In what is truly devastating news to hear, Cornerstone Festival, which takes place annually in Illinois, has announced that 2012’s festival this July will be the final year for the legendary festival. Read the announcement below from festival directors Genesis Winter & Scott Stahnke…

Dear Cornerstone Festival Family:

We are so grateful to have been able to share with you the gift that has been Cornerstone Festival all these years. 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 5000 people to a small fairgrounds outside Chicago.

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.

In 2012, we’ll be celebrating one final Cornerstone Festival together. Based on a range of factors – including changes in the market and a difficult economy – the timing seems right. 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.

Given this change, we’ll be making some adjustments to the lineup and schedule in the days ahead.

Without giving too much away, we can say that we’d like to make this a special gathering to remember, to share stories and encourage one another with the vision of Cornerstone in ways that look back and ahead toward new things God is doing. Along with activities like art workshops, kids’ programs, seminars, games, movies – and MUSIC, of course – Cornerstone 2012 promises to be a time of thankful reflection and sharing among people who’ve walked this significant part of their life’s journey together.

Keep checking our website and Facebook page for changes and latest information.

Most of you know that Cornerstone Festival grew out of a labor of love from our church and community, Jesus People USA. The festival emerged from JPUSA’s Cornerstone magazine and Resurrection Band. Our community continues to operate one of Chicago’s largest homeless shelters, also bearing the name Cornerstone. We remain confident in God’s faithfulness and grace to lead us on to new chapters in our ongoing journey.

Thanks again to everyone who’s been a part of this amazing journey with us! What a privilege it’s been. Most of all, thanks to Jesus: the stone rejected that became the true Cornerstone. Amen!

We look forward with mixed sadness and joy to seeing you all this summer, one last time on our Bushnell campground, for a very special Cornerstone Festival 2012.

In His grace,
Pastoral Team, Jesus People USA – Evangelical Covenant Church
and The Cornerstone Festival Staff,
Genesis Winter & Scott Stahnke, directors