The Cornerstone Festival is a Christian music festival put on by Jesus People USA held annually around the 4th of July in Illinois. In a given year, many artists that play at Cornerstone also play at the Creation Festival.
From 1984 to 1990, Cornerstone was held in Grayslake, Illinois. In 1991, Cornerstone moved to the town of Bushnell, Illinois where the organizers of the Festival purchased a large piece of land, which is now called Cornerstone Farm.
Tens of thousands of music fans flock to Cornerstone Farms each year to see over 300 bands from many styles of music, including rock, metal, hardcore, pop, rap, folk, electronic, Celtic, and country. In addition to the many bands chosen who are signed to Christian record labels, many Christian bands signed to general-market labels have played at Cornerstone, for example, P.O.D., MxPx, Pedro the Lion, Saviour Machine and Galactic Cowboys. In addition to the many musicians, Cornerstone Festival also has a wide collection of guest speakers.
Overall, the main Cornerstone Festival (or C-stone, as many of its attendees call it) now takes place over 5 days on a wide variety of stages. For 2005, the stages were known as the Main Stage, the Rock for Life stage, the Underground Stage, the Decapolis Label Showcase, the Impromptu Stage, the Gallery Stage, the Dance Club, the Maloca Tent, Encore 1, Encore 2, the HM Magazine Stage, and Late Night Worship at the Beach. Unofficial "generator" stages will include the Fatcalf stage, the Lansing Underground stage, and the MeltingPoint Stage. Tooth & Nail Records also sponsors a Tooth & Nail Day (The Chariot, Norma Jean, Underoath, Extol, mewithoutYou, Showbread, Emery) which is a showcase of mainly Tooth & Nail bands that takes place on one day of the Cornerstone Festival each year.
Cornerstone is known for its phenomenal "Evening Encore" performances, now known simply as Encores. Encore performances are usually done at or after midnight, and the performers (especially on the later nights of the festival) are among the most popular, most well-established bands in Christian music at the time; some of the bands that have done Encores at Cornerstone include Zao, P.O.D., Living Sacrifice, Galactic Cowboys, and Starflyer 59.
Aside from performances by the latest bands to hit the scene, Cornerstone festival is also known for bringing in a variety of artists and performances that might not otherwise be seen by festival goers. Such performances include Blues jams with multiple musicians, all-star musical tributes performances to deceased artists like Gene Eugene and Rich Mullins, musicals like Mullins' Canticle of the Plains, or bands from outside of the United States like Iona. Cornerstone has also always featured performances from bands and artists that do not tour as heavily as they used to, like Eugene's Adam Again, Mark Heard, Steve Taylor, or The 77s. One of the highlights of Cornerstone Festival for countless fans is always a rare performance by Terry Scott Taylor and his troupe of friends and musician. Over the years these events have included the Lost Dogs, Daniel Amos and several acoustic shows scattered throughout the fest.
Due to the enormous success each year of the Bushnell Cornerstone Festival, JPUSA has now started a second Cornerstone Festival in Orlando, Florida, simply titled Cornerstone Florida. In 2005, it took place on May 13 and May 14 and was attended by over 10,000 people.
- Young, Shawn David, M.A., Hippies, Jesus Freaks, and Music (Ann Arbor: Xanedu/Copley Original Works, 2005). ISBN 1-59399-201-7
- Cornerstone Festival official site
- Cornerstone Florida official site
- MeltingPoint Stage official site
- DanielsMusic.com Photos the festival in 2004 & 2005
- Cornerstone Survival Guide
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