The Juice Bar

My muses, thoughts, ideas, and whatever

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

My trip to Cornerstone 2007 - Introduction

It’s a summer tradition for me, making the drive through two-lane roads from St. Louis northward along highway 67 through a familiar stretch of towns: Jacksonville, Beardstown, Rushville, until I reach the small town of Bushnell. But when I pulled through the main gate of the Cornerstone music festival for the eleventh time, and saw the same dusty dirt roads, the acres of tents, the rows of port-a-potties, I smiled, because I felt like I had come home again. A former farm now turned into a site hosting five days of Christian rock bands, seminars, and world cinema, Cornerstone has become home away from home, that I have visited many summers since the first fest I attended in 1991. And it’s a lot closer visit than the Greenbelt festival in England.

By the way, I guess I should post a link to this shindig so you have some vague idea what I'm talking about:

As I drove through the gate, I got a cell phone call as I idled down the main camp road. I was surprised that I even had cell phone coverage anywhere on the site. The call was from a friend of mine I met on the Arts and Faith site, and he offered me a space to pull a tent next to him behind the Encore 1 and 2 tents. So I pulled onto a smaller dirt road, which turned into a path through grass matted down by other cars and campers, and ended against a line of trees, where my friend Brandon waved to me. I pulled next to his truck, greeted him and his teenaged son, and we had a classic camp meal, barbequed burgers.

After setting up my tent, the same one I’ve used in numerous Cornerstones and other camping trips before, I strolled around the grounds. The lake is still there, and Main Stage is still standing. It’s sloped hills and open space in front of a large stage will hold thousands of fans during the concerts by the most popular bands over the next four days. However, none of the featured acts will likely tickle my fancy enough for me to make the long trek from my tent down the long and winding dirt road to the stage. When Steve Taylor and Five Iron Frenzy quit playing Cornerstone, I decided to leave Main Stage to the kids who love Pillar and Switchfoot and the hot “emo” bands. But I’m sure they’ll have a lot of fun.

My wardrobe choice for the day was a Cardinals 2006 World Champions shirt to celebrate our championship somehow. I did manage to find one Cubs fan who acknowledged me, David, a friend of mine I’ve met through the Daniel Amos discussion list, numerous Lost Dogs and DA/Terry Taylor related activities. I hung around the Press Tent, where I met Brandon again, and we listened to Mike Hertenstein, leader of the Flickerings film festival and the Imaginarium tent and an all around nice guy, talk about the non-musical activities that keep me coming back every year: foreign films and lectures about subjects from the odd corners of popular culture: as diverse as Elvis, movie monsters, kitsch toys, and zombies. Those people have quite an imagination, that's for sure. I also met up with J. Robert Parks, who happened to be wandering around the vicinity. He's a film reviewer extraordinaire and another really cool guy, and someone else I've met at Cornerstone before.

After that, I stopped by Camp 77s, where I met up with a group of loyal fans of stalwart bands of Cornerstone from the old days: 77s, Daniel Amos, the Lost Dogs, and Gene Eugene, may he rest in peace. After chilling for a few minutes, I walked over to the merch tent to do my annual CD shopping spree. At Cornerstone the past few years, I have gotten many bargain CDs from Rad Rockers and other merchants for bands whose heyday arrived ten years before. So there weren’t too many CDs left that I was interested in, but I did find great bargains on the only Galactic Cowboys CD I don’t have, as well as an Atomic Opera and classic Mike Knott/LSU CD.

After ducking an early evening rain shower, I stopped by the Imaginarium Tent and caught the last part of the original Japanese Godzilla movie, Gojira. I’ve never watched a Godzilla film all the way through, but I was impressed by the bittersweet tone that reflected the sadness of Japanese culture since the atomic bomb went off in Hiroshima. Then I walked back to my tent and climbed in for a night’s sleep on my air mattress. Project 86 was so kind to serenade me in a loud rock show over at the Encore 2 tent. Of course, I appreciate a little night hardcore to put me in the mood to sleep.


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