The first day of the festival is all about easing yourself into the “Cornerstone Festival Way of Life.” Most normal people don’t stay up to 2 AM listening to loud music all day, cooking food over a camp stove or getting something fried from a vendor. Most people don’t have face the conundrum of “should I see this band or this other band that’s playing half a mile away at the same time?” It takes a day or so to get used to the “normal” way of life here, but once you do, you start to think of your life at home as “odd.”
So today we eased into the Cornerstone Way of Life again for another year. I started off with some nice acoustic music by Tim Serdynski and Ryan Shelley. Along with Preson Phillips’ show on the Anchor Stage, there was some nice worship music on the first day to get people in the right frame of mind for the week.
My friends and I do hours and hours of research on all of the hundreds of bands that play at Cornerstone on the real stages and the generator stages so that we know who is playing and who we think we would enjoy seeing. Even still, the unpredictable nature of the generator stages at Cornerstone mean a band can still surprise you. On the Arkansas Stage, Sunset delivered a nice set of rock that reminded me a little bit of a rawer, simpler Further Seems Forever. We totally missed them when doing our research, but sometimes to only way to discover a band is to walk by the tent and say “hey, this sounds pretty good.”
It’s gotta be tough to be a band from far away that no one has heard of and try to make a beachhead at Cornerstone. Some bands like Campbell The Band have it figured out. Just like last year they are walking around the festival like a traveling minstrel band stopping for a moment to play a song and then they vanish into the Cornerstone dust to play at another location. Quiet Science is hard at it, too, dressing up in elaborate costumes and marching through the grounds. That’s why I always root for the bands that drive thousands of miles to Cornerstone without any support to play at a generator stage (and I and my friends are the only four people watching them.) That was the case for Belair and Stone Throw Second, but as they started playing people started wandering into the tent to check out a band they surely have never heard of before. It’s always a good sign when there are more people in the tent when they have finished then when they started. Both bands are playing multiple sets this week at generator stages so there is plenty of time to build up a new fan base far from home. Other bands benefit from the serendipity of good scheduling. Witness 7 and Adelaine were lined up in front of the increasingly popular Don’t Wake Aislin and girl-rock power was strong in the Impact Stage for the evening.
DJ Andy Hunter started the Main Stage off tonight with a dance party. Kids were dancing all around the stage as Hunter exhorted them to praise, worship, dance, and have fun. We’re starting to get into the groove of things here. The festival is heating up (both musically and literally, stay cool and drink lots of water kids!) and The Cornerstone Way of Life is starting to take over.