KC McGinnis is a photographer and photojournalist raised in Iowa and based in Des Moines. He's interested in visual depictions of religion, with an eye toward white evangelicalism and its future in the twilight of its hegemony in American...
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As a teenager growing up in the evangelical subculture, I was a fan of Christian hard rock and metal in the early 2000s. The music helped me feel adventurous and unique, and it was an important way for me to craft an identity.
Since 1984, every countercultural Christian punk’s dream was to play at a festival called Cornerstone – a weeklong bohemian campout commonly likened to a Christian Woodstock. Cornerstone went defunct in 2012, but a group of Cornerstone veterans established a festival called Audiofeed a few years later, in part as an attempt to reunite the Cornerstone crowd.
I came to this festival to get a clearer picture of what the next generation of post-culture war evangelicals might look like. One veteran of the festival recalled the days he couldn’t wear his Slayer T-shirt in church, while a transgender teen claimed to have both become a Christian and come out as trans on the festival grounds. Both people may represent, to varying degrees, how countercultural Christian movements like the Christian hardcore scene can predict broader movements toward tolerance within each generation of evangelicals.