Well, Cornerstone 2010 is in the books, and I’ve had over a week to ease back into the real world and process everything that I saw and heard during my favorite week of the year. I wanted to leave a few (OK, a lot – brevity is not my strong point) parting words as we head into the long Cornerstone “off-season.”
Let’s start with the weather – it really couldn’t have been much better, could it? It wasn’t too hot during the day, it was pleasantly cool at night (of course, I was in the dorm so I didn’t have to sleep in it…), it wasn’t humid, and it didn’t rain. The only thing that’s possibly worth complaining about was that it was dusty, but the fest folks did a great job of keeping the roads watered to keep the dust down, and the dust we did have just made for some fun graffiti on car windows.
The topic that was seemingly on everybody’s mind going into the festival was the effect that the changes to the fest layout (notably the relocation of Main Stage, and some other changes that followed on from that) would have on the “feel” of the festival. If you’ve been following the fest blog, you know that I was a bit worried about the changes going in, but in the end, I’m happy to say that I didn’t really mind them all that much.
- Main Stage looked pretty cool in its new location (especially with the two big video screens flanking the stage this year). From most places on the grounds, you could see it looming in the distance (especially at night) – at one point, I was on the far side of the Gallery, and if you bent down a bit, you got a clear view of the stage and the video screens off in the distance, and it looked pretty impressive. We didn’t get one of the truly glorious sunsets that you sometimes see at Cornerstone this year, but if we had, it would have made an epic backdrop for the stage.
- The new location meant that it was less of a commitment to sample shows on Main Stage. That’s a good thing, although I think I actually spent less time at the evening Main Stage shows than I usually do. My Main Stage attendance tends to vary year to year based on who’s playing, and this year, the only full set I saw was Switchfoot, but I was able to get a taste of some other things I might not have seen otherwise, like the Almost, Toby Mac, Phil Joel, and The Devil Wears Prada. Being able to sample Main Stage bands and then go to other shows is pretty cool.
- With bands playing Main Stage during the day (a new thing for Cornerstone), it did occur to me that if the weather had been hotter, sitting out in the midday sun to watch bands might have been a problem. Thankfully, none of the bands I saw on Main Stage in the afternoons got swallowed up by the giant stage, although some of them would have been as good or better playing Gallery or Encore sets where the crowd was a bit more packed in and the band was a bit closer to the fans.
- The Gallery actually didn’t feel much different in its new location when you were inside the tent. It was a bit less convenient to hike back over to the food court for a quick dinner between sets, but otherwise, the Gallery move was barely noticeable. One thing I did miss, though, was having the Gallery and other covered stages near the food court to provide a centralized, shady place to hang out during the day. A covered place to sit and eat would be a nice thing to add if Main Stage stays on the midway next year.
- I didn’t see many bands on the Encore Stage this year, but it seems like that stage got demoted a little this year. The fact that there weren’t that many bands on Encore that I wanted to see this year (several that would have played Encore were on Main Stage instead) might be coloring my perception.
- The new layout for the generator stages worked about as well as it could. The schedules were kind of mixed up on all the stages, and adjacent stages stomped on each other’s sound occasionally, but overall, the quality of the generator stage experience was much higher this year. I would like to see all the generator stage schedules posted (and updated) in a location closer to the rest of the grounds so I didn’t have to go all the way out to the stages to find out that the band I wanted to see wasn’t playing after all.
So, how was your Cornerstone experience this year? Have you gotten all the dust out of your shoes and off your car? Are you working through your post-fest depression? I think I’ve got one more blog post in me – I’ve got to talk about the bands that rocked my face this year, so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, if you need EVEN MORE photos of the festival, go check out my Flickr Cornerstone set.