Indiana Daily Student

Festival combines music, religion

Screaming "Fall down and praise" into microphones, Sides of the North, a Christian hard rock band from Ohio, was the first to play at the Tau Music Fest at Whip-Poor-Will Lake near Martinsville this weekend. \nA total of 26 bands, all Christian, came to play their electric guitars and drums and to sing their songs dedicated to God. Among the more well-known bands were Disciple, Bride and Every Day Life. \nThe festival also featured tattooing, piercing, camping, drawing for prizes, a tattoo contest, band merchandise, Frisbee games, campfires and everything else one would expect at a three-day music festival, except drugs and alcohol. \nThe setting of the Tau Music Fest was ideal for any concert: the lake surrounded by trees with colorful fall leaves, blue sky, sunny, breezy, bright and temperatures in the mid-70s. A mare and her 4-week old colt live on the property and took a couple of walks during the day. Dogs ran around and children played along the lake and in the leaves.\nOrganized by Joan and Aaron Price of Martinsville, this is the first of what they hope will become an annual event. \nTau is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet meaning "to mark," which the Prices take literally -- to tattoo. They own a tattoo and piercing shop, Tau-too, in Paragon, Ind. \nSelf-described Judeo-Christians, the Prices have chosen the symbol of the living God, a circular symbol with the Hebrew alphabet on the outside and the Star of David and the cross on the inside for their shop emblem. \nBecause the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, Tau-too uses Hebrew lettering in many of its tattoos. Ryan Brosman, five-year friend of the Prices and a three-year employee of the tattoo parlor, and the Prices all have Hebrew tattoos on the backs of their right hands reading "belonging to the Lord" or "sanctified unto God." \nOn first seeing Aaron Price, it might seem as if he were wearing a bandanna. But in fact his forehead is tattooed with a band of barbed wire and Hebrew lettering. Tattoos wrap his arms and hands in color and design; he also has some designs on his chest.\nAaron's friend Paul Stoner inked the tattoo on his head for him. Stoner came from Tennessee to attend the festival and to give tattoos in one of the two trailers the Tau-too shop brought to the festival.\nStoner has tattooed for 10 years and has won awards for his work. He has been a devoted Christian for five years. He also owns a tattoo shop, Second Chance Tattoo Studio, in Gallatin, Tenn. He has two "sleeves" -- tattoos covering both of his arms.\nThe Prices have traveled to Christian music festivals around the country. They said they decided to have their own festival in Indiana for people who can't or don't want to travel to other states or who don't like the huge crowds of some of the festivals.\n"It's something we wanted to do and something we felt like God wanted us to do," Joan Price said. \nPrice spoke about people who wouldn't come because of the hard music. She said it's just a matter of taste. \n"Some people listen to hard-core music all their lives, then become Christian."\nIf there is no hard-core Christian music to fill that space, she said, Christians will still want to listen to that type of music so they will only have the secular variety.\nAlso, the Prices said they wanted to show people that one doesn't "have to be a geek or a big dork" to be a Christian.\n"You can still mosh and head-bang," she said. "You can still have fun."\nJoan has friends in Colorado who organize an annual Christian music festival called Vision and helped her with "helpful hints" for the Tau-fest.\nIt usually takes a year of planning for one of these events, she said. "(But) we've only put this together in like three months."\nJoan wore Star of David earrings, two in each ear, a stud in her nose and a purple bandanna over her hair.\n"As soon as this one's done we'll start planning for next year," she said. \nThe Prices had planned on losing money on the festival. \n"That's to be expected for our first year festival… You learn along the way, it's all a learning experience."\nNow a little wiser, Joan has started a list of things she had forgotten this year to keep in mind for next year: programs and clicker counters to count the crowd, among other things.\nThe Prices met the vendors, bands and security for the concert through their shop.\n"I've probably tattooed half this crowd," Aaron said. \nAaron Price tattooed both Bill Ford and Steve Wenger from the band, Sides of the North. Between songs, singer Matt Thornburg told the audience that the band got its name from Psalm 48:1-3, which talks about God being a refugee in the northern sides of Mt. Zion. \nThe band drove three and a half hours from Urbana, Ohio, to play at the fest. At home, they play mostly at churches, Ford said.\nBut it was not just about music and tattoos. The organizers wanted the event to have religious significance as well. They said the Tau-Fest was a Sukkot celebration that started Friday after sundown and carried on through the festival weekend.\n"It is a time to draw close to God," Joan's mother, Rosalynd Greiner, said. "(A time) to forget about your worldly pressures and responsibilities"

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