The Night Life
Thursday’s adventures didn’t really end after the P12 tent, but my last note was long enough, and it was technically early Friday morning anyway. One of the random youth groups projected a movie onto the side of their trailer every day at 1:30 am. Tonight they were watching The Goonies, which I’ve actually never seen.
On my way back to the camping area, after a brief conversation with some guy who was just hanging out with the guitarist from Capital Lights, some kid stopped me, doing his best to sound official, claiming to be from the United States Government Library of Congress something something and asking me if I knew what happened on this day 232 years ago. I played along, and we decided that after some people signed a document, they went – not to lunch – but to war – but they probably had lunch first, to get ready.
I joined the youth group for about half an hour of the movie, but it was getting cold and I was tired. On my way back to the campsite, some guys in a car rolled down the window, blaring some electronic music with bells. “Do you like this part of the song?” they asked. “Sure,” I said. “You do? Cool.”
I almost regretted that I was just discovering Cornerstone’s unpredictable nightlife.
Or maybe like the breaking of a dawn…
I found our tent after 2:30 and got a few hours of sleep. Morning was spent cleaning up the campsite and preparing for our departure Friday evening. We heard a band sound-checking on Main Stage at the early hour of 11:00, and Mike suggested we go down and see if it was David Crowder Band. “It isn’t,” I scoffed, but fortunately his enthusiasm was unabated. He went down and waved for us to follow – with the Tiki, of course.
It was incredible – the field would be filled with thousands of fans when the same people took the stage later that night, but for a few moments we were the only five there. A few more fans heard the music and joined us. Once the band knew all the inputs were on and up – including the Guitar Hero guitar rigged to play 5 recorded chords – David Crowder hopped down and chatted with us for a few moments, humoring fans for a few pictures and emanating joy from his funny personality.
I asked him if there would be a sequel to the squirrel music video, and he said that yes, yes there would be, for the song “Neverending,” and that there would be “much violence done to the squirrels.”
After David Crowder returned to the rest of the band, I hurried to the other side of the campgrounds, past the campsites and stages, to get to the barn where they show films. At noon they were showing Persepolis, a simple mostly black-and-white cartoon that tells the story of a young woman growing up in Iran during its revolutions of the late twentieth century. One of my co-workers had watched a preview on one of the computers in the back, and what I had seen of it looked interesting.
The Heat of the Day
I came in twenty minutes late and was surprised at how full the room was – I grabbed a water jug from the other side of the barn (that serves a dance hall late at night – something else I still have to check out at Cornerstone) and made myself a seat in the back. It was an interesting film told in an interesting format (not for children, though), and I was glad I was able to see it (it was nice to get out of the hot sun for a couple hours, too).
Two more noteworthy things happened before my second Cornerstone came to an end. The first was Deas Vail’s second show of the week. Their songs from their debut disc sounded as great as ever, and they played a couple different new songs that have me even more excited about their upcoming releases (I love it when Kelsey plays a two-part drum beat while everyone else is in 3/4!) After the show we got a Tiki picture with the full band.
It was almost time to leave, but we had time for one band on Main Stage, and one of the most anticipated parts of Cornerstone. No, unfortunately, not David Crowder Band – they would close out the night’s music and worship just before the fireworks.
An Epic Climax
But the evening of celebration of Cornerstone’s 25th Anniversary was set to begin with Flatfoot 56’s first time ever appearing on Main Stage – for a glorious seven minutes! All the dedicated and devoted fans that had sweat themselves dry in the circle pits of the smaller tents now had their chance to dance in the big open field, and we were prepared to give Flatfoot the best show of their life.
As the kick-off time approached, an immense crowd gathered near the stage, and the hundreds of people sitting in their lawn chairs on the hill had no idea what was about to take place in front of them. At least seven fans carried flags with pirate symbols and other decorations, and the Santa lawn gnome was present as well. Its bearer – the leader of the Texas youth group that Jacob fraternized with – encouraged everyone to split into two parts before Flatfoot even appeared, and we would engage in a Braveheart charge as soon as the music started. (Everything from this point on can be seen in the links provided below) The flag-bearers ran around the open space in front of the stage, keeping it cleared as the announcer introduced the band. Some folks handed out small water balloons on one side.
“Are you ready for this?” called out one of the Flatfoot brothers as the crowd roared. “Let’s have some fun together! Happy birthday America, and happy birthday Cornerstone, happy 25th. Let’s rock it out!”
Josh started playing the bagpipes, and the two sides rushed each other – along with a volley of water balloons – clogging in the middle before forming the epic circle pit. I dropped Tiki in the madness and almost lost him – he sustained several critical cracks but remained intact. We ran and jumped and shook our fists in the air while the uninitiated whipped out their cameras in awe. After “Brotherhood,” they played their signature “Amazing Grace,” and we formed lines with our arms across each other’s shoulders for the bagpipey intro before breaking out into another awesome circle pit. By the end of it, my lungs rushed with the hollow ache of a high school track sprint, and my heart glowed with the fellowship.
The entire experience was something I cannot possibly recreate with these mere words, and I can only direct you to the poor quality videos that have surfaced on YouTube in a feeble attempt to place some of the imagery and sounds in your disconnected mind. This clip from someone on the hill gives you a good shot of the charge and overhead view of the circle pit, while these closer shots of “Brotherhood” and “Amazing Grace” portray a closer view of the action and intensity (I run past the camera at 4:02 of the latter clip, just before it pans back to the band; you can see Mike walk in from the left at 4:13; you may be able to find us elsewhere)
Wow. What a way to end it.
And what a week it was.
I hope you can join us next year.