This week, we’ve heard a lot of people talking about their first & favorite Cornerstone experiences. I’ve gotten up a lot more courage than usual to meet new people and ask them their Cornerstone stories. One guy talked about having been to tons of secular festivals in years past. He said the lifestyle he got into eventually led him to Jesus — and also to finding community at Cornerstone.
A father & daughter from my adopted home state of Texas eagerly talked about how many fests they’d been to (virtually every fest of the roughly 13-year-old’s life, and far more than that for the father), and dreamed aloud with me a bit about what might be next.
Band members from stage (including bands like Icon for Hire and The Blamed, doing a reunion show) shared their great enthusiasm for coming to the final Cornerstone. Bands like White Collar Sideshow (at their press conference) expressed how Cornerstone was the first place they really felt welcomed. Other people, in bands & not, wondered aloud what might come next. I think that’s been a question on all of our minds. It might start with “where will I discover new music” or “where will I still get to see my old favorite bands.” But, I think it quickly morphs into “where will I find this kind of community again” or “where will I find another place I belong.”
I recently heard Genesis Winter, one of the co-directors for this final Cornerstone Festival (who’s been to every fest), describe Cornerstone in a way that I think addresses those questions. She said Cornerstone was a bit like “The Thrift Store of Festivals.” Just to clarify: that is certainly not meant as a slam, such as that the fest gets other people’s leftovers (no — the opposite is true — Cornerstone had supported so many new endeavors). I think it’s meant to show that Cornerstone is a place where you find the unique, the different, and the special. No wonder that so many of us are asking where we’ll find another place like this again.
As the fest wraps up, I encourage you to strike up some conversations with those around you. Listen to their stories. Wander by a stage playing music that you’d normally label “totally not my style” and listen for the truth in it. Try to see what other people see. Take one last look around the thrift store shelves to discover what’s unique, different & special.