Well, well, well, the earth completed its cycle around the sun and it was time for another Cornerstone. My fourth – Emily’s fourth – our second together and our only Engaged Cornerstone – and Zach’s first! The three of us made the northward trek in my car to join our respective camp-mates at the festival.
Google Map directions seem to change every year, and this time it took us up Hwy 79 through the cozy towns of Ellsbury and Clarksville. We made a “Louisiana Purchase” (thank Emily for that pun) in the town of the same name before crossing the state line, taking advantage of Missouri’s more conservative gas prices. With two fairly recent 11-hour drives to the Gulf under my belt, the 3 hr. 15 min. drive to Cornerstone felt shorter than ever; we barely had time to listen to Flatfoot 56, Deas Vail, and Audio Adrenaline before we made a quick lunch stop at the Burger King in Macomb and got in line at the front gate.
An hour or so later I had two bracelets on my left hand and we were parked by last year’s campsite, where John had already set up our tent, although Emily would have to wait a couple more hours for her family, and Zach even longer for my brothers and their friends. Despite the absence of many of last year’s friends from the camping grounds, Jeremy Brooks and family were already making things feel like Cornerstone-home, and I gave an enthusiastic hug to Mike Faulkner.
The festival lords had shuffled the Cornerstone map this year, and we walked around to get a feel for the new layout and ensure that we knew where to find our most anticipated shows. Main Stage had replaced the Gallery Stage; the Gallery had replaced an old Encore tent; Encore was the old Anchor; Anchor was the old Seminar tents; the Seminar tents were the other old Encore; and the other Encore had disappeared altogether!
John and I took a quick trip to the Bushnell IGA to pick up some beans and hot dogs for dinner. Afterwards I pulled out my new hand-me-down melodica, and the Currys joined us for an impromptu parade around the new grounds. It was KevinAndRyan’s first year as well (although we made sure to expose the twins to a Flatfoot circle pit at a local show a couple months ago).
Unlike last year, when Children 18:3 played a fun show on Monday night, most of our favorite bands weren’t doing much until later in the festival. Not that we lacked for things to do; this year’s first show of the week went to The Skies Revolt, a raucous (dance-core?) act that nearly played in Chuck’s basement a few weeks ago. As Emily and I walked to the tent-enclosed generator stage (the love-stricken fiancé agreed to follow me to every show… what a gal) we saw a curious crane hoisting a pipe halfway out of the ground. Some men were twisting a lever, and water started gushing out. (Were they drilling a well? To be continued…)
Despite some initial power issues, The Skies Revolt kicked off our Cornerstone week in an appropriate fashion, and as we returned to the campsite we saw the curious crane still at work. Now, however, we saw over a dozen poles lying side-by-side on the ground, and the crane was pulling another one out of the ground. The gushing water was coming from above – not below – as the pulled pipe was disconnected from the one under it, over and over again. (Were they undrilling a well? To be continued…)
At any rate, we were here again. The striped tents, the advertising walls also known as porta-potties, the excited people, the myriad of stars in the clear night sky – it was all here again… bring it on!