This year's Cornerstone Festival is off and running, and over 20,000 Christian fans from around the globe are expressing their excitement.
Taking place throughout the week in Bushnell, Ill., the annual Christian music extravaganza has pulled in over 300 bands to perform on over a dozen stages, making it arguably one of the top Christian festivals this summer.
"It's a dream come true, it's just incredible," remarked Anton Van Der Merwe, a 16-year-old from South Africa, according to the Macomb Journal. "Where I come from, I was the only one who listened to Christian music and coming here, everyone's into it."
Headlining the June 25-30 event are some big Christian and crossover artists including P.O.D., the Newsboys, tobyMac, Anberlin, Relient K, Switchfoot, and many more.
Despite the overwhelming presence of music artists and fans, festival organizers have stressed that the festival is more than just concerts, however. They create an atmosphere for fellowship with one another in addition to offering several activities to encourage spiritual growth.
"There are a million things to do here," explained John Herrin, the festival director, according to NBC News 25. "There is about 200 hours of workshops and seminars on an enormous range of social issues, spiritual issues; we have an independent film festival; there is sports."
The festival has been around for many years now. It began in Chicago where it was held for seven years, but moved to the more rural location of Cornerstone Farm just outside Bushnell.
"We literally saw an ad in the Chicago Tribune," added Herrin. "It said 600 acre campground, 125 acre lake. We called 17 years ago and bought the property and relocated."
Although the festival attendants have been hit by strong rains amid smaller showers as well as intense heat on other days, many don't seem to mind.
Several expressed that the festival is a great time to meet fellow Christians and that the celebration is really showing off a model for faith.
"Christianity has kind of a bad name in some places because I feel that people are doing things in the name of Jesus that aren't like Jesus," said Ethan Harper, a volunteer garbage man, according to the Macomb Journal. "But I think that what Christianity is supposed to be is what most people here are trying to get closer to, and that is serving God and serving other people, putting them before yourself."
"I just love that everyone is like so together," added Dana Winski, an 18-year-old Pennsylvania-native, according to NBC News 25, "and everybody is just able to become friends in a split second."
Besides the main headliner bands, the festival is also offering the opportunity for 16 contest winners to perform throughout the week as part of the "New Band Showcase." It will give them a step forward in possibly making a Christian music career.
The Cornerstone Festival will run through Saturday with most attendants camping out until it closes.
Next year's dates are already set as well: June 31 through July 5.