Saturday – quick

There are certainly a few wrap-up posts to come. But, for anybody following along at home, I wanted to put out a quick post about what happened on this final Saturday.

The Choir, the band who opened the first day of the very first Cornerstone, wrapped it up on the Gallery to a passionate crowd. Customizing “Everybody in the band” to express thanks to JPUSA and their Cornerstone family was a nice touch. They very appropriately closed with “To Bid Farewell.” (update 7/9: find Derri Daugherty’s introduction to the song and the performance of “To Bid Farewell” here on youtube. I can’t yet get myself to re-watch it. Beautiful & emotional.)

Earlier in the day at the Gallery Kye Kye, The Farewell Drifters, Timbre and Josh Garrells played to great young crowds, including quite a few people (shown by raise of hands) attending their first — and last — festival. I don’t know if it was just my brain looking for themes, or if it were chosen by the bands, but I noticed many lyrics today that were appropriate in saying goodbye. Among those is this line from the Farewell Drifters: “Everything comes to an end, my friend.” As much as people may have joked today about “Occupy Cornerstone,” it is true that even good things come to an end.

Norma Jean reportedly brought the fest to a good close on the Underground stage (though I wasn’t there, admittedly). They started about the time that many people were walking back from the beach after being part of a crowd giving Cornerstone a send-off with flames and a few fireworks. Just wait until you see pictures of that!

The highlight of the day for me (in terms of scheduled events) was the morning memorial/church service. Honest worship (led by Glenn Kaiser, his daughter Ami, and Hilde from The Crossing) combined with poignant stories from fest-goers, and a very emotional and appropriate sharing of the Lord’s Supper.

Safe travels to everyone as we head home from Bushnell for the last time.


  • BruceWhite06517

    Very moving!!!

  • Ghostingalong

    I admit, with some shame, that when I arrived at noon on Saturday, the final day of Cornerstone, that I was saddened by scene. 

    It had been nearly seven years or more since I had last been to Cornerstone – I went about five times in my younger years, mostly in the late 90’s. I remembered it being vibrant with joyous and expressive people. I recall abnormally abundant traffic out on the obscure country roads during the hour-long, drive from home. Entering down the long stretch of gravel road the resultant collection of that traffic parked before the admission building. My friends and I listened to our music loud and got our blood and minds turbulent with all the junk foods. We were intensely anxious with expectation the whole drive. Driving slowly through the park ground we quickly realized the festival grounds were shoe-horned to the tree-lines with tents on the first day of the week! We searched all over for an advantageous campsite. I was ever-curious who might be our temporary neighbors. Never was I disappointed with the character of those cheerful strangers who penetrated my always shying, distancing, protecting behavior. They stormed into my comfort zone by extending a hand, and a name, and a bright smile, and confounding ‘foolish wisdom.’ The spirit of Jesus was drawing back my curtains.

    Collections of pictures with strong emotion remain in my mind, vivid 3D pictures with a remnant perfume still lingering from the former handler. One picture is of the still-warm sundowns as we walked over a small incline to the brim of the half-bowl filling with people that was main stage.

    Another picture, scented of deep-fried confections shows a central locale with folks out playing volleyball, painting, singing, spectating, cheering and living and populating ever inch of field. They were adorned in all types of clothing and color and flapped in the wind of my vision with the splendor of a field of every flower.

    A crisp, uncluttered picture of youth and passion’s hunger is drawn from the stack. The lake-swimming, and crowd-pushing from all sides during punk shows, and merch tents filled with unique discoveries. Prior to the digital explosion, it was like stumbling into a Google search result for “cool and fresh.” These things in this picture, and all the pictures in my mind are all so vivid and unfaded. I attribute it to my age at the time of the exposure of all these things celluloid. I was young. I worked small jobs that mattered little and paid as much too, but it was a fortune. The only pains in my body and stains on my clothes were just those from playing. I hadn’t experienced the worry of directions and choosing them. I hadn’t known what it was like to be diminished, weak and pierced by darkness … by age and the world.

    So Cornerstone wove into many seasons of my young my life. It was always a fond album to look back on.

    Now, it was aged. The road leading up had deeper potholes. The wild grasses were overgrown. The buildings’ wood was softening and chipping. Even the air was heavier and damper and hotter. The people were freckled loosely about the landscape. The only sounds were muffled by an invisible filter. The game areas were unoccupied. The stage tents had gathered closer together like desperate survivors. A sobering trek to the main stage and up onto the brim of the bowl revealed no sounds of early sound checks emanating up from below, or children playing on the flat. I saw a small garden thick with weeds. I saw collapsing storage buildings. I saw thick overgrowth on the hills. I did not see people.

    And correspondingly, I’ve aged dramatically in the short span before my return to Cornerstone. I walked the gravel roads with a more controlled flame. I had expectations only silently instead of loud and boisterously from the careless ramblings of youth. I did not flinch at the surprise of disappointment. Time, worldly ways and experiences have chaffed my attitudes. Sadly, but it’s true.

    I wanted so much to see the thriving Cornerstone I remembered. But it was not the same. Suddenly the over-priced vendor foods were … well … actually over-priced to me. 

    The roaring spring of God’s people all gathered in tens of thousands had become like a small intimate trickle of a church gathering. Toward evening more people crawled out from their places in the shade and made their way to the center courts. 

    The event still became something beautiful and even encouraging before I left for home. As I say in my seat, I closed my eyes and dug deep during the music and found a young teen still flailing his skinny limbs about unorthodoxly. I didn’t stay the whole week as before. I didn’t have an extroverted stranger burst my unhealthy personal bubble. I did not collect a small bounty of hidden cd/t-shirt treasures to display to my peers. I did not swim in the lake. I did not marvel at the crowd as it was lit up by the red, green and blue lights bouncing about the natural amphitheater of mainstage. I did not leave for home in a car full of my gang. I do not know where those friends are right now. Times are different.

    It was quiet on the way home.

    The next morning I awoke refreshed and feeling more excited for the day ahead. I went to church and was shaken with God’s presence. I loosed a few tears and resolved to push harder toward God, to drop the nonsense as best I can. I want now to invite, to beckon, search and beg for more life. Cornerstone may not have lit me up like a match on gasoline as it once could but it did brand a tiny mark on my aged attitude that read “still flammable.” 

    Pray for one another.