By Denton Josey, Student Reporter
On July 5, about 20,000 music fans will converge in rural Bushnell, Ill., for a four-day music festival called Cornerstone, and student band Homer Hiccolm & the Rocketboys will be on stage.
Entering its 23rd year, Cornerstone will feature about 300 bands for fans to watch, and one of those bands will be Homer Hiccolm & the Rocketboys.
Brandon Kinder, senior interdisciplinary Bible and history major from Memphis, Tenn., is a pianist, guitarist and vocalist in the band. He said the members tried to play in the concert last year, but sent in their press package too late.
This year is a different story.
The band is vying for first place in the New Band Showcase. Of the 210 bands that tried to get in, only 24 made it to the online voting, and the top 16 actually will get to play. The band that finishes No. 1 in fan voting will play on the main stage in front of the largest crowd.
The voting has put Homer Hiccolm alternating first and second place with a band from Nashville, Tenn., called Lorien.
“We’re trying to just get as many people to vote and use all their e-mail addresses,” Kinder said.
One of the fans who voted for Homer Hiccolm is Erin Dimas, junior agribusiness major from Sacramento, Calif.
Dimas, who has been a fan since Homer Hiccolm played at JamFest in 2005, expects the band to be received well at Cornerstone.
“Around here, first-time listeners are really responsive,” she said. “It’s really easy to tell the guys are passionate about their music.”
Kinder said many bands have been noticed for the first time at Cornerstone and have gone on to be very successful. Bands such as P.O.D., Five Iron Frenzy and Norma Jean can attribute some of their early success to their exposure at Cornerstone.
On the way to Illinois and back, the band plans on playing other shows, including the Free State Arts and Music Festival in Canton, Ohio.
Whether they win the top spot or not, the band members plan on enjoying the festival.
“[Other band members] have been, and it is one of their favorite things to do every year,” Kinder said. “We’ll play when they have us play, but then just watch other great bands and have fun hanging out and camping with our friends.”
To place a vote, students can visit http://www.cornerstonefestival.com/newbandshowcase.cfm.