Festival season is upon us once more. As you read this, thousands of Christian music fans are descending upon the farmlands of Bushnell, IL., for Cornerstone Festival '98, the 15th anniversary of this legendary 'fest. If you are one of the lucky pups bound for Cornerstone, expect to hear some 150 bands on eight stages July 1-5. Highlights this year include mainstage performances by The Call, Over the Rhine, Terry Taylor & friends, plus a reunion show by legendary punkers Unashamed.
Closer to home is Spirit Song '98, July 10-11 at Kings Island. Two nights of fabulous music by dc Talk, Steven Curtis Chapman, Caedmon's Call, the Supertones and many others -- but far more interesting to the alternative crowd will be the "late-night stage" presented by SubLime Records, featuring such acts as Silage, Ruby Joe, Kosmos Express and more. Tickets to Spirit Song can be obtained through Ticketmaster (at their usual outlets) and the price includes a full day's admission to King's Island, which means you can ride until you heave, then chill out to some cool music later. Call (513) 573-5700 for more info.
Another good local 'fest is Newsong '98, which takes place Aug. 14-16 at the beautiful Camp Loucon in Leitchfield, KY. This year's bands include Third Day (always a great show), the Supertones (ditto!), Geoff Moore & the Distance, Big Tent Revival, and more. The cost for the whole weekend is $30.00,which includes free tent camping and seminars. Call (502) 425-3884 for details.
New Jerusalem Christian Church is planning another Park Party event this year, to be held Sat. Sept. 19 in Cherokee Park. This is a free, one-day-only outreach that will feature live music by local rockers Death Defying Leap, Nashville alterna-folkie Jennifer Martin and three other acts yet to be confirmed. N.J.C.C. pastor Michael Aquino is patterning Park Party '98 after a Billy Graham crusade, which means there will be a short sermon and an invitation given after the music. For more info, you can contact the church at 451-7189, or by e-mail at NJCCH@aol.com.
Greg Smith of Fern Creek United Methodist Church is sponsoring a Christian "band battle" (for lack of a better term) in late August, and is looking for local and regional talent to compete. The grand prize will be 25 hours of studio time at Shout Recording Studios on Preston Hwy. If you're interested in competing, you can contact Greg at 491-7439 or 336-9762.
Matt Slocum, guitarist/cellist for the band Sixpence None The Richer, is featured on the present hit work by Natalie Imbruglia called "Left Of The Middle."
Justin Dillon Stevens (formerly of Dime Store Prophets) will be in the studio this month recording a solo EP. Past members of the groups Dryve and Dime Store Prophets are working with him on the project. Speaking of Dryve, for those of you who, like me, bemoan the untimely demise of this awesome band, former Dryvers Keith Andrews and Steve Pratschner are working on new material. Dryve's 1994 indie CD, Hum is now available through their web site at http://members.aol.com/gigasaurus/dryve/band.
Eclectica Music is releasing its second compilation disc called Sparkler, which will raise funds for the Judeo Christian Outreach Center in Virginia, a homeless shelter. Eighteen bands have donated new and unreleased tracks, including Poor Old Lu, Fold Zandura (with Tim Taber) and Sometime Sunday. Look for the very shiny cover.
Pray! will be the title of the new Rebecca St. James album due out in late October (featuring local hero Vince Emmett on guitar).
Now that Seinfeld is over, arguably the best show on TV now is G-Rock, a half-hour program that airs Saturday nights at 12:30 on local Christian station WJYL channels 5 and 26. G-Rock is more cutting-edge than any Christian youth-oriented show I've ever seen, featuring cool music videos and interviews with such bands as Five Iron Frenzy, P.O.D. and Squad 5-0. They also show lots of snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing, and other such extreme activities, along with the hilarious high-jinx of hyper-host Dan Jourgenson. Don't miss it!
The Edge, WJIE's Saturday night wake-up call for the musically benumbed, celebrated their first year on the air this past month. Congrats & thanks to Tom Fawbush and the gang for playing the finest modern music with a message (Christian rock, ska, punk, dance, rap etc.), and for keeping it real with lots of ministry time. Tune in to The Edge Saturday nights from 9 to midnight on 88.5 WJIE FM.