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On July 3rd Eric and I left Indiana and headed out towards Illinois. Corn. Fields and fields of corn and flatness. Not gonna lie, it may have been one of the most boring rides we’ve encountered. Sorry Illinois. Eric kept wondering how Sufjan Stevens could find enough stuff in Illinois to write an entire album on the state. The flat, corn-filled countryside was broken here and there by roadside poetry, that went something like this…

U! S! A!! U! S! A!!

(I do not support the ownership or use of firearms.)

Our first stop was near Champaign, IL where a couple guys recorded us performing a mini Pocket Vinyl show on their front porch. The guys were really awesome and it was cool hanging out with them, despite the ridiculous heat and constant sweating. Hopefully they’ll have that all edited together soon and I’ll post it up on here.

We arrived at the Cornerstone Festival after 10:30 that night, passing pockets of fireworks lighting up the sky as we drove along the highway.

After some complications at the gate (“Wait, who are you guys? Why are you at Cornerstone?”) and some aimless wandering between crowds of sweaty teenagers trying to figure out where we were suppose to be, we finally hooked up with our contact, a woman named Debbie who ran the kids’ tent. She gave us a rundown of what was happening and pointed us to a spot where we could camp, near the kids’ tent.

Our first show at Cornerstone was the next day, Wednesday July 4th at 10:00 am in the kids’ tent. We ended up doing two shows there actually, Wednesday and Friday mornings, and we got to know some of the teenage helpers really well and had a great time hanging out in the kids’ tent. Since, obviously, children can not participate in an auction where money is exchanged, Debbie had this great idea to have the kids each do their own drawings during our sets. I did a large marker drawing, and at the end of our shows I’d gather up all the kids’ drawings, choose my favorite from the batch, and we’d swap! It turned out really great, the kids loved it much better than either Eric or I had thought they would.

Wednesday was Japan themed, hence the koi fish and “rising sun”, and Friday was India themed: elephant surrounded by cows:

The kids’ artwork cracked me up. About a third of them just copied what I drew, and here’s some examples of those:

Pretty awesome, but I didn’t choose any of these because I wanted more originality. Here’s a handful of some awesome and hilarious drawings done by the kids; a couple portraits of Eric and I… That hamster thing in the bottom corner is my favorite.

Wednesday evening we had our one “real” “adult” show at Cornerstone. They gave us the Cornerstonearts tent to perform in, which was unusual since no other bands were playing in that spot. But even though we started the show with only about 6 or 7 people in the audience, by the end of our set the tent was close to filled! And we sold the show painting and a handful of the minis, so it turned into a success in my book!

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