The Post-Cornerstone Depression

Main Stage setup. Photo by Matt Laswell

The fest was fantastic. You made new friends and enjoyed old ones. God’s presence was obvious to you. You heard awesome music.

But now… you’re home again.

Home where there are commitments, stress, and the stuff of the other 51 weeks of the year.

I know that the Post-Cornerstone Depression is not listed in the DSM IV, but I’m confident it’s a real phenomenon for many people returning home after Cornerstone. It’s usually mild, but very real for those who get it. I’ve experienced it myself after many festivals, and am already feeling some of the symptoms.

So, what can we do about it? Based on my own experience, what works is to allow myself to relive the happy memories, then force myself to get back to “real” life with new passion. Here are some other tips (based on my own experiences at Cornerstone and years as a church staff member helping people with the stuff of real life):

  • Find the bands you loved on facebook & twitter. Download their songs.  Chat about the bands with other fans.
  • Look for the next concerts in your area.
  • Take time for silence & solitude, two spiritual practices you don’t get much of at Cornerstone. Be quiet and just listen.
  • Share music with friends. Make playlists. Link to the exclusive videos posted here on or to band MySpace pages (give a description more than “this band is awesome” so people have a reason to click the links you share).
  • If you’re feeling some “holy discontent,” (maybe an idea to make a change in your life) don’t squash it. Talk to God about what’s up. Keep going with life-as-normal for now, but also be praying for direction on what’s next.
  • Plan a night to hang out again with the friends from your youth group who also attended. Trade tips about your favorite bands. Pass around your photos. Sing the worship songs you shared at the festival.
  • Learn to play the guitar. Or, at least get all the downloadable content from Rock Band for bands that have played Cornerstone.
  • Wear all your new shirts.
  • Hang your wristband on your bulletin board.
  • Find a photo (one you took, or one from the fantastic fest photo coverage) and make it the desktop background on your computer.
  • Watch all the videos on the website, then watch them again.
  • Buy a ticket to come back next year. You really will be part of making Cornerstone 2011 great.
  • Look for new spiritual habits (like prayer, Bible reading, simplicity, celebration, etc.) that can help you stay connected to what God is up to around you.
  • Listen to seminar podcasts and think about the topics discussed. (I think podcasts will be coming to the blog in a few weeks – or you could always catch up on the 2009 seminars.)
  • Remember the reality: Driving back to the festival grounds would do no good. You’d just get recruited for cleanup. haha. 🙂 Seriously, though, I know the immense feelings of just wanting to turn the car around. Yet, I also know, rationally, that it wouldn’t matter. The festival is not about the place.
  • Write a list of what you’re thankful for. I do this a lot throughout the year (in a series of posts on my personal blog called “Good Fridays”). Even if you feel crummy, there’s something to be thankful. Be thankful that you’re home again in the land of flushable toilets, comfy beds, and private showers. Be thankful for the laughs and smiles of last week. Be thankful for the talent God gave these musicians & artists.
  • Sing along, play air drums, and completely rock out while listening to these new tunes.
  • Talk about how you’re feeling. This is probably the most important factor. It’s OK to cry and admit you feel bad, hug a friend and get courage to go back to “real life.” Of course, though, if you’re feeling something that’s bigger than mild Post-Cornerstone Depression, talk to someone who can help (like a pastor, youth worker, counselor, etc.)

What about you? Do you get the Post-Cornerstone Depression too? What helps you through it?


(p.s. our festival photo album is here)