CORNERSTONE 2004 JOURNAL - THURSDAY
Thursday morning I awoke as the thin canvas of my tent was unable to keep out the morning sunlight. I crawled out and prepared myself to face the showers located in a couple of trailers set up along the main road. Fortunately, there wasn't a long line, and there was hot water, so I showered and returned to my tent, seeing this small city springing to life with people. I set out to explore the grounds, walking over to a line of trailers of food vendors with lighted signs advertising the various delicacies available: Gyros, Elephant Ears, Shish Ka-bobs, Corn Dogs. I found a makeshift coffee shop set up in a tent, where I enjoyed a non-franchised mocha mint frappucino served by nice people not dressed in green and white uniforms. I then wandered past a long row of port-a-potties plastered with flyers advertising bands playing at the festival, and walked past a skateboard ramp, until I arrived at the press tent. Here the rec.music.christian newsgroup was sponsoring a lunch for members of email discussion groups dedicated to past and present Cornerstone bands with small but fiercely loyal followings. I received my invitation as a member of the list dedicated to the band Daniel Amos, who had played at the very first Cornerstone Festival in 1984. I reacquainted myself with some friends whom I knew from past Cornerstones, and also met a guy named Jeff Elbel from a band called Ping and was also a member of the Daniel Amos email list. His band would be playing the festival on Sunday. He was carrying a box filled with copies of his latest CD, so I and several friends bought copies. We then dined on ham sandwiches and cokes.
Since the first day of Cornerstone is traditionally "Tooth and Nail" Day, with the afternoon dedicated to punk and hardcore bands from the Tooth and Nail label, I decided to skip that and spend the afternoon relaxing at my tent. However, before I could wander too far, a monstrous red-and-white striped tent that dwarfed everything else around it. I knew this was what singer Phil Madeira had once dubbed "the holy of holies". I entered the open flap and walked into the Merchandise Tent, a bastion of pure capitalism. I scanned the tables where bands were hawking Cds and T-shirts, people from magazines were giving away free copies, and music poured out of CD players and TV screens, advertising the latest hot new sounds that nobody could resist purchasing without running the risk of being “uncool”. After picking up a few Cds, I walked out the other side, only to see that the Merch tent had spawned two smaller tents as well. I strolled through each, where my favorite find was a wooden frog which sounded a bull-frog-like croak when a wooden mallet was rubbed along its back. At the same table, I found a wooden cricket that made a cricket-like sound when rubbed by a wooden stick. I knew these toys would guarantee me hours of enjoyment.
After carrying my booty back to my campsite, I relaxed while being serenaded by hardcore rock bands with growling singers playing at stages surrounding our campgrounds. After tiring of that, I walked over to the Wycliffe tent to see a band called Madison Greene. When I got there, I saw the inside of the tent was completely packed with people. I set up my chair up in a shady spot behind the tent, and listened to an hour of drum-oriented tribal African-style music. Even if I couldn‘t see the band, I enjoyed the rumbling beat. I also met some people whom I camped next to last year at Cornerstone, so it was good to catch up with them.
That evening I was invited to a BBQ sponsored by another Internet message board I am a member of, the Arts and Faith discussion board, dedicated to discussing films and other media from a Christian perspective. It was quite interesting to put faces to names that I only knew from a computer screen. Of course, we discussed films while dining on barbequed hot dogs and chips. I then walked next door to an old metal shed, where inside, a makeshift movie theater with rows of folding chairs, was set up. This theater was sponsored by Flickerings, which is the film section of Cornerstone, dedicated to screening independent films with spiritual themes. This evening's film selection was "The Man Without a Past", an amusing Finnish movie filled with much deadpan humor. After the film, a few of the people in the audience stayed around for an interesting and informative discussion about the spiritual undertones of the film. Afterwards, I walked back toward the music tents. I caught the last few songs by a band called Infradig, which played interesting jazz and jam-influenced instrumental music. I was quite impressed. I then stuck around to hear some fine rock and blues from the Glenn Kaiser Band, which was a satisfying way to end the day.