2012 Last Year for Cornerstone Festival

4 comments Written on May 17th, 2012     
Filed under: News
CHICAGO, IL (May 17, 2012) – This will be the last year for the Cornerstone Festival, organizers announced on Tuesday.

The pioneering and still unique music and arts-oriented gathering has been a ministry of Jesus People USA Covenant Church. This year’s festival will be held July 2-7 in Bushnell, Illinois.

Glenn Kaiser performs during Resurrection Band reunion show

“Based on a range of factors – including changes in the market and a difficult economy – the timing seems right,” organizers wrote in a press release. “This was obviously a hard decision, wrestled with over years and particularly over recent months. But, with the decision made, we have the opportunity to come together one last time and bring to a happy, grateful – if tearful – close to this chapter of our lives.”

The lineup for this year’s festival is being revamped in response to the tightened budget and to honor the history of the event.

The first Cornerstone was held in 1984, growing out of JPUSA’s Cornerstone magazine and Resurrection Band ministry. At the time, there were few Christian festivals.

“Our annual gathering in this truly special community has shaped and illuminated our journeys together and apart, beginning in 1984, when the first Cornerstone drew 5,000 people to a small fairgrounds outside Chicago,” organizers said.

“Through our peak years in the 90s when tens of thousands celebrated this festival’s amazing unity-in-diversity amid the Midwestern countryside, to more recent belt-tightening days, we’ve traveled our ups and downs together in a way that will be a part of our lives forever.”

A Covenant News Service story published in 2008 on the 25th anniversary of the festival declared, “Only at the Cornerstone Festival could a person sit in seminars under a canopy tent, led by one of the world’s leading theologians, Yale Professor Miroslav Volf, and then rock to the sounds of the punk band, The Scurvies.”

In that story, lead organizer John Herrin said, “We thought there ought to be something between a church conference and Woodstock.”

Videos of performances can be found on various sites of the Internet. Groups and individuals from Evangelical Covenant churches have attended the festival.

Editor’s note: Photo courtesy of Scott Stahnk

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4 comments “2012 Last Year for Cornerstone Festival”

Sorry to see it end, but it truly was a unique and inspiring event. We brought our teen and his friend years ago and it helped shape their Christian experience, as well as provided a chance for father-son bonding. Bringing the art world into the worship experience had a major impact. The organizers really knew how to reach out to young people and to show how faith should permeate all aspects of our lives. Thanks to all who put such tremendous effort and commitment into these events!

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Though I never attended the festival, I know of the great work of JPUSA and their consistent witness to Christ through example, music and service. Your concern and care for the marginalized is so encouraging. Congratulations on a great run with the festival. Best wishes as you concentrate now on other ministries. Warm thoughts of the community and in particular the leadership team.


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I’m so sad about this, but know that this decision was made with many prayers by the JPUSA people. I was blessed the many times I went (and volunteered) and Cornerstone has had a significant impact on my spiritual life and my walk with Christ. Thanks to all who helped put this event on for all these years!

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Back in the glory days of the 1990’s I used to teach a poetry workshop at Cornerstone Festival. My son, Aaron, who recently graduated from UIC was just an infant then and he used to ride on Fonzy the pony which was an attraction for kids back then. My husband and I have nothing but fond memories of Cornerstone and may the fest live on in the lives of everyone who went there. God bless. Arlene Maass

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