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.