Top 10 Cornerstone 2011 YouTube Moments

I kept thinking I’d write something up about my grandmother’s funeral, but the words just haven’t coalesed into anything good. In some ways, I feel like I’ve already grieved her passing. Maybe when the wound isn’t so raw. In the meantime, let’s talk about something fun.

Cornrestone is now a month in the rear-view mirror and that’s given time for amateur videographers to load up their videos to YouTube. Some are done by people in the crowd with cheap little cameras, some are done by more professional documenters, and some are done by our fantastic staff at Corerstone. Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on the festival, I thought I’d share 10 of my favorite moments from the festival that have been captured on video. I’ll be sharing two a day for the next five days. These aren’t in order or anything, just 10 great videos.

Campbell The Band

Bonus video: One of the most fun events at the festival:

Really surprised at the huge crowd that showed up for their show. They pretty just did everything off of Satellite, but I guess that’s what the people wanted.

Cornerstone 2011 Recap – Sunday


I’m back from Cornerstone Festival 2011. While at the festival, I journaled the experience on the Official Cornerstone Festival website, but I’m going to copy those posts to here and expound on them a little bit with a little more personal and critical commentary.

The afternoon was a little bit cooler on the last day I wandered the grounds of the festival a little bit. I started the festival off at the Main Stage. I don’t know that I’m a real big fan of the New Band Showcase being moved to the Main Stage. Even on a cooler day, it’s pretty tough to stand under the open sun at 1 PM with a small crowd as the giant stage engulfs the new band. A lot of people agreed with me as there were often less than 20 people hanging around the stage to see the band. It’s got to be discouraging to travel all the way to the festival to play on the main stage and play to a large open field. Even still, I enjoyed Gaitlin Elms enough to buy their CD.

A pair of festival goers encouraged us to go see The Strive so we wandered down to the Underground Stage. The band had only been together for a couple months, but they displayed a maturity that disguised their youth. They were giving away their CD on recorded CD-R so I picked it up and I’ll listen to it when I get home. For lack of anything else to do (Sunday afternoon was a little sparse on music that I wanted to hear), we wandered down to a small generator stage. The band 3Union, normally an electro-pop band was playing an acoustic set of mostly Relient-K covers to a respectable crowd of teenagers.

One of the great things about Cornerstone Festival is that it almost seems like the rest of the world stops for a week. Almost. I received some sobering news today from home and it has weighed upon my heart most of the day. Adriene called in the morning to let me know that my grandmother was in ill health and would likely pass away soon. There wasn’t much I could do stuck on a cornfield far away in Illinois, but then again there wouldn’t be much for me to do at home in Georgia, so I went on with the festival, but it did blunt some of my excitement and I was left a little subdued and introspective. I thought about Job and his response to his wife, “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” and remembered that when David’s son passed away, he went to the temple to praise the Lord.

That’s why I’m glad on Sunday night the Main Stage ended with artists like Alive Band, Luminate, Robbie Seay Band, and Gungor. In sadness, the worship of the Lord is a hard but good thing. There are lot of different messages from a lot of different people at Cornerstone Festival, but I hope here at the end it all ties together. Gungor in particular was compelling and even in the sadness it gave me a great deal of peace to know God still makes “Beautiful Things.”

The Chariot was the final show of the festival and not really my thing, but I’ve heard that their past shows involved destroying things on the stage which at least sounded intriguing. I wasn’t about to jump into the crowd (though Jerry remarked, “tie a rope to me and drag my beaten body out in a couple of mintues, I’m going in!”) but I stood at the edge of the tent to catch the spectacle. There wasn’t much to see, really, we arrived for the “intermission” of the show which involved the Listener guy who has been all over the fest (including performing on one of the Deas Vail songs) doing some spoken word poetry. I guess Henry Rollins made that cool, I don’t know, but it didn’t seem very hardcore (or destructive) to me, so I eventually got bored and went back to the web trailer.

The festival ended as it as the last couple of years with a couple last minute conversations and heartfelt goodbyes with the festival organizers and friends. We had all been in close contact for a week during almost every hour of the day, but now it was time to head in every geographic direction once again. I left feeling subdued due to my grandmother’s illness, but full of joy in friendship and love. Cornerstone is a weird place, but often times it feels a lot C.S. Lewis’ description of home while we reside in “The Far Country.” Tomorrow, it was a long car ride back to The Far Country where my family was waiting, a wife and two children eager see me and I eager to see them as well, and also a larger family preparing for a moment of sorrow and unity together in love. I’m thankful for a week to recharge my batteries before entering a roller-coaster ride at home.

Cornerstone 2011 Wrapup – Saturday


I’m back from Cornerstone Festival 2011. While at the festival, I journaled the experience on the Official Cornerstone Festival website, but I’m going to copy those posts to here and expound on them a little bit with a little more personal and critical commentary.

The heat eased off a little bit at the Cornerstone Festival grounds on Saturday, but the damage had been done. I was much slower and lethargic and I was less inclined to jump from tent to tent as much as the days before. During the day, I hung out at the Gallery Stage seeing a whole lot of artists that I didn’t know about yet.

I had heard of Timbre, but I didn’t realize just how popular she was at the festival. She brought a cavalcade of musicians on stage with her with a string section and lots of intricate music. However, the crowded tent was oppressively muggy with all of the body heat. River James played afterwards. The band is conglomeration of members of MAE and Army of Me and I really enjoyed their show. I had never heard of Lauren Mann and she was another pleasant suprise in the early part of the day. Her Sara Bareilles-inspired music included banjos, melodica, and keyboards.

A friend of mine plays guitar with Songs of Water, so I started the evening off at the Gallery Stage. This is their first appearance at Cornerstone Festival and they brought plenty of instruments and an intricate sound with violins, drums-a-plenty, and guitars. I had to run from there to catch The Rendition. Sometimes I wonder if anyone reads the blogs on the Cornerstone website, but the singer for the Rendition messaged me about my review of their show last year and invited me to come back this year. Since I had been called out, I had no choice but to see them again this year. I’m a big fan of piano-driven bands and I enjoyed the complicated process of playing guitar and the bass drum at the same time so their show was a lot of fun for me.

For the evening, Anberlin delivered a rocking set of powerful music with a setlist that evenly covered all of their albums. I don’t usually go down front much anymore to rock out with the kids, but I couldn’t resist. The band brought extra drums on stage for some of their songs for driving versions of songs from their new album, Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place. Lead singer Stephen Christian’s solo project, Anchor and Braille, was moved to Saturday evening at midnight. I thought about going, but our group ended up sitting around and having a lengthy conversation. Sometimes we are moving around so much from show-to-show that we don’t ever really have any kind of in-depth discussion, so it was a nice break from the blitz of concerts.

Cornerstone 2011 Wrapup – Friday


I’m back from Cornerstone Festival 2011. While at the festival, I journaled the experience on the Official Cornerstone Festival website, but I’m going to copy those posts to here and expound on them a little bit with a little more personal and critical commentary.

I’ve been writing a lot about the heat. The oppressive, sizzling, sweltering heat. It drained everyone, including the power for the entire county apparently. The electricity vaporized from the grounds again on Friday leaving everywhere except the Main Stage and generator stages, each with their own power, down to a stand-still. This made me very sad because it happened right as Quiet Science was about to take the stage. Their show ended up being rescheduled for the evening at 7 PM which gave me a massive conundrum as they were scheduled at the same time as The Choir and also Campbell The Band. Tough choices.

I was sad to have no music, but it did afford a chance to have some conversations with friends, including people as far away as Scotland. That’s one of the coolest things about Cornerstone. I’ve met people from all over the country, indeed all over the world, and we all share common musical interests that make discussions seem perfectly natural.

Some artists made the best of the lack of electricity. Mike Roe and Derri Daugherty performed through a single amp powered by an RV. Total professionals, they played a great show featuring their new project Kerosene Halo with their humor and sentiment.

The power finally returned for Jeff Elbel and his band Ping. Jeff brought new music to the festival this year and even invited me up on stage to take a group photo. I’m glad I didn’t trip over any cords and knock instruments all over the stage, so it’s a big win for me.

The sun is finally started to set and the heat started to break. The Quiet Science/Campbell The Band/The Choir conflict approached next. When I was younger on a cooler day, I would run around the festival grounds trying to catch all three shows in a roundabout circuit around the grounds. I didn’t know if I would have the strength to do it, but I guess this old dog can still hunt because I successfully saw almost all of each show.

I felt really bad for Quiet Science since their show was cancelled at 1 PM due to the power issues, but it all turned out ok anyways. They played at the rescheduled time of 7 PM and introduced new material from their upcoming album. I really like the lead singer’s story about redemption in his life and his stories about working in the suicide wing of the hospital are compelling (and I’m a sucker for music influenced by science fiction and writers like C.S. Lewis.)

The power outage knocked everything else out of schedule so I was able to swing by the Gallery Stage and catch an acoustic version of The Choir. Derri Daugherty, Steve Hindalong, and Dan Michaels translated their “swirly, scary music” into a pleasant night running through the history of their band through their songs. After that, it was over to see Campbell The Band at the Underground Stage. This band totally has the crowd interaction part figured out. At one point, a band member gave the bass drum to the crowd to hold while he hammered on it with his mallet. During the middle of the show, they handed paper out to the crowd and told them to rip it up and then during the climatic moment of the song throw it up in the air in a blast of confetti. I’m not going to lie, it was pretty awesome. Mike Mains and The Branches was a real pleasant surprise afterwards. I had never heard of them, but I really enjoyed the show and I’ll have to check out their music.

I made a quick drop by the After Hours Dance Club to check up on my friend David and see how things were going over there. They were still coming down to the ground after opening up the festival on Main Stage with Andy Hunter. From there, I settled down for the night at the Gallery for Lost Dogs and Deas Vail. The Lost Dogs were “a three legged dog” as Terry Taylor had to return home for a family emergency. The bass player for Daniel Amos filled in for Taylor extremely well and the band carried on with a solid show. The final show of the evening was Deal Vail which pulled in a very large and much younger crowd than the normal Gallery Stage patrons. Deas Vail played almost all new material and even though it was unfamiliar, it was well received by the crowd. I’m looking forward to their new album.

With Friday coming to an end, the heat was finally starting to pass from Cornerstone Festival. Nonetheless, I still felt drained, as if I’d used up my reserve of energy saved for the last two days early. The last two days would involve a lot less walking and a lot more sitting and talking.

Cornerstone 2011 Wrapup – Thursday


I’m back from Cornerstone Festival 2011. While at the festival, I journaled the experience on the Official Cornerstone Festival website, but I’m going to copy those posts to here and expound on them a little bit with a little more personal and critical commentary.

The Jesus Music Rally was on the minds of almost everyone at Cornerstone on Thursday. Even Paper Route’s lead singer admitted to wanting to see Petra right as his show was about to start. The sun and heat made it a bit of a challenge of endurance, but the unique opportunity to see artists, some who haven’t performed in 20 years, drew people to sit in the open sun.

Before that, though, there were plenty of artists making their first appearance at Cornerstone. The band members of Dead American Radio had just been through the tornadoes of Joplin, Missouri, even lifting the guitarist/singer off the ground, but they still made an appearance to play punk-pop music at the festival. On the Main Stage, Milano made a colorful debut at the festival festooned with paint and feathers. Things went a little out of order when Vinacious took the stage and the power cut out (even causing the Big Events slide to deflate, hope no one was one it when it happened!) Since they were a band heavy on electronics, there wasn’t much for them to do, but that’s the unpredictable nature of Cornerstone.

On Main Stage, Servant started the day off. The band hadn’t played in over 20 years, so this was a rare opportunity to see them perform. One of the surprises for me for the day was Barry McGuire. I really didn’t know much of his music, so I didn’t know what to expect, but he was comfortable and colloquial with the crowd. I enjoyed his comment about “stress identifying the parts of your life that you don’t trust to God” and thought about how that tied into my “Keep Calm and Rock On” theme for Cornerstone this year. On the side of the stage I could see Terry Taylor enjoying the show also, applauding as McGuire would play familiar favorites. Taylor’s band, Daniel Amos, was all business for their performance on the Main Stage. DA has been known sometimes for their Swirling Eddies antics and jokes on stage, but today they ran through a great set of favorite songs. The heat of the day was starting to get to me by this point and so I spent the next couple of hours trying to find shade where I could, but I listened to Randy Stonehill while eating dinner.

I had originally feared that I would have to make a choice between Phil Keaggy, Paper Route, and Petra in the evening. However, due to the delays from power outages and main Stage sound checks, I was able to see most of all of these shows. Paper Route returned to a very crowded Gallery stage and teased us with a new song in their set. In the absence of the guitar player who left the band they brought in another guitar player and a woman on vocals to make a big six-piece band for the festival. The Phil Keaggy show ended up actually being a Glass Harp show and in the true ethos of 70’s music poured out some long jams on electric guitar. I was particularly happy to see Keaggy on electric guitar as I’ve seen his solo act on acoustic many many times, but seeing him in a band context was a new thing for me. Petra finished up the night, bringing back the 80’s with the lineup that produced Beat The System. Greg Volz had a marathon night, performing earlier with e Band. Unfortunately, problems abounded in the Petra show. My friend Jerry remarked that even star power couldn’t save their version of “Clean” if they were playing in Rock Band as they started the song in three different keys and had to stop halfway through the song. That kinda killed the momentum of the show as they had to huddle up and figure out what they were doing. The show was a real disappointment for me as I had never seen the Volz-era version of Petra and was hoping for a great show, but it was not to be.

On the way out, we couldn’t resist stopping by the Encore tent for Flatfoot 56. The Superheroes theme was on tonight and I loved the signs “Pow!”, “Boom!”, “Zot!” that raced across the stage as band fervently belted out punk rock with bagpipes and mandolins. The kids, of course, are almost as much fun to watch as the band as they raced around, bedecked with flags and costumes.

The heat was in full force at Cornerstone this year. Sitting out in the open sun at Main Stage really drained me. I don’t think I’ll be seeing many more shows there unless it is someone incredible or the sun is setting.