First in Line!

Kristin and Ethan Tobias

Meet Kristin and Ethan Tobias, the first ones in line for Cornerstone 2011!

Kristin and Ethan arrived around 4:40 in the morning on Monday, after heavy storms hit the Bushnell area Late Sunday.

Winds were reported 50 miles an hour or more, and there was some flooding in this part of Illinois. The tents were rocking, but they all survived the storms.

Ethan and Kristin made it to the grounds just after the final round of storms.

By Monday afternoon, cars were backed up at the front gate. Ethan says they hung out and made new friends waiting in line. (And for the record, the Tobiases weren’t first, there were two vans in front of them, but they were bands and got it early).

The front gate opened at noon Tuesday, and people began to pour in. If you’re not here yet, there’s still time!

Kirstin says this is probably her fifth festival, and this is Ethan’s second.

Ethan’s looking forward to seeing In the Midst of Lions, while Kristin really wants to see what Rodent Emporium has lined up this year.

Cornerstone Purchases

Back home in Nebraska for less than an hour, I’m already keeping my internet connection busy (yay for high speed access)! With my wife getting cleaned up, I’m passing time waiting for the shower by downloading soon to be new favorites from Amazon and iTunes.

Among the CDs I picked up at the fest were albums by Future of Forestry and Seabird. Now downloading are works by Paper Route, Campbell the Band, and Quiet Science.

What did you pick up at the fest (or will you be downloading in the coming days)?

Friday night… wow!

It’s hard to imagine a better night than we had Friday at Cornerstone, after an already solid day. I enjoyed bands like Deas Vail, Quiet Science and Campbell the Band, but an evening at the Gallery took it to another level. Paper Route was awesome! It’s a band I’d heard about, but hadn’t actually heard. Now I can’t wait to buy their CDs and listen again and again. I knew they were a special band when I looked around and saw the guy next to me grooving out, only to realize it was David Crowder himself checking out this band.

Next up was Eisley, a band that hasn’t been here since 2002. Please don’t wait until 2018 to come back! Eisley, you need to be here every year! I’ve seen these guys (er, gals) a couple of times, but this was the best I’ve heard them sound.

All of which led up to the highlight of the evening. Over the Rhine owns that midnight slot on Friday at the Gallery. I can’t imagine seeing any other band there. As one of my friends said last night, everything left at Cornerstone is the denouement, the wrap-up after reaching the climax of the event.

Wednesday at Cornerstone

If you’re looking for diversity (or as TobyMac calls it “diverse city”), look no further than Main Stage at Cornerstone on Wednesday night.

From the quirky indie-rock of mewithoutyou to the aggressive alternarock of Red, and finally the hip-hop, pop, funk machine that is TobyMac and his band, Cornerstone had a little  bit of everything Wednesday night.

The much-discussed main stage move is showing some benefits. For one, the ccentral location makes it easier to get to. I think more people are stopping and checking out the main stage shows that they would’ve otherwise missed completely.

And having the stage right in the middle of the grounds makes it the focal point of the physical environment. You can see the main stage from much of the outlying area. It was always cool for me to come up over the hill and see the stage. But for the rest of the day, main stage was out of sight and out of mind. Now it’s always lurking.

If you’re not here, there’s still time for some great shows — Skillet, The Devil Wears Prada, The Almost, David Crowder Band, and a ton more.

Beautiful Day

Tuesday was another beautiful day on the grounds. After ending last year with a mud fest, God has been good, giving us some of the best Cornerstone weather.

Tuesday with just the one main stage show and a handful of generator stages running also helped everyone ease into the fest. I’ve got a high school youth group with me. We’ve got about 20. As it turns out, I think it’s about half people who’ve been, half who haven’t. Also about a 50/50 split boys/girls. It’s a nice mix, and the schedule and weather have been especially good if you’re hear with a group.


I’m sitting in a town surrounded by corn fields and cows. But something’s missing… because sadly I’m not in Bushnell, IL right now.

My name is Steve and I’m in the middle of Nebraska, two states away.

Like Jerry who posted to the blog earlier, this year is lucky number 13 for me. Cornerstone is definitely one of the highlights of the year for me. To quote 1 Corinthians completely out of context, “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed.”

I don’t get much sleep at Cornerstone (although I get more than some of the other staff). But it’s totally worth it.

While I spend my work days on the TV news here in Nebraska, on this week off I put my skills to work serving at the festival. I take thousands (and thousands) of photos. You can keep tabs on them from my Flickr account.Plus I’ll be hanging out with about 15 kids from my church youth group. Just for the record, I don’t get paid to be part of the coverage team that puts all this content online for you. I do get access to bands, but the guys in bands are people too, and I’m not often starstruck. I do it because I believe in what Cornerstone stands for, and I want you to be able to relive the fest again when you get home, or enjoy it from afar if you can’t make it.

I usually take in some seminars and youth events, and definitely lots of shows (I’ll tell you which ones I’m looking forward to later!)

Saturday’s Youth Group of the Day

Saturday Group of the Day“We clean main stage every morning,” even if it means Kyle Anderson and the rest of the Clarksville First Church of the Nazarene climb through the mud on the hill.

“Today was especially bad,” Kyle said of this dirty job. With a large group it’s about a 30 minute job that entails picking up trash around the stage and behind stage too.

Senior Sam Wyatt says it’s the group’s second year volunteering, and third year He was especially excited by the music, especially Sleeping Giant.

Thanks to these willing volunteers, who take time to serve during the festival!

Mainstage Shows Moving!

UPDATE:  The mainstage shows are moving tonight!  War of Ages and Living Sacrifice will be playing at the same time as scheduled before, but they will now be playing on the Encore 1 Stage.

The Devil Wears Prada and Underoath will be playing at the Gallery Stage at the same time as originally scheduled.

Ok, I’m not really a hardcore fan, but the shows at the Gallery Stage and Encore 1 Stage will probably be epic.  It will be just like the old days when they were just getting famous at Cornerstone.  Should be crazy.


Raindrops started falling during Shiny Toy Guns’ set Friday night, and kept on coming through the night.

The festival plugs along though. From where I sit I can hear the youth worship band at Breakaway. People are making the most of the weather, and getting excited to close out Cornerstone 2009 with Underoath tonight.