The fest technically started today, but I think a lot of it was soured by the downpour that had occurred the previous night. I know many people who were very upset by the fact that they now had 2 inches of standing water in their tent. I had been a little luckier than most, but not by much.
After catching a few hours of sleep in my back seat, but a lot less than I had hoped for, I went about trying to get things back to a semblance of normalcy. I felt really bad for those who had come to Cornerstone and were unprepared for this. Some people who had pulled in the day before and set up camp in a little gully found their entire site soaked. They soon packed up and left. I don’t know if they just got a hotel room and still came to the fest, or just went home. I sincerely hope the former happened.
Now that the fest had started, I was able to go about the real goal of the weekend — to see as many cool shows and people as possible.
I headed over to the New Band Stage and saw the first band of the fest. Twothirtyeight are an emo band from Florida, I believe. Although I wasn’t initially impressed by their set, the last few songs they played really had me going with their catchy, yet still powerful melodies.
The next band was Mindshift, a ska/swing band. To be honest, I do not like ska, and I am getting very very tired of swing music. And Mindshift did not endear themselves to me at first. However, I was actually pretty impressed with some of the material later in their set, which took the ska/swing formula and actually added some fun and energy into it. Despite some annoying keyboards, it actually turned out to be a pretty good set, although I’d probably never buy their album.
The third band was No More Droids, a punk band. I like punk rock only slightly more than I like ska. To be honest, I don’t know how this band got on the New Band Stage. That may sound cold, but I was honestly very unimpressed by their set. It was rough and choppy, and sounded like the band had only been together for a few days. To their credit, they had the heart, but it just didn’t carry over into their show.
I had some time to kill until the next show, so I headed back over to the Asylum. I hooked up with Dennis (aka DJ Dedd), who is very cool.
The next show I saw was Ballydowse. I didn’t know what to expect. I had read a little bit about their CD, and some of an interview, all of which pointed towards them being a sort of Celtic music with a healthy injection of punk and hardcore music. And it was all that and much more.
To say that I was invigorated and exhilarated by their music is an understatement. Imagine the depth and beauty of Celtic music (which, I’m convinced, has a direct line to some hidden part of the soul) with the intensity and social conviction of punk music, but also a knack for experimentation.
At times, 10 people occupied the stage, playing instruments ranging from the bagpipes to the didgeridoo (which added an especially cool depth to their music) to Tibetan throat singing. And the message… a message of hope for the world, but also full of passion and conviction, of confidence in God’s judgment for a world growing increasingly contemptuous.
After Ballydowse, a couple of us went to the Imaginarium to see David Lynch’s The Elephant Man. I’m not a huge David Lynch fan, but I do feel that he’s a very important filmmaker who’s unafraid to push the boundaries and test the norm. The Elephant Man was a tad bit melodramatic in places, and not entirely historically accurate, if I remember correctly, but at it’s very heart was an incredibly touching and moving story.
I had hoped to see Embodyment that night, but it didn’t work out with watching The Elephant Man. So, I headed back to the Asylum, had something to drink, and went to the backseat of my car for a few hours of sleep before the sun rose.