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.
“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