Third annual AudioFeed Music Festival sounds off in C-U


Taylor Sabatini | Staff Photographer

Fans gather to listen to a variety of bands at the Champaign County Fairgrounds in Urbana for AudioFeed Music Festival on Friday, July 3.

By Ben Lash

Music was abundant this Fourth of July weekend, especially at the Champaign County Fairgrounds, the site of the 2015 AudioFeed Music Festival. 

In its third year, the event began Thursday and ran until Sunday. It had several stages featuring a variety of music styles and artists, as well as food and music vendors.

Jim Eisenmenger, one of the event’s founders, said the inspiration for AudioFeed came from the Cornerstone Festival, which last took place in 2012.

“I just loved it. It was like no other place on Earth,” Eisenmenger said. “Some of these bands and other promoters said they wanted to try and continue what Cornerstone was. I had already been doing house shows at my own house. I made some connections with some of the Cornerstone Festival bands.”

Cornerstone Festival was a Christian music festival held near Bushnell, Illinois. Eisenmenger and other members of the AudioFeed team hoped to continue a lot of what made Cornerstone special.

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    “Several of the bands that are here were Cornerstone bands,” said Daniel First, another long-time fan, attendee of Cornerstone, and supporter of AudioFeed. “I’ve seen a few new bands, too, who I hadn’t heard of before. … AudioFeed has definitely captured the spirit of Cornerstone.”

    Melany Jackson, AudioFeed marketing assistant, long-time Cornerstone attendee, and founder of C-U at Home, expressed the importance of AudioFeed’s mission. Jackson said many of Cornerstone’s attendees lost something dear to them when the annual event came to an end. 

    “I went to Cornerstone 17 years straight, and it was a very big part of my life,” Jackson said. “I knew every summer that, regardless of what was happening in my life, there was a week where I could come home. … That’s exactly what AudioFeed is intending to pick up, where Cornerstone left off. It’s the remnant of the Cornerstone people who are coming here to be a part of AudioFeed.”

    When searching for bands, Eisenmenger said the AudioFeed team worried less about the artists’ specific genre and more about their message and meaning.

    “We book artists who are serious about exploring community and faith and how we should live and interact with each other in a positive way,” Eisenmenger said.

    In the future, Jim Eisenmenger and members of the AudioFeed team hope to make the festival something that holds similar importance and meaning to all music lovers, regardless of faith.

    “I hope we can get a bit bigger and be self-sustainable, but I don’t ever want to be big,” Eisenmenger said. “If someone bequeathed us a million dollars, I’d book it just like this. I want this to be for the bands that need this crowd and need this exposure.”

    AudioFeed is held each year during the Fourth of July weekend, similar to the timing of Cornerstone before it.

    “This is a place where people can explore their faith,” Eisenmenger said. “That’s a big part of it. But it’s also really for people who have found no place for themselves in the modern church. So it’s faith-based, but really subculture-oriented for people who’ve never found a home in the church.”

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