market labels. "With Tait," Michael expounds, "I hope and pray people see the gospel.... People look for so many other ways to fill the emptiness in their lives, and there's just no way to do it besides Christ."
Kevin Max has had a dream realized in the making of his first solo album, Stereotype B, set for release in August. The new project draws heavily on the theme of being who God made you to be, and his smooth, unmistakable vocals that come across clearly in his solo attempt, will not disappoint his fans.
Furthering Christian music's quest to be a culturally relevant art form is uppermost in Toby McKeehan's mind. McKeehan believes that hip-hop provides an opportunity to build stronger concepts of community, hence the music he has independently created is technically experimental hip-hop, as hard music, pop and rock are generously woven into the mix. Viewing these three talents independently, then corporately, should make the evening of music one audiences will be talking about for a long time.
Another exciting part of the Alive Festival is the tribute stage to artists who have been pioneers in the contemporary Christian music field as well as major influences in the styles of many current artists. This year The Alive Festival will be featuring Christian music legend Larry Norman who began his career in the 60's with hits like "My Generation" and originally wrote and recorded the dc Talk hit "I Wish We'd All Been Ready". Larry's first album was produced by Beatles producer George Martin and his irreverent humor and hard-hitting lyrics still inspire change and commitment. Also appearing at Alive will be another Christian music legend, Barry McGuire who wrote "Eve of Destruction" in the 60's and performed with artists like The Grateful Dead.
Performing along with McGuire will be Terry Talbot who also helped blaze a trail for today's Christian music and master guitarist Phil Keaggy who hails from right here in northeast Ohio. Once a member of Glass Harp, Keaggy and his band opened for national acts, including the likes of Jimmy Hendrix at Carnegie Hall in New York. Larry Norman and Phil Keaggy will be appearing on Friday and McGuire and Talbot will be on stage Saturday.
Over 50,000 people from 40 states and Canada are expected to attend this year's Alive Festival. Additional information and secure online ticket ordering are available at www.alive.org, or to charge by phone call the Alive Festival office at 330.854.0011.