Audio Feed report, part 2

Posted: July 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

A coworker asked today about my Audio Feed vacation – “You went to a concert, right?”  This presents the dilemma:  trying to explain what the festival is.  I didn’t even try to explain today, as we both had a lot of work to do.  When people asked about Cornerstone festival, I generally called it “a Christian Woodstock,” but that didn’t do it justice.  To my knowledge, Woodstock had no educational element, nor any worship element – just the music and, I don’t know, maybe it had merch?  I just felt like comparing it to Woodstock was pointing to the music and the openness that I was encountering.

I won’t be able to capture all of Audio Feed in a few blogs, and if I tried to keep writing until I’d painted the whole picture, I think I would just kill the magic.  Rather than trying to explain every detail, how about I just share about some of my favorite highlights?

  • Jewish stuff – this is something I don’t recall experiencing at Cornerstone, but there was Messianic Jewish programming available daily.  Thursday night, G and I went to “Rabbi Rock:  A Chanukah Experience,” which was a lot of music and some worship (this was part of the “Goth Family Christmas” occurring in the Asylum tent).  I could’ve stayed for straight-up worship after that, but it was midnight and I have my limits.  Friday morning, I attended a communion service there led by a rabbi whose main message was just because you’re still living in consequences does not mean you’re not forgiven, and included a note that orthodoxy is built to help pilgrims on the path, not to build the institution of the church.  That last bit is one I’ve been chewing on quite a bit – while I wouldn’t call myself “orthodox,” that explanation gives me a new appreciation of and interest in understanding orthodoxy.  Saturday and Sunday I stopped in for bits of other Jewish music or worship.   Having Jewish things to choose from seemed to me the perfect and logical next step for me, having married G and trying to learn the “Jewish wife” routine ever since.  I felt like it was pretty nice of God to arrange this.   The ministry team behind these events was interesting, as well (ministry to subculture folks – that’s my stuff!)
  • Great goth music – Leper played the best show I’ve seen them do yet, concluding with a worship song that took me (and others around me) to that stepping-into-another-dimension place that leaves me always longing for more.
  • Psalters was always a tribal what-the-heck-was-THAT highlight of Cornerstone festival for me; Bird and Herd came closest to that flavor for Audio Feed.  Anastasia Bird’s voice is an addictive substance for me, the poetic essays read at the top of each song were material I wanted to collect in my notebook, and she was well-backed by her “herd.”  I’m sorry I only made it to one of her two shows.
  • Fun music – if you’ve seen Destroy Nate Allen, described by Nate’s other half, Tessa as “rag doll anarchist music,” then you know the joy of that ridiculous party.  This time it included a devil pinata body-surfing the crowd before being stomped to smithereens in the pit, a song about staying out of the “booby bars” for the sake of one’s relationship, and the culmination was my favorite of all their songs, “Jesus Keep Us Safe from the Cops,” which is not about our sad current state of racial affairs but is instead just a giggling poke at what it’s like to be a touring band followed by local cops in every town.
  • More fun music – Spoken Nerd had a hilarious song called something like, “Being a Big Guy Isn’t All that Bad,” a song about big beards, and a lot of other silly stuff…but also an ironic song that plays over and over in my head with a serious point about the Christian culture wars and our general thought that we can be “good enough.”
  • Still more fun music – John Reuben came out after five years without a show, and many of us knew most of his lyrics (hey, he only knew *most* of his lyrics too, LOL).
  • Blow-your-mind music:  Scott Knies, otherwise known as Brother Red Squirrel.  This dude doesn’t PLAY music, he IS music.  He can pick up literally any instrument and caress songs and sounds out of it like no one I have ever seen.  I don’t know how his body and mind bear the brightness of carrying so much talent around in the world.  His show was my other “high holy worship” session, transported across the permeable surface between us and heaven.  I couldn’t know he was playing and then not be there.
  • So much more music.  I saw part of an extreme metal show by Colombian band Exegesis (it’s not my music, but it’s fun once a year), a couple of highly emotional bands that were fun (here and here), a lovely hour of classical/Spanish guitar, and more that I saw, and more that I wanted to see but just couldn’t be two places at the same time.
  • Great teaching on spiritual warfare by Jesus Outsider Ministries.  A class on “Spiritual Warfare through Creative Expression” by Flatfoot 56 lead singer Tobin Bawinkel, with stories about things God had done that made me weep in awe.  A class called “Christ and the Dark Night of the Soil,” that addressed the war going on between various elements of agriculture today.  “Beauty Will Save the World – Art vs. Propaganda,” which ended up being less agreeable to me than I expected, but still has me thinking.  And more seminars of varying quality.

There was more.  SO MUCH MORE, as far as programming.  On top of that, I caught up with friends from JPUSA everywhere I went.  Sadly I did not find a lot of my old Cornerstone subculture ministries tent folks, but maybe that’ll be another year.

Maybe all of that gives you a little glimpse of what I mean when I say Audio Feed.  May you enjoy clicking the links!

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