Since 1984, Cornerstone Festival has spent 28 years pushing boundaries and challenging the concept of what a Christian Festival “should” look like. Cornerstone is an annual pilgrimage for people of faith of all ages, styles, and denominations from around the world. Attendees join together 20,000 strong in the hills of Western Illinois for a week-long celebration that invigorates belief, inspires creativity, and showcases the best in pop culture, faith-based entertainment, spiritual engagement, and fun activities.
Cornerstone Festival 2011 will take place June 30 – July 3 at Cornerstone Farm in Bushnell, Illinois. Once a year for the past two decades, this small town in Western Illinois with less than 3500 residents becomes inundated with artists, musicians, and fans from across the globe who make a pilgrimage to experience an event unlike any other.
Music has always been, and always will be, the centerpiece of this multi-interest experience. This year, over 300 artists and bands will descend upon the festival grounds with a variety of styles poised to please nearly every listener. From headlining artists to the New Band Showcase, one thing remains constant; Cornerstone is THE place every band dreams of playing.
“Cornerstone is still one of the highlights of any touring band, and for us it holds a special place in our hearts,” explains Stephen Christian of the band Anberlin. “We started out on a generator stage, bought our way onto a stage the next year, then Tooth and Nail day, then the Encore stage, and finally Main Stage. It was a process to get there but that makes it so much more amazing. We don’t ever take playing main stage for granted and always have the time of our lives. If you have never been to Cornerstone, this is the year to go.”
Cornerstone 2011 kicks off at full speed, featuring a Wednesday night dance party hosted by one of the most renowned DJs from the UK – Andy Hunter. Thursday night features a good old-fashioned Jesus Rally showcasing many of the groundbreaking artists of the early Jesus Music movement including Classic Petra, DA, Barry McGuire, Phil Keaggy and Randy Stonehill. Friday will launch “The Whosoevers” day hosted by former Korn guitarist Brian “Head” Welch and P.O.D. frontman Sonny Sandoval. Saturday evening will feature the best in alternative rock, including Blindside’s return to the U.S. Closing out Cornerstone 2011, Sunday evening will feature a massive worship experience where you’ll be able to sing along with Gungor, Robbie Seay Band and 20,000 of your closest friends.
Bands for the 2011 season include Anberlin, P.O.D., Classic Petra, Blindside, Phil Keaggy, Paper Route, Barry McGuire, Daniel Amos, Seabird, The Lost Dogs, The Letter Black, Gungor, The Robbie Seay Band, The Chariot, The Choir, Anchor and Braille, Denison Witmer, Luminate, Brooke Waggoner, and many more to be announced in the coming weeks. For a complete list of artists, see http://www.cornerstonefestival.com/bands.php
POP CULTURE: ART, FILM, THOUGHT, SOCIAL JUSTICE
More than music, Cornerstone is also known for its intelligent seminars, arts exhibitions, cultural discussions, and everyday spirituality. The 2011 Imaginarium, the festival’s film and pop culture arena, will be filled with film screenings, discussions and game nights. Cornerstone is proud to welcome iconic actor Doug Jones, known to pop-culture fans around the world for his roles in Fantastic Four: the Rise of the Silver Surfer, Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Batman, Men in Black II, and many more.
The Cornerstone Film Festival will feature films such as Exit Through the Gift Shop (2009), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Marwencol (2010) and Shakespeare Behind Bars (2005). More films will be announced in the coming weeks.
To deepen the cultural experience, Cornerstone Festival has also partnered with Northern Seminary to create a program that can earn attendees seminary credits in addition to practical ministry knowledge. Over 150 hours of seminars are being offered, including topics such as the scandalous women in Jesus’ genealogy, songwriting workshops, science and religion, Icons, a look at the life of Dorothy Day, church politics and alien worlds.
FOR THE KIDS
As always, Cornerstone Festival provides creative and progressive programs for attendees of all ages. Artrageous will be open daily throughout the event, giving the youngest of Cornerstone-goers the chance to create masterpieces of their own including face painting, clay sculpting, leather working, and much more. Creation Station will focus on Ephesians 3:18, with singing sea stars, selfish shellfish, and crazy clown fish helping kids discover the depths of God’s love. Flatfoot 56 and Destroy Nate Allen will be special musical guests. New for this year, older kids will have the opportunity to be a part of drama and choreography workshops, and even perform on the Creation Station stage.
Another unique element of the festival is the organized Cornerstone Games competitions. For sports minded fans, Cornerstone offers a variety of opportunities, including organized team competition in basketball, dodgeball, soccer, volleyball and more. The onsite skateboarding park is popular every year. The lush grounds also offer swimming, canoeing, fishing and hiking.
Tickets for Cornerstone Festival are available through www.iTickets.com. Full event, group and family options are available. As always, tent camping is free, and RV spaces can be reserved on a first come, first served basis.
Cornerstone launched in 1984 to meet the needs of a new generation of music lovers and spiritual seekers, with the hope of bringing together great music, art, film, and intelligent Christian thinking on family, worship, and play. For too long the Christian community had neglected Christian artists and musicians that didn’t fit into a narrow mold, and tackling real life issues was not a regular part of the Christian music festival agenda. Since inception, Cornerstone has highlighted music that was screaming to be heard and provided thousands of hours of seminars and workshops covering everything from personal life issues (sex, homosexuality, accountability, etc.) to social justice, being part of the global Christian community, caring for the poor, mission business, and hundreds of other topics over the years. People travel from all over the world to Cornerstone to hear and see the very best and most creative artists in the faith community across multiple artistic disciplines. Cornerstone fans are cultivating a way of engaging with the world that opens a path to a lifetime of individual growth and community.
Cornerstone is hosted each year by Jesus People USA, an inner city mission organization based in Chicago, and is held at Cornerstone Farm, 23325 N Cornerstone Road, Marietta, Illinois 61459. The 2011 event will be held June 30-July 3.
Cornerstone Festival (www.CornerstoneFestival.com) has been a fixture on the Christian Music scene for 28 years. Originally based 45 minutes north of Chicago, this annual event moved to its current 650-acre campground located in Central Illinois in 1991.