Bittersweet (and hot!)

Well, the day we’ve been both looking forward to and dreading has arrived – the final Cornerstone is underway.  The happiness and joy of making the annual pilgrimage to Illinois is tempered by the knowledge that next year, for the first time in decades for a lot of folks, we don’t know exactly what we’ll be doing around the Fourth of July.

Still, JPUSA have done a great job with a bad situation, and this year’s Cornerstone still feels vibrant and alive.  There aren’t as many stages, but there are still tons of bands across innumerable musical styles, and plenty of people there to watch them play.

The weather is also getting in a few final shots at fest-goers.  After being spoiled by beautiful weather and cool temps for a few years, we’re enduring temperatures near 100 and some stifling humidity this year.  For the first time in my 15 year fest history, I had to go sit in the car to get some A/C yesterday afternoon.  But I’m not going to admit defeat – I’ll be back out there again, trying to drink water faster than I can sweat it out, in a couple of hours.

It seems like a year to take care of some minor unfinished business around the fest for me. Yesterday, I made time to listen to some bands that have been playing the fest forever but that I’d never seen – Glen Clark and the Family, Aracely, and The Illalogical Spoon – and had my first lemon shake-up.  Good stuff.

One of the best bands of the day was Duke Otherwise, some folks from the band Ticklepenny Corner doing some really cute, creative kids’ music that an audience of adults  nonetheless really enjoyed.

Good Luck Varsity

Another favorite was Good Luck Varsity, from Detroit.  The band overcame some struggles with mics and monitors at the Underground Stage to deliver a passionate, high-energy set.  The band seemed really excited to be playing Cornerstone, and the crowd really responded, demanding an actual, spontaneous encore.  The band obliged, figuring out one more song to play and pulling their friend, rapper Da MAC, out of the crowd to play with them.  Lots of fun to close out a good first day of the fest.