This year I had the opportunity of attending the great Cornerstone festival in Bushnell, IL. If your not familiar with the festival I highly suggest heading to their website and dive into all the content for one of the largest christian festivals of the year. The festival has been an annual event for over twenty years now and each year great new events are added to the bill. Not only is the festival filled with the hottest christian bands but also with many independent bands that play small tents and even bands that come and set up in the grass and play at will. Let me just tell you that you will have no trouble finding a band to listen to at almost any time of the day as bands go well into the night.
Other then music being one of the main attractions there are lots of seminars about everything from christian music to church and religion. I highly suggest attending some seminars if you ever go to the festival as they can be a breath of fresh air. This years event was four days long but included a special Tooth & Nail day on the 4th of July and early camping started the day before that on July 3rd.
Camping is also a big part of the festival, you can go for a day if you want but why not go for the whole event and catch as many bands and seminars as you can. I didn’t know what to exactly expect as far as the camping, but the grounds are filled with everything you need (bathrooms, showers, grocery store, food vendors and more). Although some campers look to bring almost everything with them including full sized grills and even a sink (so much for the camping on their part).
Tooth & Nail day was packed with almost every band on their roster as well as bands from Solid State. I caught almost all the bands that day as there were only the two stages going back to back. I was very impressed with the sets from Jonzetta, Sullivan, Spoken, As Cities Burn, and Showbread (all bands I hadn’t had the chance of catching before). Other T&N bands like Run Kid Run, The Fold, mewithoutYou, Project 86, and Hawk Nelson played as well. Devin Shelton of Emery played an acoustic set that sounded amazing none the less as the rest of the band were currently out playing on the Warped Tour.
The following days were filled with many more bands playing a handful of tents and stages. It was a good thing that the stages didn’t get going until 10 a.m. or later since you stayed up the night before rocking out. Sleeping in was actually hard to do as the sun, heat, and humidity usually woke us up around 8 a.m. every day. I caught a handful of bands the next few day including Family Force 5, Oceans Firing, Flee The Seen, The Class of 98, Norma Jean, As I Lay Dying, Underoath, The Wedding, Man Alive, Anberlin, Mute Math, Lovedrug, Transition, MxPx, Relient K, and even more on the smaller generator stages. If you want band overload you can usually achieve that at events like the Warped Tour but this is 4 days straight of band after band so there is always something going for you to check out.
Now like I said before the festival isn’t all about music. There were some great seminars going on and I attending a few on christian music, how to conduct interviews and more. Overall I was very thankful that everyone I talked to was extremely nice and helpful. What other event could you walk around at and find all the band members sitting around talking with friends and fans and even find them searching through the trash for cans and bottles that attendees didn’t put in the recycle bin. I don’t believe there is one and I think these people are amazing and should be looked upon as great people and not just a person in a band trying to be the next rockstar.
Camping, music, and great people made this a wonderful festival to attend. I look forward to attending again in the future and to pick up on the many things that I missed. If you get the chance to head to he festival I highly suggest you do so and be sure to be ready for a great week.