Cornerstone Festival 2005 Kicks Off

This year’s Cornerstone Festival began Thursday at Cornerstone Farm near Bushnell, Illinois. The “four days of fellowship, entertainment, education and edification,” will feature live music, games, films, seminars, children’s activities, and much more, according to the official Cornerstone Festival website.

“The festival brings many opportunities to those who attend,” says the website. “There are chances to hear new music, explore new ideas, and meet new people. There are opportunities to grow in faith, awareness, and action. Friends old and new can gather in corporate worship and prayer. Horizons are broadened, minds are stretched and spirits are rejuvenated.”

“Cornerstone is a warm environment,” says Steve Hindalong, drummer and songwriter for the Choir, who will perform at midnight on The Gallery Stage at this year’s festival. “There’s a spirit of broad acceptance of the range of artistry and the range of fans. People come together, and it seems to be a very good-natured, loving event. The whole thing really does reflect the church to me, in a positive way.”

The Choir is one of nearly 300 bands that will be playing at Cornerstone 2005, along with artists such as Ashley Cleveland, tobyMac, Hawk Nelson, Audio Adrenaline, and others.

Aside from the music, a number of seminars regarding a wide range of issues including the depiction of women in the Bible, dating, and homeschooling, will be held throughout the four days and will feature speakers such as David Nasser, Bruce Wright, Judy MacPherson, and Brian McLaren, and more.

The Cornerstone Festival will also offer a number of outdoor games for its attendees, including tug-of-war, soccer, and basketball, as well as film showcases from the Chicago-based film ministries Flickerings and Imaginarium.

A complete list and schedule of activities can be found at the Cornerstone Festival website under “schedule.”

For those who cannot attend the festival, Cornerstone 2005 will be podcast over the internet. Podcasting will allow listeners to download mp3’s of Cornerstone to their mp3 players or computers, with this year’s podcast being hosted by The Zany Aguirres (ABC’s Wife Swap, Scaterd Few, Spy Glass Blue, Drama Dust) who will provide daily highlights, interviews and news from the festival.

When asked about the podcasts, John J Thompson, Cornerstone Festival Marketing Coordinator, states, "Cornerstone is all about knowing where the bleeding-edge is and then flying well past it. Regarding technology, we are focused on staying ahead of the curve and using any and every tool to get the word out about the Cornerstone Experience. From the dawn of the streaming video genesis, followed by the first festival DVDs, and ‘live’ coverage in the infancy years of the internet, we were there. Now that MP3 players have taken over the ears of the world it makes sense to take what we have dabbled in with Cornerstone Radio specials (XM Satellite Radio 2002) and on-site FM broadcasts to the next level. These podcasts will be awesome, I'm sure. And having a veteran like Allan at the helm assures me that the style and chemistry of Cornerstone will be well represented. I know I'll be listening to them on the way home from the fest.”

Allan Aguirre of the Zany Aguirres continues, “My family and I are extremely excited to host the Cornerstone Festival’s first ever podcast. I’m also excited to be in the role of ‘journalist’ at the fest as opposed to artist. It’s a new angle and perspective to experience. It’s thrilling to not only bring podcasting to the festival, but to the Christian market with podcastmedia.net. As Christians, we need to always be at the cusp of society and culture to be relevant, and this technology is only going to broaden our influence in media.”

The Cornerstone Festival was started in 1984 by the Chicago-based Christian community Jesus People USA (aka JPUSA, or Jah-poo-sah) as part of an outreach program that originated with JPUSA’s Cornerstone magazine. Over 22,000 the US, Canada and many foreign countries annually attend the event.

For more information about the Cornerstone Festival and to purchase tickets, go to www.cornerstonefestival.com.