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Thread: Daniel Amos - Horrendous Disc Deluxe
vapspwi

Replies: 297
Views: 189,557
06-24-2017 21:35 Forum: Upcoming Releases


It just so happened, when the location of the house from the cover of Horrendous Disc was mentioned in a Kickstarter update, that I was in Orange County for a Choir show. What are the chances?

So I swung by the neighborhood and took a pic of the house on the way to John Wayne to fly home.

(Edit: looks like the IMG embed isn't working for me, so here's a Flickr link...)

https://flic.kr/p/V6YM2n

JRjr
Thread: Cornerstone - the end is near
vapspwi

Replies: 84
Views: 73,600
06-07-2012 07:39 Forum: General Discussion


quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
I suspect (and I haven't seen any evidence to make me doubt my suspicion) that you've got a bit of chip on your shoulder or an axe to grind.


Certainly no chip on my shoulder, and like I said before, the only axe I have to grind is the truth - a fair representation of what actually goes on at Cornerstone.

quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
Just because I had worked for DA doesn't mean I have some sort of DA-focused tunnel vision.


It just kind of seems that way, based on the fact that I don't think anybody else in this thread has named a band they like that came into existence within the last 10-15 years. It's hard to reconcile the "the fest ignores good bands" assertion when a lot of the measuring sticks for "good" are bands like DA, the 77s, Fleming & John, and VOL (yeah, Mallonee's still soldiering on, but it's not the same) that are barely active beyond sporadically (if at all) anymore.

quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
Towards the end of your post you seem to do exactly what you accuse me of.. you make it seem that DA is my measuring stick when it comes to quality... and then you use 'bands you wanted to see' as your measuring stick to prove there were plenty of quality bands.


Yeah, it was "bands I wanted to see." I'm a 41 year old guy that was raised on classic CCM stuff, probably like a lot of folks here, so that list covered a wide gamut of styles, some of which other people might like if they had ever heard it. I also mentioned a lot of other stuff that's widely regarded as "good" that I don't personally care for. It's not all screaming and chainsaw bands.

quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
They have not handled the bands financially wisely, my experience with DA is just an example of that. Its just not financially wise to relegate a band that made the most merch money of any band ever in the history of the fest to some obscure corner of the extra merch tent.


I'm really not sure that matters. For one thing, people who want DA merch are going to find DA merch if it's there to be had. For another thing, is that even sustainable? I've been going to the fest for 15 years, and I think I've seen DA there like 3 times (and I really doubt Cornerstone turned them down in those other 12 years). If they WERE there every year, would they set records in years when you weren't selling the Alarma Chronicles set or whatever? Once everybody owns everything the band has to offer, sales are going to drop off, and DA hasn't been all that prolific in the last decade or so.

quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
Bands that are stable and not 'here today and gone tomorrow' can bring in more finances. Bands that have cult followings that have existed for years can bring in more finances. Bands that tour less frequently can bring in more finances.


Unfortunately, the industry has changed, and "here today and gone tomorrow" is the way of most bands. The ones that stick around are mostly the ones that get big and play mainstage (the ones a lot of folks think the fest shouldn't be spending money to book).

I love the reunion shows and such, and yeah, I'd love to see them bring in more of them. But if the bands don't exist or don't play, what can Cornerstone really do about it? I guess they could back up the money truck and get them to come out of retirement, but it's debatable how wise an investment that is, even if you and I would really enjoy it.

quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
But the fest has to recognize their worth and how to focus on them and set them up for win/win situations. Everything I am saying could be applied to DA, but also to Keaggy, Fleming and John (as my brother said), the 77s, the Lost Dogs, the Choir, VOL (one of your favorites), Tonio K and Sixteen Tons of Monkeys, Bruce Cockburn, and so on. Bands similar to the ones that started the fest.


This discussion always seems to come back around to "they need to be putting on Cornerstone from the 80s every year" as I read it. As much as I would enjoy something like that, I still don't think it's the answer to their problems.

I still want to know how to get around the fact that a lot of those bands aren't particularly active. I mean, I'd like to see Mark Heard and Larry Norman at the fest, too, but...

quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
Hense filling up the 100+ band roster with 'here today gone tomorrow' bands that while some might think they are great, the majority thinks are just filler. Filler that doesn't generate much income either, I might add.


The fact that you discount the large and diverse list of bands that I posted that were generally good (subjective, yes, but I share a demographic with a lot of folks here), popular (well-attended shows), and in some cases pretty stable and long-term as "filler" hurts the credibility of everything else you're saying.

JRjr
Thread: Cornerstone - the end is near
vapspwi

Replies: 84
Views: 73,600
06-07-2012 07:16 Forum: General Discussion


quote:
Originally posted by dennis
Agreed, it seems Vespacow has an axe to grind.
Add some screaming and chainsaws and there's another crappy band to fill up a slot at cornerstone.


The only axe I have to grind is the truth, and to assert that Cornerstone has been blowing all their money on big bands and not booking any quality smaller bands simply isn't true. I posted that list of almost 40 quality bands across a lot of styles to illustrate that the fest isn't "tobyMac and 100 bands that they could book for $20 each with the money they had left."

If you're looking for somebody with an axe to grind, then let's be honest - you need to be looking at the guy who's complaining that the fest hasn't booked a group of bands that barely exist anymore (DA, 77s, etc.) enough over the last decade or so, and is using demonstrably false assertions ("the fest elected for quantity and not quality") to try to back up that claim. I'd be shocked to hear about an instance where DA wanted to play the fest and Cornerstone said "no thanks" - they put them on Main Stage last year, for crying out loud.

I'm not saying there's not a lot of crap bands at Cornerstone. I've got no interest in hardcore and death metal and that sort of stuff, and I've gone to great lengths to avoid that stuff in recent years (my friends and I listen to every band on the schedule to figure out what they sound like, and make a custom schedule booklet with a description of every band at the fest, including generator stages, prioritized according to our general tastes). I am saying that there's still more good music there than you could listen to in a week. I used my personal tastes, which are fairly broad, as an example, and didn't really even get into all the other stuff that was there in 2007 that I recognize as quality but don't find to my tastes, stuff ranging from Glenn Kaiser to the Myriad to Pigeon John to the Crossing.

JRjr
Thread: Cornerstone - the end is near
vapspwi

Replies: 84
Views: 73,600
06-06-2012 20:04 Forum: General Discussion


quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
Well.... fewer that count would probably be more accurate. I mean face it if your budget is $1000... you can either book 50 moderate sized bands at $20 a piece... or 5 big bands at $150 a piece, 10 moderate bands at $20 and 100 lousy bands at $2 a piece. I think it would be fair to say they seemed to go from the first option to the second. Quantity doesn't mean quality.


I suspect (and I haven't seen any evidence to make me doubt my suspicion) that you've got a bit of DA-focused tunnel vision when it comes to "quality."

Upthread, somebody posited 2005 as the year things took a turn for the worse. I think I've already listed a bunch of bands from 2005, so I'll pick 2007 totally at random and see who was on the schedule:

The Becoming - surprisingly good goth/glam, My Chemical Romance kind of band

Ruth - new band to me at the time, and I haven't heard anything from them lately, but they were a pleasant find that year

Jonezetta - really dug the _Popularity_ album from these guys; 80s throwback rock, a la the Killers

The Wayside - JJT's roots-rock outfit

Run Kid Run - nice, melodic pop-rock T&N band

Spoken - At about the upper end of heaviness that I prefer, but they're really good live, and surprisingly outspoken about matters of faith for a modern T&N band

Flatfoot 56 - wildly entertaining Celtic punk

Maron Gaffron - great voice, a pleasure to listen to

The Lee Boys - kind of in the same realm as Robert Randolph

David Crowder Band - I'm not a worship music fan, but Crowder's thing is pretty good

tobyMac - yeah, I guess he's part of the problem (big name, mainstream stuff), but I like his shows are a lot of fun

House of Heroes - just a good straightforward rock band

The Violet Burning / Michael Pritzl - separate sets; TVB is one of my all-time favorite bands

Paper Route - one of my favorite new bands of the last few years; I saw them in Atlanta last Friday, and it was awesome

Deas Vail - another really good new band, and I think they were just getting started in 2007

Monk - Ric Hordinski (formerly of Over the Rhine) doing his jazzy guitar thing

Rosie Thomas - not really my thing, but she's charming

Anberlin - another of my current favorite bands

Starflyer 59 - they've quietly been putting out solid album after solid album for years

Leigh Nash - her set was nice, although it was mostly solo stuf with an acoustic guitarist and not Sixpence-intensive

Relient K - tons of fun; I really like them, and they've got some great songs

Copeland - kind of at the wussy end of music I prefer, but they have some nice songs

Over the Rhine - another all-time favorite

All the Day Holiday - I enjoy their stuff - modern rock

Future of Forestry - similar to All the Day Holiday

Mike Roe - Nuff Said

Roe vs. Pritzl - nice collaboration between a couple of old timers

Whitecross - throwback metal

Bride - throwback metal

X-Sinner - throwback metal

Switchfoot - I don't like them as much as the next person, but _Hello Hurricane_ was a solid album

Bloodgood - still more throwback metal

The Lost Dogs - you know these guys

Jeff Elbel + Ping - in the spirt of the old days, I think

Family Force 5 - dumb fun

Leeland - a bit teenybopper, but pretty good

Sleeping at Last - a la Copeland, a little mellower than I prefer, but good

That's almost 40 bands that I, an old guy that grew up on Petra and the Choir, like, and I didn't even get into the stuff that "the kids" really enjoy, like Showbread, mewithoutYou, The Devil Wears Prada, Underoath, etc.

Sorry, but the argument that it's just quantity and not quality doesn't hold water. They've got both - almost 40 bands that I wanted to see or saw and enjoyed, a bunch more that aren't my thing but have their fans, and a ton more stuff besides.

JRjr
Thread: Cornerstone - the end is near
vapspwi

Replies: 84
Views: 73,600
06-05-2012 15:24 Forum: General Discussion


quote:
Originally posted by wayneb
It's been going over 20 years and has followed a similar pattern to Cornerstone in some ways. As the years have progressed they have booked more "big name" bands and allowed for fewer smaller acts.


While it may be accurate to say that Cornerstone booked a few more "big acts" for Main Stage as the years went by (although they still put bands like Underoath and The Devil Wears Prada on Main Stage, too), it's not accurate to say that they allowed for fewer smaller acts. For as long as I've been going, there have been bands ranging from upstarts all the way up to the Main Stage acts. In recent years, as the fest "formalized" the generator stages to make them a little less random and intrusive, there's been even MORE of an opportunity for pretty much anybody to play the fest.

JRjr
Thread: Cornerstone - the end is near
vapspwi

Replies: 84
Views: 73,600
RE: DA in c-2012? 05-25-2012 13:25 Forum: General Discussion


quote:
Originally posted by John Foxe
Any chance DA or Terry will make it for this final time?

So far, I see about 60 bands confirmed, including 77s unplugged, Choir, Violet Burning, Jeff Elbel & Ping. Not bad so far, considering all the bands are playing for free this year, but it would be great to beef this up with more of the bands we love. Somehow maybe we can make it worth their while via the merch tent, no matter where they're relegated...


I was encouraged to see The Echoing Green and The Waiting, both of whom I saw my first time at the fest, and neither of whom I've seen in years, get added to the schedule AFTER the "fest is ending, everybody's playing for free" thing came out.

It would be nice if Terry could somehow make it, but I definitely understand if he can't.

JRjr
Thread: Cornerstone - the end is near
vapspwi

Replies: 84
Views: 73,600
05-25-2012 12:29 Forum: General Discussion


quote:
Originally posted by brother joel
I think that it gets harder and harder to promote events based on what bands are asking in general for a show. I have promoted a few low end concerts here at the church. We had Manafest come in 5 years ago and he charged $500. Then we wanted to get him in again 2 years later and he wanted to charge us $1500. . . This is ridiculous for 1 guy as we also had to pay for transportation and lodging. I am sure expenses went up for him, but his popularity did too so he decided he could charge more.

I also think that economics play into the fact that festival attendance has gone down. If I had the accounts to support my trip to Cornerstone every year then I would, but in the current economy I cannot. I don't go to very many concert events at all because I just don't have the budget. I imagine that affects many people's ability to go to a festival and thus the festival struggles to make ends meet while booking bands who ask for more and more funds so that they can make ends meet.


As more and more Christian bands have been able to make inroads into the mainstream, I'm sure the asking price has gone up. In the early days, the opportunities for a lot of bands consisted of Cornerstone or a church basement. Now it's Cornerstone or the Warped Tour, and stuff like that. Plus, some bands just don't want to be associated with the Christian market, even something as far on the fringes as Cornerstone, so the pool of bands to choose from is reduced a bit.

I've talked a bit recently with folks involved with the fest, and hopefully they won't mind me sharing some of the general things that we discussed. Apparently bands or booking agents charge more (sometimes a lot more, like 10x more) for festival appearances compared to regular tour dates. That definitely hurts the bottom line.

The economy, and gas prices in particular, have hurt a lot. It hurts on an individual level, with people not being able to afford to make the trip, and it hurts in other ways as high fuel costs get rolled into the cost of everything that has to be shipped to the festival (which is EVERYTHING - tents, stages, toilets, etc.).

Apparently what people want out of a festival experience has changed, too. When the fest moved out to the middle of nowhere in 1990 or so, that was viewed as a positive - people liked festivals out in the middle of nowhere. I've certainly always enjoyed that aspect of Cornerstone, compared to something like AtlantaFest that takes place at Six Flags. Now, at least becasue of the economy and fuel costs, but possibly for other cultural reasons too, being out in the middle of nowhere is apparently more of a negative than a positive.

It seems that there are a lot of factors at play, but whatever the cause, it's still going to be a sad day when the fest ends for the last time.

JRjr
Thread: Cornerstone - the end is near
vapspwi

Replies: 84
Views: 73,600
05-24-2012 15:20 Forum: General Discussion


quote:
Originally posted by Ritchie_az
To me, Cornerstone made more sense as a venue for "classic" bands, rare acts, reunions and up-and-comers than a venue for the K-Love/Air1 bands. As Jason said, you can see the "popular" groups anywhere. Where's the novelty?


I don't listen to Christian radio, but if I'm understanding what K-Love and Air1 are, I think your understanding of Cornerstone is a bit off base.

Aside from occasional "youth group bait" bands like TobyMac, Third Day, or David Crowder on Main Stage (to bring in local youth groups as much as anything, I suspect), Cornerstone has next to nothing in common with what you hear on Christian radio.

There's a flood of screamy metal/hardcore bands (from bands paying to play on generator stages, to various smaller stages, all the way up to Main Stage, which has hosted bands like Underoath, the Devil Wears Prada, and others). If I had one complaint about Cornerstone in recent years, it's the prevalence of all the screamy, Mountain Dewed off music that constantly pounds you from every direction.

There's a lot of hippie/folkie/world music stuff (various JPUSA acts, stuff like The Crossing, Aradhna, Josh Garrels, and plenty of other guitar strummers).

There's a nice assortment of "classic" bands (usually some combination of the Choir, DA, 77s, Lost Dogs, plus solo acts and various permutations of those bands), plus newer classics like Over the Rhine and Violet Burning.

There are also occasional reunions, though that's not something the fest can really control. There were a lot of old-time reunion shows last year, and also back around 2001. And given that we're 20 years removed from parts of the 90s, we're starting to see reunions from bands from that time period (with Supertones and Squad Five-O initially on this year's schedule, and lots of angst that the Five Iron Frenzy reunion wasn't playing the fest).

There's a good bit of "up and coming" stuff that straddles the line between the mainstream and Christian markets (and this is the stuff that I particularly love): Anberlin, Mute Math, Eisley, Paramore, Paper Route, Deas Vail, Seabird - great bands.

Hopefully the point is clear that Cornerstone isn't a "Christian radio" festival, and there's more good stuff there than just bands you liked in the 80s.

JRjr
Thread: Cornerstone - the end is near
vapspwi

Replies: 84
Views: 73,600
05-24-2012 12:19 Forum: General Discussion


quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
I agree with everything you said. I loved Cornerstone and hated to see it die, and I was mourning it a few years back as well. And I too voiced my opinion to some who were involved which I guess went nowhere.

I speculate that they probably went big since the finances were good and it didn't pay off because by going big they ran off their financiers who were in love with what the fest was already. Then they probably refocused and came up with plans on how to turn it around which included going bigger and bringing in bigger names, etc. The situation got worse and worse.


I suspect that you're overestimating the financial situation of the festival.

I suspect that you're also overestimating the financial contributions of the "old timer" crowd, especially once those "old timer" bands passed their heyday, relative to the younger generation. (Both are important.)

I've spent a lot of time thinking about and discussing ways to improve/streamline/save the fest, both with friends in the same position I'm in, and with folks that have a bit more insight into the inner workings of the fest. Sometimes they implemented stuff I thought was a good idea, and sometimes they didn't, but given that they have access to actual numbers and years of experience running a fest, and given that they didn't set out to be unsuccessful, I had to grant at some point that they were acting in the best interests of the festival.

We do agree on one thing - this discussion is asinine. :-) That said, if you guys decide to try to recreate Cornerstone '84 some place next summer, I can guarantee you I'll be there hoping that you succeed.

JRjr
Thread: Cornerstone - the end is near
vapspwi

Replies: 84
Views: 73,600
05-24-2012 10:07 Forum: General Discussion


quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
I've already sort of addressed that, I think they tried to go too big for one.


It's possible, though I'd posit that "going too big" wasn't the problem so much as "trying to stay big for too long." The festival was absolutely massive in the 1997-2001 time frame. I believe those were the peak attendance years, and I've heard (anecdotal evidence, but that's about all we really have) that they broke even or made some money those years. So "big" was working for a while. I think maybe they were a bit too slow to start scaling back as attendance waned, though.

quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
I think we should agree that it would be great if the festival would continue.


That's not really the vibe I've gotten from your posts, which seem to have more of a "I don't like the way they've been doing things, so they're dead to me anyway" tone to them. I know this is the DA board, but looking at things from a perspective that's not quite so DA-centric can be instructive.

quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
I don't believe they would have lasted as long as they did if they were losing huge amounts of money every year. And because of that, I believe they were originally making money and probably were up until the last several years.


"Losing huge amounts of money" are your words, not mine. Since neither of us have financial records for the fest, it's all just guesswork anyway.

quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
I witnessed a change which you alluded to several times; they stopped focusing on the bands that originally started the fest, the older regulars started drifting away, the die hard fans of bands like DA stopped coming to a large degree, etc. You seem to attribute that to just market attrition, and refuse to think that the focus or vision changed, where I on the other hand think all of these factors are linked with them starting to become less profitable.


Most of the "bands that originally started the fest" more or less stopped operating through the mid-to-late 90s. However, the fest kept bringing in solo versions (Roe sets, Hindalong sets, Taylor sets, etc.) when they could. You could probably make the case that Cornerstone helped keep those bands alive or spark revivals of their careers in the 2000s, after the bands seemed ready to pack it in during the 90s.

And as much as I'd have liked to have been at Cornerstone '84, time marches on. Bands come and go, fans come and go. The music industry (especially the Christian music industry) has gone through massive changes, and I firmly believe that Cornerstone NEEDED to change and grow and stay current and relevant, rather than continue to try to put on Cornerstone '84 every year.

I LOVE DA and the Choir. I LOVE old 77's stuff, and merely tolerate their newer stuff. I like Adam Again and the Lost Dogs. I also like a lot of other stuff, stuff that came and went over the years, and stuff that's current today. That seems to make me and some of my friends fairly unique at the festival, because we go to all those old-timer shows, and then we go to stuff like Anberlin or Mute Math. It seems like a lot of the folks at the "old-timer" shows have a much narrower focus, and I think that results in a skewed perspective. I think the fest does a good job juggling the "nostalgia acts" and stuff that's current, and I feel like I'm in a pretty good position to speak to that, since I have a foot in both worlds.

There are kids coming to Cornerstone for Norma Jean or Underoath or The Devil Wears Prada shows, stuff I tend to avoid except to sample it and see what the fuss is all about, to whom Cornerstone NOW means as much as Cornerstone THEN meant to you. The festival is bigger than stuff I like or stuff you like, and I think that's a strength, not a "loss of focus."

quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
I think it is the original old timers and die hard fans that were the most financially supportive, (they used the merch tents as a place to buy lots of stuff, not just a hang out joint to get out of the rain) they made the fest successful and most likely would have continued to make the fest successful but the direction changed from focusing on this family of like-minded artists that made the fest what it was to trying to be Creation II only bigger. I mean they advertized being a festival with over 120 bands and at the same time tried as I stated before to bring in big name headliners. Both a mistake in my opinion, quality over quantity.


The Underoath kids pay just as much for tickets as the old timers. (Heck, probably more; half of the old timers are getting in free because they're "with the band," or cheap because they're "press.") In 1997, the Supertones took in $20K at their merch table on the day that they played - it sounds like their fans were doing more in the merch tent than hanging out or getting out of the rain.

quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
My point about DA being the band that broke all the merch table records was testament to the fact that in spite of the fact that the fest stopped focusing on bands like this and in spite of the fact that a large number of DA fans and Cornerstone old timers quit coming, this band made more money for the fest through merchant sales than any other band ever that year.


How much focus on DA do you want? You're saying that DA played the festival, had a good crowd, and sold a lot of merch. The fest booked DA - what more do you want? Did Cornerstone ever say "no thanks, DA, we don't really want you this year"? When the fest sees 10,000 people at a POD show and 1000 at a DA show, can you really make the argument that the wise business move is to say "no thanks" to POD and instead put DA, Swirling Eddies, and the Rap-Sures on Main Stage?

quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
So what could of been done had they not changed their focus on these type of bands and kept the die hard fans and old timers coming to the festival? and kept the size of the fest smaller and maybe not tried to bring in all the big names? In my opinion there could of been a much more profitable situation that was mutually beneficial. These types of artists have the potential to bring in a lot of cash if handled correctly for several reasons. Take POD, big draw to the festival for one day but most likely dismal merch sales because they tour and you can buy their product everywhere. DA on the other hand for a long time had not toured and for a lot of people Cornerstone was their only link to their merch or seeing them live for that matter. People came from all over the world, literally, to see DA at Cornerstone.


Great for DA for having a big year of merch sales. But if the band's not putting out new product, how much are they going to sell the next year and the next? Surely scarcity (the band doesn't put stuff out that often, and doesn't play very much) is a big factor driving those big sales (from which Cornerstone takes only a cut).

That doesn't change the fact that, despite the fact that people came from all over the world to see DA, at least 10 times more people show up for a POD show. Now, I'd rather see DA than POD (although POD has better pyro...), but still...when you look at the numbers, I think your perspective is biased.

quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
Somewhere along the way the people in charge of the fest got the idea that in order to make more money they needed to focus on different bands and headliners, I personally think that is where they lost their focus and where the end began.


I still say this sounds like "Cornerstone needed to be Daniel Amos Fest and then they wouldn't have gone out of business," which, as much as I love DA, just doesn't hold water when you step back and look at things objectively.

As you say, since the fest is ending, they clearly should have done SOMETHING different, but I just can't get onboard with "continue putting on Cornerstone '84 every year" as that something. Playing to a dwindling pool of folks who were in their teens and 20s in the 1980s is NOT the answer.

JRjr
Thread: Cornerstone - the end is near
vapspwi

Replies: 84
Views: 73,600
05-24-2012 06:59 Forum: General Discussion


quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
Your argumentative position doesn't prove my opinion wrong. In my opinion, they could have made money and kept going had they not followed the course they did, so since they made no money according to you and are shutting down.. that kind of renders their vision flawed whether they changed it as I attest or whether they didn't as you contend. So the argument is moot.


I'm not arguing, but I am trying to have a discussion that you seem to want to shut down with a dismissive "you're not an insider like I am, so you can't understand it."

I'm just curious to have somebody put into words exactly what their "focus" and "vision" changed from and to that's caused them to go out of business.

If they've been doing it wrong, what would you have done differently? Who would you have booked in 2005, for example, instead of who they booked (as listed above)?

JRjr
Thread: Cornerstone - the end is near
vapspwi

Replies: 84
Views: 73,600
05-23-2012 22:02 Forum: General Discussion


quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
I think we are going to have to agree to disagree. As someone who went to the fest since before it moved to Bushnell and someone who spent almost every year working for one or more bands I might have a more unique perspective. I saw a change in focus that might not be so apparent to the fest goer.

I'll just sum up my opinion with; the fact that the festival didn't make money and is ending is evidence that they didn't make the right choices over the years.


I can't compete with your "insider" status, but I have been to a lot of Cornerstones at this point, and I've spent a lot of time reading about the fest and talking to people who predate my time there. I've talked about this stuff with friends who are regular performers, friends from the "Christian media" from back in the early days, and friends who work for the fest (both volunteers and staffers).

So you'll have to excuse me if I don't just accept your "unique perspective" about this change in focus (that nobody's yet elucidated) without some discussion.

I'm not sure what it proves if Cornerstone didn't make money when, according to you, they _had_ focus and vision, and then continued to not make money when, according to you, they _lost_ that focus and vision. Maybe they were making wrong choices all along, but as somebody whose life has been enriched beyond measure by the festival over the last 14 years, I'm really grateful that they made the choices that they did.

JRjr
Thread: Cornerstone - the end is near
vapspwi

Replies: 84
Views: 73,600
05-23-2012 20:16 Forum: General Discussion


quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
You have to make more and more money to keep a fest alive that books those kinds of artists, again POD, Sixpence, Jars of Clay, and a few other bigger names could be seen elsewhere.. heck they toured regularly. Why create the need to sell thousands more tickets to pay for bands that you can see elsewhere easily? As they started booking more expensive bands the quantity of good bands went down.


No argument that you have to make more and more money to keep booking really big artists. That's why the fest went away from that approach this year, and why they were considering it at least as early as a couple of years ago. Maybe they should have done it sooner.

Part of the problem is that, as I mentioned earlier, Christian rock got bigger over the years. In 1988, the festival had Petra, Mylon, and D&K (some of the biggest names in CCM at the time, and about as popular as it got this side of Amy and MWS) in addition to DA, the Choir, the 77's, and Adam Again. So there was a history at Cornerstone of booking the "big" names, but the "bigness" of those names got a lot bigger once the "big" bands started hitting mainstream radio and became big by normal standards and not just by CCM standards.

You also have to consider the fact that some of those bands you name (particularly POD and Sixpence) and a lot of other biggies that played Main Stage in the last decade (like Third Day, Anberlin, and Skillet) started out as small to moderate bands at the festival, playing daytime slots on smaller stages. It's hard to know where to draw the line when a mainstay of the fest grows up and gets "too popular." (The fest did pass on POD when they were at their absolute peak, catching them on the way up and then on the way down instead. I think they took a similar approach with Switchfoot.)

I'm not sure I agree that they ended up fewer good bands as a result of booking big bands, either. Lemme pick 2005 at random and see who was there:

Main Stage: David Crowder Band, Kutless, Third Day, Skillet, Anberlin, Switchfoot, Relient K, Mat Kearney, Jars of Clay, Audio Adrenaline

There are some heavy hitters in there in terms of "youth group bands" (Third Day, Crowder, Audio Adrenaline) and bands with mainstream success (Anberlin, Skillet, Switchfoot, Relient K, JoC, Kearney).

Bands On Other Stages: Hyper Static Union, The Lonely Hearts, Spoken, Joy Electric, Hawk Nelson, The Wayside, Woven Hand, House of Heroes, The Violet Burning, Lost Dogs, Copeland, The Choir, Ping, Bill Mallonee, Starflyer 59, Over the Rhine, The Myriad, Mute Math, Ashley Cleveland, Paramore, The Huntingtons, GRITS, Psalters, Flatfoot 56, Thousand Foot Crutch, The Chariot, Lovedrug, Project 86, mewithoutYou, Jan Krist, Kate Miner, Ester Drang, L.A. Symphony, Flyleaf, Jeremy Camp

Even leaving aside most of the hardcore stuff that I don't know anything about (other than a couple whose names I recognize as popular bands), there's a lot of diversity and a LOT to like in that list. It doesn't seem to me that the "good" music really took a back seat to the "big" bands that year (even if DA and the 77s weren't there). (And yeah, there was still a lot of stuff that I have absolutely no interest in listening to, too, but it seems like they did a pretty good job of getting those "middle of the pack" bands that a middle aged guy like me can appreciate.)

quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
And I disagree with you on your last point, if the festival was not making money then it most certainly was due to bad business decisions like the ones I am talking about above. I mean they got a percentage of all the food sold through all the vendors, percentages of all the CD, T-shirt and product sales, sold their own products and shirts, and charged $40 per person per day or over $100 per person for the week. And on top of that take donations. Not to mention a huge number of workers are volunteers that don't get paid.


As far as making money goes, I have only anecdotal evidence (like most folks not working for the fest), but it's been said pretty often that the fest lost money more often than not, from the 80s to today. The only times I've heard talk of them possibly MAKING money were in those massive peak years in the late 90s/early 00s, as far as that goes.

I really can't speak to the business acumen of JPUSA; all I know is that they put on a really great festival for a lot of years, and it's pretty staggeringly expensive to pay for all the stuff that goes into it, from bands to tents to electricity to PAs and sound guys to toilets. I know they've been agonizing about how they could make changes and cut costs and still meet expectations for the last few years - that's why they were trying a "no main stage" approach this year, even before it became clear that they couldn't continue.

quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
As for the original vision, I think it is well put on the 20th anniversary DVD. I think as the original vision was lost that is when you started seeing a lot of old timers drift away and stop coming to the festival. It went from being a family reunion to the family being over run and drowned out.


With all due respect, that sounds a lot like "the original vision was lost when the older bands weren't the most prominent bands at the fest anymore."

For what it's worth, Cornerstone is still a family reunion to me; I'm absolutely heartbroken that it's ending, and I literally don't know what I'm going to do with myself in the summer going forward. From reading stuff that folks a lot younger than me have been writing about the fest on Facebook and elsewhere, it's still a family reunion to them, too. The names and the styles have changed, but the festival still means the same thing it always meant to a wide variety of people.

quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
There is a reason their fans stopped coming, the fest changed and lost its vision. But I think what you are insinuating is a false premise; these bands have consistantly brought in large crowds to their shows at Cornerstone. Packed shows. In fact, we were told that one of the years we ran the DA booth that DA had broken the record that year for the most money brought in at a cornerstone merch booth ever. And thats within the last ten years, not the 1980s.


What IS the vision that was lost, that caused the DA/Choir/77s fans to stop coming (if indeed they have stopped coming, if they're simultaneously packing shows and setting merch sales records)?

For what it's worth, it definitely seems like there's been a decline in attendance at Gallery-type shows in recent years (even as there's been kind of a resurgence in activity and fest presence from DA, the Choir, et al), stuff like the Lost Dogs or the Choir or Over the Rhine. Still good crowds, but not "overflowing the tent" crowds. But it's hard to tell if the decline is disproportionate for those shows versus the fest in general.

Unfortunately, I get the impression that there's a contingent of fans that are ONLY there to see the 80s bands and won't give the time of day to anything else, even if it's actually good. It's too bad, because they're missing out on a lot of good music.

JRjr
Thread: Cornerstone - the end is near
vapspwi

Replies: 84
Views: 73,600
05-23-2012 16:32 Forum: General Discussion


quote:
Originally posted by sprinklerhead
That's exactly right. I was at C-Stone 84 and it blew us away that there was so much music that never made it on Christian radio. It was an exciting time. The fest stayed that way for a long time. It was sometime shortly after the move to Bushnell that the focus started changing.


I'm curious to hear what you folks that are more old-timer than me think the change in focus was.

As I see it, Cornerstone started out focused on music on the fringes of Christian culture. As Christian rock music became more accepted in the 80s and 90s, the music that was on the fringes got to be more extreme. Where a DA or Steve Taylor was daring in 1984, it was punk or metal or hardcore stuff that occupied that "fringe" space in the 90s and 00s. A lot of folks that grew up on the "alternative" stuff of the 80s might not find the "alternative" stuff of the 90s and 00s quite to their taste.

It also seems like the turnover in bands got really high starting sometime in the 90s, and continues to this day. Even the most successful alt-Christian bands of the 90s (maybe Sixpence None the Richer) eventually waned and broke up (though now some of them are starting to reform). Most of the "middle tier" of bands burned bright for a few years and then imploded. Thinking back through my early years at the fest, some of my favorite shows were from bands like Chasing Furies or Burlap to Cashmere that blew our minds at Cornerstone for a year or two, and then flamed out after one album. So it's just a constant crapshoot, year after year, to find new bands to fill the void left by the ones that broke up after the previous year.

JRjr
Thread: Cornerstone - the end is near
vapspwi

Replies: 84
Views: 73,600
05-23-2012 16:22 Forum: General Discussion


quote:
Originally posted by Audiori J
And I agree that sometime after the fest moved to Bushnell it lost its focus and direction. Which like my brother said, it was weird because on their DVD they expressed the original direction quite well... they just were no longer doing it for some reason. For several years I continued to go back, but the fest was pretty much dead to me for a while.

When people like DA or the 77s were having their T-shirt booths given away to here today gone tomorrow bands, and then being relegated to some obscure corner... you know the vision is not only fading it has cataracts.


I've been to every Cornerstone since 1998 (this year will be 15 in a row). I regret that I didn't get there sooner, but I think I caught a fair sense of the old days of the festival in those first few years that I went.

I think there's a contingent that wants the festival to remain focused on Daniel Amos, the Choir, the 77's, and the Lost Dogs, even after those bands had kind of packed it in (at least for a while). I like all of those bands a lot, but it's just not feasible to base an entire music festival around them in the 21st century, not least because most of their fans have long since stopped coming to the fest anyway. I think the fest has done a pretty good job of giving them all a good stage to play on during the time that I've been attending.

I still like finding new music to listen to, and this year's lineup was shaping up to be very exciting for me, with bands like House of Heroes, Icon For Hire, Mike Mains & the Branches, Eisley, Milano, Run Kid Run, Seabird, The Cascade Sun, and others. Some of my favorite bands are Anberlin, Mute Math, Deas Vail, and Paper Route, who have played the fest in the last few years. Even bands like Over the Rhine or Vigilantes of Love were still relatively new compared to the old guard when I first started going to the fest.

It's different, but it's still good music. Yeah, you did have to look for it pretty hard amongst all of the hardcore and metal bands, but it's always been there. 5 or 6 years ago, a group of friends and I started listening to every band on the schedule, picking out stuff that sounded good, and making our own schedule. It was frankly kind of surprising how much decent stuff there was that we'd never heard of and wouldn't have found if we hadn't gone looking for it.

Over the years, moments like the Mullins tribute or the Gene Eugene tribute, or reunion shows or unusual collaborations seemed to get rarer, at least among bands of our age group, although last year was kind of an exception with the oldies day on Main Stage. (But the kids seemed really excited about a surprise show from Norma Jean, or seeing that Listener guy pop up during the Deas Vail set...)

I don't think it's fair to assert that Cornerstone "sold out" or was chasing money, though - JPUSA seldom (if ever) made money on the fest, so it seems to me that any money-chasing they've done was done to try to make enough money to keep the fest alive. I know they were kind struggling in recent years with the decision on whether the gain in ticket sales from booking a TobyMac or Skillet was enough to offset the giant cost to have a stage big enough for those bands, and to pay those bands.

I think there are a lot of reasons why Cornerstone has struggled and ultimately failed, but some of the biggest reasons have more to do with the way the Christian music scene has evolved (and made inroads into the mainstream) over the years than with bad decisions made by the festival.

JRjr
Thread: Special DA show at Cornerstone!
vapspwi

Replies: 1
Views: 4,690
Didn't happen... 07-06-2011 08:39 Forum: General Discussion


I'm kind of bummed that this didn't materialize - it was on again/off again a few times on Wednesday evening. The band sounded great on Main Stage, better than they did when the tour started in Nashville, so seeing them do a longer set would have been great.

JRjr
Thread: DA Tour 2011
vapspwi

Replies: 180
Views: 197,874
06-14-2011 14:57 Forum: General Discussion


quote:
Originally posted by Longstride
Set list for Smyrna (Nashville) on June 13th:


From memory, you've got one missing song - they also did "Sanctuary" toward the end of the set.

JRjr
Thread: DA Tour 2011
vapspwi

Replies: 180
Views: 197,874
06-14-2011 14:54 Forum: General Discussion


quote:
Originally posted by wakachiwaka
Hmm... sounds suspiciously Spinal Tap-esque. A deliberate gag, or genuine snafu, you think?


I wondered if it was a gag, but the set was otherwise devoid of slapstick and hijinx, so I think it was actually just a goof. Terry described it as a "Spinal Tap moment."

JRjr
Thread: Roll Call Nashville DA show
vapspwi

Replies: 11
Views: 11,820
Nashville-Bound 06-13-2011 12:20 Forum: General Discussion


I'll be ditching work in an hour or two to head to Nashville from Atlanta for the show. Flying solo, alas, so if you see a guy with long hair and glasses in a Gravity Show t-shirt, point and laugh. :-)

The Mercy Lounge thing sounds intriguing (I LOVE Mike Farris), but since they're only doing 3-song sets, it's probably not worth the hassle for me.

This'll be my first non-Cornerstone DA show, though I've seen Terry and Lost Dogs in various combinations outside of the fest on occasion. I knew the short slot at Cornerstone this year would be insufficient, so I wanted to take the opportunity to see the full set.

JRjr
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